Bohrofen's 'huge play' sparks Hogs' win over Wright State

By: Matt Jones Matt Jones's Twitter account
Published: Saturday, March 4, 2023
Arkansas right fielder Jace Bohrofen catches a ball at the wall during the second inning of a game against Wright State on Saturday, March 4, 2023, in Fayetteville.
( Walt Beazley, Arkansas Razorbacks )
Arkansas right fielder Jace Bohrofen catches a ball at the wall during the second inning of a game against Wright State on Saturday, March 4, 2023, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas right fielder Jace Bohrofen set an early tone for Saturday’s game with the bases loaded — at the plate and in the field.

Bohrofen had a bases-loaded single to plate a run in the bottom of the first inning, then robbed Wright State of a grand slam with a leaping catch at the wall to end the top of the second.

It was part of an early blitz by the eighth-ranked Razorbacks, who defeated the Raiders 12-6 to win the weekend series at Baum-Walker Stadium. Arkansas (8-2) will go for the three-game sweep Sunday beginning at 1 p.m.

Bohrofen’s catch brought back a ball that was hit hard over the fence in right-center field by Wright State shortstop Justin Riemer. It preserved a 2-0 lead for the Razorbacks and drew a loud ovation from the announced crowd of 10,530.

“That was a huge play,” Wright State coach Alex Sogard said. “Riemer put a great swing on it and it was one of the best plays I’ve seen in a long time. He made a heck of a play and, obviously, that changes the game.”

It appeared as if Riemer would fly out to the warning track, but the ball carried to the fence.

“I thought I was just going to catch it on the wall,” Bohrofen said. “And then I saw it kind of kept drifting and I was like, ‘All right, I'm going to go up and get it.’ I went up and stuck my glove up there and I caught it….I was pretty excited for it.”

Bohrofen’s catch was the difference between the Razorbacks leading by two runs and trailing by two runs.

“I was just going crazy on the mound,” Arkansas starting pitcher Will McEntire said. “I told him I owe him dinner.”

The Razorbacks added five runs in the bottom of the second to blow open the game. Peyton Stovall and Caleb Cali each had RBI hits in the second, and Hudson Polk and John Bolton drew two-out walks with the bases loaded.

After Jay Luikart homered against McEntire to lead off the top of the third, Arkansas left fielder Jared Wegner hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the third to give the Razorbacks a 9-1 lead.

Wegner hit his team-leading fifth home run. He and Stovall homered Saturday for the third consecutive game.

Stovall’s 383-foot home run to right field opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning. It came two pitches after an exchange between Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn and home-plate umpire Joshua Schepis. He ruled lead-off hitter Tavian Josenberger committed runner’s interference after it appeared Josenberger had reached with a bunt single.

Van Horn said after the game that the umpire told him the ball hit Josenberger in the back, but Josenberger told him it did not.

“It was a weird play, but we really did a nice job after that,” Van Horn said. “Stovall hit one out of the park and I think it might have shook up their pitcher just a little bit.”

Stovall was the first of five consecutive Arkansas hitters to reach safely against Wright State left-hander Sebastian Gongora, the projected Horizon League pitcher of the year during the preseason. Gongora was lifted with what Sogard described as a back injury after the first inning when he threw 24 pitches and allowed 2 runs, 3 hits and 2 walks.

“Obviously he’s one of our guys,” Sogard said. “We wanted to be safe there, so we got him out of the game.”

Van Horn and Arkansas’ players said they were pleased with the execution of their game plan against Gongora, who entered with a 1.80 ERA and WHIP of 0.90 in 10 innings.

“We got after a pitcher that has had a lot of success this year,” Van Horn said. “He’s beaten an SEC team (Kentucky) already on the road and I felt like we were all over him. We were on his fastball, laying off his breaking ball and took some really good swings and got his pitch count up. We only scored two runs, but I think we gained a lot of confidence in that first inning.

“I would have liked to have seen him come back. I wanted to see how we are going to handle it. I’m always thinking about getting ready for league play and we’re going to see pitchers like that.”

McEntire worked through some early command issues to throw five innings for the Razorbacks. The right-hander allowed 3 runs (2 earned), 8 hits and 3 walks, and struck out 6 during his 95-pitch outing.

“I just think when your offense gets ahead it’s good to pitch to contact and try to get some quick innings,” McEntire said. “I just gave up a little too much contact today.”

Wright State (2-7) homered twice against McEntire with lead-off home runs by Luikart in the third inning and Boston Smith in the fourth. Andrew Patrick’s RBI double scored Luikart in the fifth inning after he singled and advanced on a throwing error by McEntire.

McEntire’s lower-left leg was hit on the comebacker by Luikart and he threw the ball away after fielding it off-balanced. He was observed by Arkansas trainer Corey Wood and pitching coach Matt Hobbs before electing to remain in the game.

Right-hander Austin Ledbetter, a high school teammate of McEntire at Bryant High School, threw 33 pitches during three scoreless innings. He faced one batter above the minimum in a strong outing that came on the heels of a rough start to the season.

Fellow sophomore right-hander Jake Faherty made his season debut in the ninth inning and allowed three runs. Faherty left the game with two outs after issuing his third walk. He also balked twice, which led to the first run against him.

Faherty walked off the field after being looked at by Wood, the trainer. Faherty was shaking his right arm after throwing his final pitch.

Ben Bybee, a freshman right-hander, allowed a two-run triple to Drew Baker after he replaced Faherty. The game ended when Peyton Holt, a late-game replacement at third base, made a great stop and throw to rob Patrick of an RBI hit.

Jayson Jones hit a two-run home run to give Arkansas an 11-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth. That scored Bohrofen, who led off the inning with a double.

Bohrofen went 2 for 3 and walked once in his return to the bottom of the order. He hit sixth in the lineup after batting second the previous two games.

Jones was the designated hitter Saturday and finished 2 for 5 in his first game since Feb. 21. Jones struck out with the bases loaded in the first and second innings.

“It looked to me like he grabbed a little bit of an attitude in the middle of the game, like he’d had enough and it was time to do something, and he did,” Van Horn said. “It was really good to see.”

Josenberger’s sacrifice fly in the eighth scored Polk to give the Razorbacks a 12-3 lead.


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