Arkansas rallies, beats TCU in Arlington

By: Matt Jones
Published: Monday, February 22, 2021

Arkansas scored four runs over the final two innings and defeated No. 11 TCU 4-1 on Monday at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

Christian Franklin’s one-out RBI triple to right-center field tied the game in the eighth inning, and Franklin scored on Cullen Smith’s RBI single in the following at-bat to give the Razorbacks a 2-1 lead.

Franklin’s hit came against TCU reliever Charles King. Smith singled off his replacement, Haylen Green.

Arkansas (3-0) added two runs in the ninth. Casey Opitz doubled off of Green to score Brady Slavens, who was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, and Opitz scored on a wild pitch by TCU reliever Harrison Beethe.

Kevin Kopps recorded the final six outs to earn the save for Arkansas. He struck out five, part of an 18-strikeout night for Razorback pitching.

The No. 8 Razorbacks polished off an impressive weekend for the SEC West, which went 8-1 against the Big 12. Ole Miss also was undefeated at the three-day event and Mississippi State was 2-1.

TCU (1-2) had its conference’s only victory. Texas Tech and Texas were winless.

The Horned Frogs had the lead for much of Monday’s game against the Razorbacks. TCU took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning when Luke Boyers singled with two outs against Arkansas starter Lael Lockhart.

Lockhart pitched 4 1/3 innings and struck out eight batters in his first start for the Razorbacks. He transferred to Arkansas from Houston following the 2020 season.

TCU sophomore left hander Austin Krob took a no-decision with four scoreless innings. Krob, a former reliever, has not allowed a run in his TCU career.

The Razorbacks are scheduled to play again Thursday with a 3 p.m. home opener against Southeast Missouri State at Baum-Walker Stadium.

Arkansas 4, TCU 1 — Middle 9th Inning

Robert Moore struck out looking to strand Cayden Wallace at third base. Moore has had a rough night — 0-for-5 with three strikeouts.

TCU will send its 3-4-5 hitters — Hunter Wolfe, Gene Wood and Austin Henry — to the plate in the bottom of the ninth. Kevin Kopps will pitch again for Arkansas.

Arkansas 4, TCU 1 — Top 9th Inning

Casey Opitz scored from third on a wild pitch with one out. He and Cayden Wallace, who walked, advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Zack Gregory.

All of the Razorbacks' runs have come in the eighth and ninth innings.

Arkansas 3, TCU 1 — Top 9th Inning

The Razorbacks have added to their lead. Brady Slavens was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and he scored when Casey Opitz doubled in the next at-bat.

TCU is going back to the bullpen for right hander Harrison Beethe.

Arkansas 2, TCU 1 — End 8th Inning

Kevin Kopps struck out a pair to end the eighth inning and the Razorbacks have the lead going to the ninth.

Kopps struck out Elijah Nunez, the Horned Frogs' leadoff hitter, for the second out, and he was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle came onto the field to argue but he was not ejected.

Kopps struck out Tommy Sacco to end the inning.

Arkansas 2, TCU 1 — Middle 8th Inning

Cullen Smith was out on a pickoff throw. That was the Razorbacks' fourth out on the bases tonight.

Braydon Webb struck out to end the half inning.

Arkansas 2, TCU 1 — Top 8th Inning

Cullen Smith's one-out RBI single into right field has given Arkansas the lead. Christian Franklin scored.

Arkansas 1, TCU 1 — Top 8th Inning

Christian Franklin's RBI triple has tied the game with one out in the eighth inning. Jalen Battles led off the inning with a bloop single and scored standing up.

Franklin took Charles King to the wall in right-center field. TCU is going to the bullpen and bringing in senior left hander Haylen Green.

TCU 1, Arkansas 0 — End 7th Inning

Ryan Costeiu retired TCU in order in the bottom of the seventh inning. Costeiu struck out Gray Rodgers and Zach Humphreys, and got Brayden Taylor to fly out to left field.

The top of the Arkansas order will come to the plate in the eighth inning. Jalen Battles, the nine-hole hitter, will lead off.

TCU 1, Arkansas 0 — Middle 7th Inning

Arkansas missed on a golden scoring opportunity in the seventh after Braydon Webb was hit with a pitch and Brady Slavens singled to lead off the inning.

Then things got weird. Instead of bunting Casey Opitz, he swung away and flied out for the first out. Cayden Wallace followed with a long fly ball to left that looked to be caught initially by Elijah Nunez, but the ball came loose when Nunez hit the ground.

Webb and Slavens retreated, and it appeared Slavens and Wallace might have crossed paths between second and first base, but a replay wasn't definitive. They both retreated to first and Slavens was out when TCU stepped on second.

Webb advanced to third to give Arkansas runners on the corners. Pinch hitter Zack Gregory grounded out to end the inning.

Arkansas has had three base-running mistakes tonight that have cost it some run-scoring opportunities. These were not mistakes made the first two games.

TCU 1, Arkansas 0 — End 6th Inning

There has been a lot of buzz around freshman right hander Jaxon Wiggins and he just showed why. He overpowered the Horned Frogs with an upper-90s fastball and a good breaking ball.

Wiggins struck out Hunter Wolfe, Gene Wood and Austin Henry, the Horned Frogs' 3-4-5 hitters. He threw 15 pitches, 12 for strikes.

TCU 1, Arkansas 0 — Middle 6th Inning

The Razorbacks' lineup is not doing much against TCU. Robert Moore and Christian Franklin grounded out quickly, and Cullen Smith was called out looking against Charles King in the sixth.

This is the point in the game where you'd expect the lineup to begin producing, especially the top of the order.

Jaxon Wiggins will pitch for the Razorbacks in the bottom of the sixth.

TCU 1, Arkansas 0 — End 5th Inning

Arkansas turned a 6-4-3 double play to end the fifth inning. Jalen Battles and Robert Moore did a great job turning it. Dave Van Horn has talked a lot about that middle infield combination and they have shown their potential a few times already in Arlington.

Tommy Sacco was initially called safe at first base because the umpire said first baseman Cullen Smith's foot came off the bag. But the call was overturned on replay review.

TCU 1, Arkansas 0 — Bottom 5th Inning

Lael Lockhart's night is over after issuing a one-out walk to leadoff hitter Elijah Nunez in the fifth. It looked like Lockhart might have gotten squeezed on a 2-2 pitch inside.

Left hander Evan Taylor replaces Lockhart.

Lockhart's partial final line: 4 1/3 innings, 1 run, 2 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts. The runner on first is Lockhart's responsibility.

He threw 78 pitches. He is in line to be the losing pitcher.

TCU 1, Arkansas 0 — Middle 5th Inning

Charles King came out of the bullpen hot for TCU. The big right hander struck out Cayden Wallace, Jacob Nesbit and Jalen Battles in 11 pitches with a good mid-90s fastball.

Austin Krob's final line for TCU: 4 scoreless innings, 1 hit, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts, 1 balk.

Needless to say, the Razorbacks are not hitting well tonight.

TCU 1, Arkansas 0 — End 4th Inning

Lael Lockhart did a great job of mixing his breaking ball and fastball in the fourth inning and struck out the side in 11 pitches. Lockhart's fastball looked as good as it has all night and he now has eight strikeouts.

He has now thrown 68 pitches. His pitch limit is around 75 tonight.

TCU 1, Arkansas 0 — Middle 4th Inning

Austin Krob lost his command and issued a pair of two-out walks on six straight balls to Cullen Smith and Braydon Webb, but Arkansas couldn't do anything with the runners.

Brady Slavens swung at the only two pitches he saw and popped up to the first baseman in foul ground for the second out. Then Casey Opitz was called out looking to end the inning.

Krob's pitch count is getting high — 68 through four innings.

TCU 1, Arkansas 0 — End 3rd Inning

Lael Lockhart worked around another two-out base runner to work a scoreless third. Lockhart hit Gene Wood, who also stole second base without a throw.

Austin Henry flied out to left field to end the inning.

Lockhart struck out the first two batters of the inning to bring his strikeout total to five. His pitch count is at 57, so he might have one more inning before the Razorbacks will go to the bullpen.

TCU 1, Arkansas 0 — Middle 3rd Inning

Jacob Nesbit reached on a one-out walk, but that was all Arkansas could muster in the third. Jalen Battles struck out looking at a 1-2 fastball and Robert Moore was out on a bunt attempt down the first base line.

Pitcher Austin Krob looked good fielding his position and throwing out Moore. Krob has looked good so far for the Horned Frogs. He has not allowed a run in 14-plus innings in his TCU career.

TCU 1, Arkansas 0 — End 2nd Inning

TCU leadoff hitter Elijah Nunez flied out to center field to end the inning and strand runners at second and third base.

Lael Lockhart has already thrown 40 pitches. The Horned Frogs are making him work deep into counts.

TCU 1, Arkansas 0 — Bottom 2nd Inning

Lael Lockhart was twice one pitch away from getting out of the inning. He didn't convert on either and TCU leads thanks to production from the bottom third of the lineup.

Nine-hole hitter Luke Boyers hit a bloop RBI single over Arkansas second baseman Robert Moore with two outs. It scored Zach Humphreys, who reached when he was hit on an inside 3-2 fastball with two outs. Humphreys went first to third on a single by Brayden Taylor.

Arkansas 0, TCU 0 — Middle 2nd Inning

Dave Van Horn said he loved Arkansas' base running in the opener against Texas Tech, but he couldn't have liked what he saw in the second inning.

Brady Slavens was out at third base on a ground ball to the left side of the infield, and moments later Casey Opitz was picked off at first base on a throw from the catcher Zach Humphreys to end the inning.

Slavens reached on a one-out hit and advanced to second base on a balk.

Arkansas 0, TCU 0 — End 1st Inning

Lael Lockhart worked around a one-out walk to strand a TCU runner in the first inning.

Lockhart struck out leadoff hitter Elijah Nunez and three-hole hitter Hunter Wolfe, and got clean-up hitter Gene Wood to ground out. Arkansas first baseman Cullen Smith made a nick pick on the throw from Jalen Battles to retire Wood and end the inning.

Arkansas 0, TCU 0 — Middle 1st Inning

The Razorbacks went down 1-2-3 in the top of the first inning. Robert Moore was caught looking at strike three, Christian Franklin flied out to center field and Cullen Smith grounded out.

We'll get our first look at Lael Lockhart in the bottom of the inning.

Pregame

Arkansas and TCU are getting set for a 7:38 p.m. first pitch that is 1 hour, 38 minutes later than originally scheduled.

The Razorbacks are the road team tonight and wearing their road grays with red hats. TCU is in its home white jerseys with purple hats.

Left hander Austin Krob is the pitcher for TCU tonight. The third-year sophomore did not allow an earned run last season in 11 2/3 innings.

Arkansas will start left hander Lael Lockhart, a senior who transferred after two seasons as the No. 1 starter at Houston.

The Razorbacks are starting the same players in the field as the first two games. Arkansas defeated Texas Tech 13-9 and Texas 4-0 earlier at the showdown.

TCU is 1-1 with a 7-3 loss to Ole Miss and a 3-2 victory over Mississippi State.

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