Bob Holt is a sports reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he sits on the board of directors for the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and a voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 basketball poll. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year four times and has been inducted to the Arkansas Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame.
Fayetteville Regional Report: Holt misses games with back spasms
Arkansas second baseman Peyton Holt (center) looks on from the dugout, Sunday, June 4, 2023, during the first inning of the Razorbacks’ game against TCU in the second round of the NCAA Fayetteville Regional at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas second baseman Peyton Holt was out with back tightness after apparently suffering the injury on his swing in the eighth inning of Friday’s 13-6 win over Santa Clara.
Holt, whose energetic work on offense and defense and spunky base running turned him into a fan favorite, had just moved up into the two hole in the Arkansas order after a hot streak.
"We'll see how he feels tomorrow," Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said. "They've got him on all kinds of medicine, so we'll see if something kicks in. He was moving around a lot better in the dugout, but I don't want to put him out there and he takes a swing or two and he can't move again."
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The Greenwood High product became the sixth Razorback starting position player to lose time with an injury, following left fielder Jared Wegner (missed 17 games), center fielder Tavian Josenberger (8), catcher Parker Rowland (4), second baseman Peyton Stovall (14) and shortstop John Bolton (3).
Holt, hitting a team-best .392 with 2 home runs and 17 RBI, has the longest current hitting streak among Razorbacks at 10 games.
Richardson rips Hogs
TCU second baseman Tre Richardson doubled his home run total in the first two innings against Arkansas and both of his long balls were opposite-field grand slams off lefties Hagen Smith and Zack Morris to lead the Horned Frogs won 20-5 in a winner’s bracket game Sunday afternoon.
Richardson tied the record held by Stanford’s Kody Huff with two grand slams in an NCAA Tournament game. Huff did it in a 12-4 win over UC-Irvine on June 5, 2021.
Richardson added a two-run homer in the sixth and finished with 11 RBI, tying the NCAA postseason record held by former Baylor catcher Shea Langaliers who did it against Nebraska-Omaha in 2019.
Richardson entered the game with nine career home runs in 175 games, and just two this season after transferring from Baylor.
He jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Smith and put it over the wall in right-center field to open the scoring after Karson Bowen walked, Braden Taylor singled and Cole Fontenelle was hit by a pitch.
Richardson’s second inning grand slam came after the Horned Frogs had already scored once in the inning with no outs.
Arkansas left-hander Hagen Smith allowed more first inning runs against TCU than he had given up in any of his 16 appearances this season. The Horned Frogs knocked him around for six runs on 37 pitches, topping the four runs he had allowed in a 7-4 loss at Ole Miss on April 7.
After Smith allowed back-to-back singles to open the second inning, he was pulled by Coach Dave Van Horn for Zack Morris.
Smith’s final line: 1 inning, 6 hits, 8 earned runs, 2 walks and 1 strikeout on 42 pitches, 23 for strikes.
The Hogs’ top left-handed starters, Smith and Hunter Hollan, combined for 3 1/3 innings in their starts at the regional.
TCU pitchers Sam Stoutenborough, Hunter Hodges and Mason Speaker allowed no walks to the Razorbacks one game after Arkansas worked Santa Clara for 10 walks.
Stoutenborough (4-0) threw 96 pitches over 6 innings, allowing 6 hits and 4 runs and striking out 5.
“That’s something I pride myself on, filling up the zone with all my pitches,” Stoutenborough said. “Walks are my biggest pet peeve. So any day I have no walks I’m pretty happy.”
The right-hander, whose fastball topped out around 91 mph, worked both sides of a 59-minute rain delay.
“I sat down for a little bit, then I went and threw. Played catch in the indoor,” he said. “Hung with my teammates a little bit, then got locked back in.”
Two in 1st
Arkansas plated two runs in the first inning against Santa Clara’s Brandon Gomez to become the fifth team in 10 chances to score at least two runs in the first inning at the regional.
The Broncos plated two in their 13-6 loss to the Razorbacks on Friday, then Arizona (2) and TCU (4) both erupted in the first inning in Friday’s finale. The Horned Frogs put up a six spot on Arkansas in a 20-5 win in Sunday’s afternoon game.
Arkansas scored all its run in its 20-5 loss to TCU on home runs, two from leadoff man Tavian Josenberger and one each from Jace Bohrofen and Harold Coll.
Josenberger had his first two-homer game at Arkansas and now has three home runs at the regional.
Bohrofen expanded his team high home run count to 15 and Coll hit his fourth.
The Hogs went 0 for 2 with runners in scoring position and 2 for 12 (.167) with runners on base. The Horned Frogs went 8 for 16 with runners in scoring position and 14 for 25 (.560) with runners on base.
Who’s on second?
With hot-hitting second baseman Peyton Holt out with a back problem, the Razorbacks used two different players at that position in Sunday’s games.
Senior Harold Coll made his 19th start of the season in the first game against TCU. Coll, who entered hitting .231 with 3 homers and 21 RBI, has made 10 starts at shortstop, 6 starts at second base and 3 starts at second base. Coll hit his fourth home run, a solo shot in the seventh inning, and went 1 for 4.
In the night game, normal third baseman Caleb Cali swapped over to second base and Ben McLaughlin made his first start at the regional at third base.
Arkansas sophomore Austin Ledbetter, pitching for only the second time in a month, ate up major innings out of the bullpen to keep other key relievers more fresh for the remainder of the regional.
Ledbetter worked a season-high six innings and allowed 6 runs on 9 hits and no walks with 4 strikeouts against the hot-hitting Horned Frogs.
Starter Hagen Smith, Zack Morris and Ben Bybee pitched one inning apiece in the 20-5 loss.
TCU has beaten Arkansas twice this season by a combined 38-11.
The Horned Frogs crunched the Hogs 18-6 in Game 2 on Feb. 18 at the College Baseball Showdown before sending them into the loser’s bracket with a 20-5 rout on Sunday.
TCU first baseman Braden Taylor is 7 for 10 in the two games with 5 RBI and 4 runs scored.
Elijan Nunez, Karson Bowen, Taylor, Tre Richardson, Cole Fontenelle and Anthony Silva all had multiple-hit games on Sunday.
The Arkansas-TCU game had a pair of longish delays lasting 59 and 51 minutes.
The first delay of almost an hour came due to a lightning strike in the area entering the bottom of the third inning with TCU leading 14-1.
The second lightning delay paused the game between 5:24 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. entering the bottom of the eighth inning.
About 6,000 fans returned to their seats in Baum-Walker Stadium after a 59-minute lightning delay and with TCU leading 14-1 heading into the bottom of the third inning.
When Arkansas catcher Parker Rowland hit a single on the first at-bat after the game resumed, fans cheered as if the hit had put the Razorbacks ahead.
Despite the lopsided score, fans continued to cheer when anything positive happened for Arkansas, including Tavian Josenberger’s second home run of the game.
Coach Dave Van Horn switched out several Arkansas regulars in the later innings of its 20-5 loss against TCU, giving center fielder Tavian Josenberger, first baseman Brady Slavens, third baseman Caleb Cali, shortstop John Bolton and catcher Parker Rowland some key minutes out of the sun on a long day at the park.
McLaughlin went 1 for 1 to raise his batting average to .370.
Hudson Polk, filling in at catcher, went 2 for 3 for his first two-hit game at Arkansas.
Reserves Jayson Jones, Mason Neville and Reese Robinett combined to go 0 for 5.
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