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 ends with another close scrimmage
Arkansas catcher Parker Rowland swings during a scrimmage Monday, Oct. 16, 2023, in Fayetteville. (Walt Beazley/Arkansas Athletics)
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas’ baseball Fall World Series concluded with another tight game Tuesday.
Ty Wilmsmeyer scored from second base on a Kade Smith bunt in the top of the eighth inning, and freshman right-hander Jaewoo Cho stranded a base runner at third in the bottom of the inning to give the Cardinal team a 9-8 victory in eight innings of intrasquad play.
The scrimmage was supposed to last seven innings, but Arkansas coaches opted to keep it going after the teams finished regulation tied 8-8. There were no extras Monday when the teams tied 9-9 in seven innings.
“It was real competitive today,” Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. “I just saw a lot of clutch things happen.”
Tuesday’s extra inning included pro baseball rules that placed a runner at second base with no outs.
Wilmsmeyer began running toward third base on the first move by left-handed pitcher Tucker Holland. Smith laid down a bunt toward the mound. As Smith was thrown out at first base by catcher Parker Rowland, the speedy Wilmsmeyer ran full speed toward home and slid safe under Rowland’s glove.
“Everything we do is serious,” Rowland said. “I think that’s why we’re going to have a good product on the field come March.”
Game 2 Box Score: Fall World Series - Game 2.pdf
Rowland tied the game with a three-run home run against right-hander Jake Faherty in the bottom of the seventh. The 379-foot blast went off the Hunt Baseball Development Center in right field.
“I was really fired up there to get the boys back in the game,” Rowland said.
The homer by Rowland capped a four-run inning against Faherty, who entered with an 8-4 lead but struggled with command.
Ben McLaughlin was hit by a 1-2 pitch to lead off the inning and went to third on a Jayson Jones double in the next at-bat. McLaughlin scored on a wild pitch and Jared Sprague-Lott walked with one out to bring Rowland to the plate.
Rowland said he was looking for a first-pitch fastball. He didn’t miss when Faherty gave him one.
“I was trying to jump on his heater and trying to get the barrel head out,” Rowland said. “I’m glad I could get a good swing on it.”
There were five home runs hit by five different players Tuesday.
Hitting against freshman right-hander Tate McGuire, Kendall Diggs banged a 412-foot blast off the window to Van Horn’s office atop the Hunt Center to give the White team a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
Jack Wagner answered with a solo home run it the top of the second against freshman lefty Colin Fisher. It was the second home run in as many days for Wagner, a transfer from Tarleton State.
Smith in the fourth and Reese Robinett in the fifth homered against right-hander Ben Bybee as the Cardinal team took a 5-4 lead.
The Cardinal grew the lead to 8-4 on a two-run double by Robinett and a fielder’s choice RBI by Hunter Grimes. All runs in the top of the seventh were charged to Holland, who allowed 4 runs (3 earned) on 2 hits and 2 walks in 2 innings.
Cho’s one-inning relief appearance drew praise from Van Horn. Like Holland in the top of the inning, Cho began the bottom of the eighth with a runner, Nolan Souza, at second base.
Souza quickly advanced to third on a wild pitch by Cho, but the South Korean native bounced back to strike out Ty Waid and Will Edmunson before McLaughlin flied out to right field to end the game.
“Jaewoo [was] throwing a bunch of sliders that started knee high and ended up about ankle high,” Van Horn said. “Guys didn’t make an adjustment, but he did what he needed to do and he got them out.”
Cho was one of three freshman pitchers to throw a scoreless inning in relief. Lefty Jack Smith (Cardinal) and right-hander Diego Ramos (White) also threw a scoreless inning apiece.
The day’s best pitching performance belonged to redshirt freshman Jordan Huskey, a lefty who scattered 1 hit and 2 walks, and struck out 4 over 3 scoreless innings for the Cardinal team. Huskey entered in a 4-4 game before giving way to Faherty.
Wilmsmeyer and Robinett for the Cardinal team, and McLaughlin for the White each had two hits. Robinett (3) and Kade Smith (3) of the Cardinal had multiple RBI, as did Rowland (3) and Diggs (2) for the White.
The day’s top defensive plays belonged to Edmunson, a center fielder who robbed Rowland of an extra-base hit with a running, diving catch in left-center field, and shortstop Wehiwa Aloy, who made a leaping throw from the hole to take away an infield single from Hudson Polk.
“It was a [Derek] Jeter throw,” said Wagner, who picked the throw from his position at first base.
The Razorbacks were originally scheduled to play a best-of-three Fall World Series with an if-necessary game Thursday, but Van Horn said Monday the series would be shortened due to a lack of available pitching. Several pitchers were unavailable this week for various reasons, mostly rest.
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