Observations from Arkansas baseball's fifth open preseason scrimmage

Arkansas shortstop Wehiwa Aloy bats Friday, Feb. 2, 2024, during a scrimmage at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville. (Andy Shupe/NWA Democrat-Gazette)

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas baseball held its fifth open scrimmage of the preseason Monday at Baum-Walker Stadium. The scrimmage lasted four innings, just long enough to get some work in for five freshman pitchers. The White team beat Cardinal 10-7 behind three home runs. 

The Razorbacks are 11 days away from their season opener against James Madison on Feb. 16.

“We’re in a good spot for the start of the season,” third baseman Peyton Holt said after the scrimmage. “We're ready to go. I think we’ve got a really good group to do something special this year.”

Freshman pitchers get work

Arkansas gave five freshman pitchers time on the mound Monday. Left-hander Colin Fisher started for the White team, and right-hander Tate McGuire started for Cardinal. 

Fisher got a strikeout and a ground out to start his day before giving up back-to-back walks to Hudson White and Kendall Diggs. That brought up Peyton Holt, who hit a three-run home run 415 feet into the left-field Hog Pen. 

Fisher recovered nicely after that, however, only giving up one more earned run. He pitched 2 2/3 innings with 2 hits, 4 earned runs, 2 walks and 3 strikeouts.

Jack Smith relieved Fisher in the middle of the third inning. He struck out the first batter he faced, Ben McLaughlin, to end the inning. In the fourth, Smith gave up a lead-off double to White. That set up a two-run home run by Peyton Holt, which was immediately followed by a solo home run from Jared Sprague-Lott. 

Smith’s final line: 1 1/3 innings pitched, 3 hits, 3 earned runs, no walks and 2 strikeouts.

For the Cardinal squad, McGuire had a tough outing. He lasted 2/3 of an inning and gave up 7 earned runs and 1 walk with 1 strikeout. He ceded four hits, including a double each to Peyton Stovall, Ryder Helfrick and Hudson Polk, and a home run to Wehiwa Aloy.

Diego Ramos relieved McGuire in the first and gave up a two-run home run to the first batter he faced, Reese Robinett. Robinett’s blast went 388 feet.

Ramos struck out Hunter Grimes to get the final out of the first. In the bottom of the second, he gave up a lead-off single to Stovall and a two-out walk to Jack Wagner, but he stranded both runners. Ramos’ final line: 1 1/3 innings pitched, 2 hits, 1 earned run, 1 walk and 3 strikeouts.

Jaewoo Cho had a good showing in his two innings following Ramos. He struck out the side upon entering the game to start the third, setting down Ross Lovich, Polk and Robinett. He gave up an RBI double to Diggs and an RBI single to Aloy in the next inning to finish with 2 hits, 2 runs, 1 earned run, no walks and 3 strikeouts.

Foot issue doesn’t slow Peyton Stovall down

Stovall was hit in the foot by a pitch while leading off the bottom of the first. He continued the at-bat with Hunter Grimes taking first base in his stead. 

Stovall got a hit to drove in Grimes, who had stolen second, but he hobbled on the way to first base and called for a trainer. He came out of the game and Grimes went back in as a runner.

Fortunately for Arkansas, Stovall returned, but he was apparently instructed not to run and was replaced on base when he reached. He finished the day 2 for 3 with 1 RBI.

Wehiwa Aloy, Peyton Holt add multi-hit games

Along with Stovall, Aloy and Holt had multiple hits on the day.

Aloy continued his powerful hitting Monday with a home run and a single. His 417-foot homer off of McGuire was his third in the five open scrimmages Arkansas has held. 

The Sacramento State transfer is now a combined 7 for 12 in the open scrimmages with 1 walk, 4 runs and 6 RBI.

Holt went 2 for 2, both of which were home runs. Coach Dave Van Horn has repeatedly called the third baseman a “spark plug” in the Arkansas lineup.

“When there's not a lot of energy going around, just being that guy that gets the group going,” Holt said of the moniker after the scrimmage. “I think I'm one of the guys that can do that.”

Catchers hit well

All four of Arkansas’ catchers hit Monday. White batted third and caught for the Cardinal squad went 1 for 2 with two runs scored. Parker Rowland hit seventh as one of two designated hitters for Cardinal and went 1 for 2 with a double and a run scored.

Helfrick caught for the White team and hit fifth. He went 1 for 2 with a double at the plate and added a nice defensive play when he caught Will Edmunson stealing. 

Polk batted seventh as designated hitter for White and went 1 for 2 with a bases-clearing double and run scored.

Lineups

The batting orders for each squad were as follows:

White team

Ty Wilmsmeyer, CF

Ben McLaughlin, 1B

Hudson White, C

Kendall Diggs, RF

Peyton Holt, 3B

Jared Sprague-Lott, SS

Parker Rowland, DH

Will Edmunson, LF

Nolan Souza, 2B

Ty Waid, DH

Cardinal team

Peyton Stovall, 2b

Jayson Jones, LF

Wehiwa Aloy, SS

Jack Wagner, 1B

Ryder Helfrick, C

Ross Lovich, CF

Hudson Polk, DH

Reese Robinett, 3B

Hunter Grimes, RF