Arkansas baseball 1-hits Arkansas State to win 18th in a row at home

Arkansas first baseman Ben McLaughlin runs the bases after hitting a home run during a game against Arkansas State on Tuesday, April 2, 2024, in Fayetteville. (Hank Layton/NWA Democrat-Gazette)

FAYETTEVILLE — The No. 1 Arkansas baseball team made quick work of Arkansas State on Tuesday at Baum-Walker Stadium.

The Razorbacks scored 13 two-out runs over the first three innings and defeated the Red Wolves 13-0 in seven innings — their seventh run-rule victory this year.

Arkansas (24-3) won its 18th consecutive home game and remained perfect in the series against Arkansas State that began in 2021. 

Seven Razorbacks combined to one-hit the Red Wolves (16-15). It was the second one-hitter of the year for Arkansas, which also one-hit Missouri in nine innings March 16. 

"It was just a really good job by our team again," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "They just come out and play. They show up and they play hard. It doesn’t matter if it’s conference or nonconference."

Freshman designated hitter Nolan Souza blasted a 458-foot grand slam to right-center field to punctuate a nine-run third. Souza’s fourth home run was the Razorbacks’ fifth grand slam — all hit during Tuesday games, including three against in-state opponents Central Arkansas, Arkansas-Little Rock and Arkansas State. 

"I haven't been very good the last couple games," Souza said, "so when I hit it, I didn't feel it off the bat and I just saw it go, so it was just a really good feeling. I was just really happy that I could get a good swing off and connect with it."

Souza scored two of Arkansas’ nine runs in the third. He doubled with one out and scored on Ross Lovich’s two-out double to put the Razorbacks ahead 5-0. 

"It was really good to see him get a couple good swings off," Van Horn said. 

When Souza doubled in the third, Arkansas was just getting started. 

After a walk, Will Edmunson hit an infield single and Arkansas State third baseman Daidrick Cail threw the ball away toward first base, which allowed two runs to score. 

Ben McLaughlin and Wehiwa Aloy added RBI singles before a Kendall Diggs walk, then Souza blasted the team’s second-longest recorded home run of the year. Aloy hit a 468-foot home run to left field against McNeese State on March 9. 

The grand slam put the Razorbacks ahead 13-0 on a cold, windy night in Fayetteville. 

"Waking up this morning we all felt it was a little cold, so we all had the idea of playing seven innings today," McLaughlin said. 

Seven of the runs in the third inning were charged to Coby Griener, an Arkansas State right-hander who was first in relief of starter Kole Turner. Griener allowed 5 hits, walked 1 batter and hit 1 batter while recording 2 outs. 

"I think when you look at at the third inning, we had a misplay in the field and the grand slam and that’s the ball game," Arkansas State coach Tommy Raffo said. 

The Razorbacks scored 4 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks in 2 innings against Turner (1-2). 

Peyton Holt’s infield single scored Peyton Stovall and McLaughlin also came home on a throwing error by shortstop Cason Campbell in the first inning. McLaughlin hit a 396-foot homer to center field in the second. 

"We had two plays to the left side that we didn’t make and you can’t give the No. 1 team in the country a bunch of free bases," Raffo said. "That came back to haunt us."

Freshman left-hander Colin Fisher (5-1) pitched two scoreless innings to earn the win on a pitch count. Ben Bybee, Jake Faherty, Gage Wood and Dylan Carter each pitched a scoreless inning, and Cooper Dossett recorded the first two outs in the sixth before Parker Coil recorded the last out of the inning. 

"I thought our pitching staff did a tremendous job," Van Horn said.

Arkansas pitching combined for 13 strikeouts and four walks and recorded its sixth shutout. Fisher has been the starting pitcher for three of the shutouts, having also started shutout wins over James Madison on Feb. 19 and UALR last Tuesday. 

The Razorbacks recorded 12 hits and stranded six base runners. Three were stranded in the sixth when Stovall flied out to right field with the bases loaded.

Why Arkansas won

The Razorbacks turned in another gem on the mound and gave Arkansas State no chance with a relentless two-out offensive attack.

Player of the Game: Arkansas 1B Ben McLaughlin

Batting second in the lineup, the left-handed hitter finished 3 for 4 with 3 runs and 3 RBI. 

McLaughlin had a hit in each inning the Razorbacks scored. He singled in the first and third innings and hit his fourth home run in the second. 

Up next

Arkansas is scheduled to return to SEC play and host Ole Miss on Thursday at 6 p.m.