Matt Jones is the editor of the Hawgs Sports Network. He is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has a bachelor's and master's degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas.
Hogs fall to Lipscomb in 11 innings
Arkansas infielder Harold Coll (1) runs the bases after hitting a home run during a game against Lipscomb on Tuesday, May 2, 2023, in North Little Rock.
Arkansas’ annual baseball game at Dickey-Stephens Park resulted in another thriller Tuesday night, but unlike most of their previous trips to North Little Rock, the sixth-ranked Razorbacks were unable to prevail in a tight game.
Lipscomb scored twice in the 11th inning against Arkansas’ beleaguered bullpen and won 8-6 in front of an announced crowd of 9,346. Both runs came against right-hander Ben McLaughlin, the Razorbacks’ designated hitter who was pitching for the fourth time, and first time since April 11.
McLaughlin walked the first two batters in the 11th, Alex Vergara and Mason Lundgrin. Vergara scored the go-ahead run on an RBI single by Trace Willhoite and Lundgrin added an insurance run on a sacrifice fly by Jake Berg.
The Bisons (24-21) won for the first time in nine games against SEC competition this season. It was Lipscomb’s third mid-week game against the SEC.
Arkansas (33-12) overcame a three-run deficit in the eighth inning to force extra innings. With Brady Slavens pinch hitting, Lipscomb left-hander Matthew Bohnert threw back-to-back wild pitches that, coupled with a throwing error by catcher Chaz Bertolani, scored three Arkansas runs.
McLaughlin scored on the first wild pitch and Jayson Jones came home on the throwing error to cut the Lipscomb lead to 6-5. Peyton Holt, pinch running for Hudson Polk, scored on a wild pitch the next time Bohnert came to the plate to tie the game 6-6.
Slavens walked and Kendall Diggs was hit by a pitch later in the eighth, but Jace Bohrofen struck out to strand them. It was one of two crucial inning-ending strikeouts when the game was tied for the two-hole hitter Bohrofen. He was called out looking with the bases loaded in the fourth inning.
Arkansas put the winning run in scoring position in the ninth when Caleb Cali walked and stole second base, but Harold Coll struck out and Jayson Jones lined out to strand him. Slavens hit a two-out single before a fly out by Kendall Diggs in the 10th.
McLaughlin was the eighth of nine Arkansas pitchers to throw in the game. The Razorbacks had 10 pitchers, plus McLaughlin on the roster of available players.
The Razorbacks played without regular starters at many positions due to injuries or scheduled rest. Slavens and catcher Parker Rowland entered the game late, and second baseman Peyton Stovall was unavailable to rest a shoulder injury.
It was the second consecutive Tuesday loss for the Razorbacks, who lost 8-4 at Missouri State last week.
Arkansas fell in North Little Rock for the first time since a 5-4 loss to Memphis in 2015. The Razorbacks have a 10-2 record at the ballpark dating to 2010.
Lipscomb capitalized on bad outings by Arkansas freshman right-handers Christian Foutch in the fourth inning and Ben Bybee in the sixth. They combined to face seven batters and neither recorded an out.
The Bisons took a 6-3 lead in the sixth after Bybee allowed 3 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks. He walked Will Lee to force home the go-ahead run that gave Lipscomb a 4-3 lead, and the Bisons added two more runs after Gage Wood replaced Bybee with the bases loaded.
Berg scored on a wild pitch by Wood and Parks Bouck scored on Chase Ketchup’s sacrifice fly to right field.
Arkansas led 3-1 when Foutch entered in the fourth inning. He walked the first two batters, then hit David Coppedge with a pitch to load the bases.
Left-hander Zack Morris replaced Foutch and limited the damage. Lundgrin scored on a fielder’s choice that resulted in third baseman Caleb Cali committing a throwing error. Bouck’s fielder’s choice RBI scored Willhoite to tie the game.
Morris walked Bertolani to load the bases with two outs, but struck out Lipscomb’s one-hole hitter Ketchup to end the inning. Morris retired all three batters he faced in the sixth. He pitched two scoreless innings, did not allow a hit and struck out four batters in arguably his best outing of the year.
Arkansas led 3-0 when Coll homered 428 feet to left-center field in the first inning against Lipscomb left-hander Michael Dunkelberger. Bohrofen and McLaughlin walked in the inning and scored on Coll’s third homer.
The Bisons cut the lead to 3-1 when Ketchup homered to center field against Arkansas right-handed reliever Will McEntire in the third. It was the 17th home run allowed by McEntire.
Arkansas right-hander Austin Ledbetter threw four scoreless innings from the seventh to the 10th. He threw 32 of 55 pitches for strikes.
Left-hander Parker Coil threw two scoreless innings in his start for the Razorbacks.
Lipscomb left-hander Hayden Frank earned the win three scoreless innings to close the game that lasted 4 hours, 8 minutes.
The Bisons out-hit the Razorbacks 8-5, and drew 11 walks to Arkansas' 9. Lipscomb stranded 13 base runners and the Razorbacks stranded 10.
Arkansas is scheduled to return to SEC play Friday with a 6 p.m. game at Mississippi State (24-20, 6-15 SEC).
The Razorbacks are 14-7 in league play and enter the weekend 1 1/2 games behind LSU in the SEC West with nine games remaining.
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