Diamond Hogs to Play LSU Tonight

Razorback sophomore third baseman Cayden Wallace (#7) from Greenbrier, AR throws for a put-out against UAPB Tuesday afternoon at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville, AR.

FAYETTEVILLE – Dave Van Horn always says each of Arkansas’ 30 SEC regular season  baseball games count the same.

But the coach knows how it digs a little deeper with Arkansas fans when their Razorbacks play the LSU Tigers.

Arkansas, 25-7 and still atop the SEC West at 8-4 though losing 2 of 3 at Florida last week and ranked sixth by D-1 Baseball, and new Coach Jay Johnson’s LSU Tigers, 23-9 Tigers, 7-5 in the West ranked 15th by D-1 Baseball fresh off sweeping three from reigning national champion Mississippi State, play a 3-game SEC West series tonight through Saturday at Baum-Walker Stadium.

Game times are 6:30 tonight, 6 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday.  Friday’s game will be telecast by the SEC Network.

Reigning SEC champion Arkansas lost its first 2 of 3 SEC series last week since 2019 but did salve its wounds sweeping Arkansas-Pine Bluff 15-0 and 6-0 in Tuesday’s nonconference doubleheader at Baum Walker Stadium.

UAPB of the SWAC is only 7-21-1 but was hitting .291 as a team when double blanked by the Hogs, the first game on just one hit.  Kole Ramage, Elijah Trest and Isaac Bracken combined on the 1-hitter.

Will McEntire, Zack Morris, Mark Adamiak, Gabriel Starks and Nick Griffin combined on the 3-hit shutout.

Their performances helped Van Horn feel better about bridging potential gaps against LSU between starters Connor Noland, brilliant last week beating Florida, Hagen Smith and Jaxon Wiggins and top relievers Brady Tygart, Zebulon Vermillion and Evan Taylor.

I thought our pitching staff was outstanding today,” Van Horn said Tuesday.  “I thought our bullpen, the guys that came in, they pitched with a purpose and I think that purpose was to show to show coaches and the other players on the team that they want to pitch. Just really good to see.”

How does that bode against LSU?

“It doesn’t do anything as far as our starting rotation,” Van Horn said.  “It just gives you some confidence to maybe go get a guy in the middle of the game that can get some maybe to the seventh or the eighth where we don’t have to throw somebody three innings or two innings.”

What about those Tigers?

“LSU seems to be playing really well right now,” Van Horn said.  “When they came back and won that Friday game against Mississippi State they were down to their last strike, ended up drawing a walk, the next guy gets hit by a pitch, wild pitch, base hit and they win it.  That’s how close it was.  And then Mississippi State they finished them off.  They hit well obviously but they pitched really well and their bullpen did really well.”

Ma’Khail Hilliard, 3-0, 4.11 earned run avrasg Blake Money, 2-2, 4.37, and Samuel Dutton, 0-1, 1.83 started for LSU against Mississippi State.

Third baseman Jacob Berry, .367, 10 home rums, 34 RBI, second baseman Cade Doughty, .359. eight home rums, 34 RBI, catcher Dylan Crews, nine home rums, 38 RBI, and shortstop Jordan Thompson, .295, 10 home runs, 38 RBI, lead LSU’s attack.

“Berry, who transferred in from Arizona is a switch-hitter, maybe the best switch-hitter in the country,” Van Horn said. “ He could be the best hitter in the country.”

Arkansas outfielder-designated hitter Brady Slavens, a hitting mainstay on last year’s SEC champion/SEC Tournament champion Hogs but struggling much of this season, went on a 6 for 8 rampage against UAPB.

“Getting him going is great,” Van Horn said.  “Get a couple more guys going and I can see our offense start to click a little bit better.”

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