Razorback report: Lineup change works for Arkansas

By: Matt Jones Matt Jones's Twitter account
Published: Saturday, May 7, 2022
Arkansas outfielder Jace Bohrofen bats during a game against Auburn on Friday, May 6, 2022, in Auburn, Ala. (Photo by Grace Schinsing/Auburn Athletics)
Arkansas outfielder Jace Bohrofen bats during a game against Auburn on Friday, May 6, 2022, in Auburn, Ala. (Photo by Grace Schinsing/Auburn Athletics)

Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn’s decision to stack left-handed hitters paid off Friday.

Lefties had eight hits — including home runs from Jace Bohrofen and Kendall Diggs — and switch hitter Robert Moore singled from the left side before he homered from the right during the Razorbacks’ 11-8 victory at Auburn. 

Including Moore, Arkansas started six left-handed hitters against Auburn right-handed pitcher Mason Barnett, a former weekend starter who had started mostly midweek games this season. Teams were batting .310 against Barnett from the left side, compared to .207 from the right side entering the game. 

“We’ve been struggling a little bit, so I just went with the odds I guess, so to speak,” Van Horn said. 

By starting Bohrofen and Zack Gregory in the outfield and Diggs as designated hitter, Van Horn left right-handed hitter Chris Lanzilli out of the lineup. Lanzilli has the team’s second-highest batting average of .318 and extended his hitting streak to 11 games during a loss to Missouri State on Tuesday. 

“I felt bad for Chris not playing,” Van Horn said. “He hasn’t done anything wrong. It’s a good problem that I have right now because I want to play all of those guys.” 

The lineup was assembled to give the Razorbacks a left-right advantage, but several of the biggest swings came in left-on-left situations. Bohrofen’s two-run home run against left hander Carson Skipper cut Arkansas’ deficit to 6-4 in the sixth inning and Diggs’ three-run homer in the second at-bat against left-hander Konner Copeland gave the Razorbacks an 8-6 lead in the seventh. 

Skipper allowed 5 runs, 4 hits and 1 walk in 1 inning, and Copeland allowed 4 runs, 2 hits and 2 walks in 1 1/3 innings. 

Arkansas also put run-scoring swings against Tommy Sheehan in the fifth inning, but the runs were charged to Barnett.

“Tommy was fine; nothing was hit hard, it was just kind of away from us and that’s what a good team is going to do is keep competing,” Auburn coach Butch Thompson said. “I didn’t think Skipper and Copeland were sharp, and that’s where they absolutely caught us and passed us.

“We thought Sheehan was the right guy tonight. Skipper, if he could have given us the sixth and the seventh, we thought Copeland and then (Chase) Allsup. Really on script there, but really too many big swings by Arkansas there was the difference.” 

In left-on-left at bats, Arkansas was 5 for 8 with 6 RBI, walked twice and Gregory was hit by a pitch. 

“It was great to see our left-handed hitters hit lefties,” said Van Horn, who added, “I’m sure that they thought that those lefties were going to get our lefties out. That was their game plan. I just felt like the left-handers that were coming up were seeing the ball good, and I wasn’t going to go pinch hit for them. I didn’t feel like I needed to.”

DiChiara limited

Auburn first baseman Sonny DiChiara went 0 for 3 and walked twice Friday. 

DiChiara entered the game with a nation-best .436 batting average. It was the first time he was held without a hit during a home conference game and the first time he was hitless at home since an April 12 game against Samford. 

DiChiara transferred from Samford prior to the season. 

“You always say, ‘You don’t want that guy to beat us.’ You pick somebody from their team who is having a great year in the lineup, but sometimes that’s hard to do,” Van Horn said before the game on the Razorbacks’ radio show. 

“You do the best you can and hopefully you can get him out.” 

DiChiara struck out three times to bring his season total to 31. He whiffed against Connor Noland in the first and fourth innings, and Evan Taylor in the sixth. 

DiChiara was intentionally walked to load the bases in the Tigers’ two-run third. He came to the plate with runners at first and second base with two outs, but first base opened when Noland’s 1-0 pitch ricocheted off the glove of Michael Turner for a passed ball. 

Arkansas closer Brady Tygart also walked DiChiara in five pitches in the eighth inning.


Turner was involved in two interference calls that went Auburn’s way during the top of the fifth. 

Replay showed the glove of Auburn catcher Nate LaRue touched Turner’s bat during his swing on a 1-1 pitch that was fouled off. Turner singled later in the at-bat. 

Moore reached first when second baseman Cole Foster failed to cleanly field a ground ball, but Turner was called out for interfering with Foster. Replay showed Turner hesitate as he and Foster moved close to one another as Foster tried to field the ball. There was no contact. 

Van Horn said after the game that Turner was not sure which way to go as he tried to avoid contact with Foster. His out nullified Arkansas having the bases loaded with no outs in the fifth. 

“I’m just glad that we came back and won the game because if we'd have lost by a run and we didn't get to play that inning out the way we felt like we should have, that would have been really disappointing,” Van Horn said. 

Mark Fuller, a former Auburn pitching coach who served as color analyst on the SEC Network-Plus broadcast of the game, seemed to disagree with the runner’s interference call. 

“I think (Turner) was just trying to figure out which way to go,” Fuller said. “I think Coach Van Horn has a right to be upset.”

Neither play was reviewable, so the call on the field stood. 

“We just felt like things weren’t going our way but we didn’t let it beat us,” Van Horn said. “Hats off to the kids for working.”

Left field

Before the game, Van Horn discussed the challenges of playing left field at Auburn, where a 30-foot wall is in play. 

The wall is 315 feet away from home plate at the left-field foul pole. The outfield fence drops to 8 feet on the other side of the so-called “Green Monster,” and curves to create a non-traditional gap that extends to 385 feet in left-center field. 

“You’ve got to know how to play this park,” Van Horn said. “It’s some got some different things about it — quirky, whatever you want to call it, character, personality. 

“What we do is we kind of watch where (Auburn’s left fielder plays) it. That’s what I’ve done since we’ve been here….It’s an interesting park.” 

SEC West race

Arkansas maintained a two-game lead in the SEC West with eight games remaining. 

LSU and Texas A&M rallied to win games Friday to keep pace with the Razorbacks. Auburn, LSU and Texas A&M entered the day in a three-way tie for second place. 

Arkansas made up a game on Tennessee in the overall league race. The Volunteers lost 3-2 at Kentucky in 13 innings Thursday, and Tennessee trailed the Wildcats 4-2 in the eighth inning when Friday’s game was suspended due to rain. 

The Vols have a four-game lead over Arkansas. 

Short hops

• Arkansas trailed Auburn 5-0 in the fifth inning. The five-run deficit was the Razorbacks' second largest to overcome this season. Arkansas trailed Arkansas-Little Rock 6-0 before winning 16-8 on March 30. 

• Bohrofen's fifth-inning home run was measured 430 feet. 

• Moore has hit 3 of 5 home runs from the right side this season. He hit 17 of 18 home runs from the left side during his first two seasons. 


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