Arkansas vs. A-State May 2021

Arkansas freshman left fielder Cayden Wallace celebrates with teammates while crossing home plate Tuesday night. Wallace smashed an opposite-field grand slam to give the Hogs a 4-0 lead in the fifth inning against Arkansas State. 

The No. 1 Razorback baseball team used a big fifth inning to beat Arkansas State 8-4 in their first meeting. The win completed the team’s sweep of all four in-state opponents. 

Freshman pitcher Jaxon Wiggins took the hill for the Hogs during his first collegiate start. He tossed two scoreless frames, striking out three Red Wolves.

“I thought (Wiggins) did a really nice job,” head coach Dave Van Horn said after the game. “Just watching him and seeing him move around a little bit before the game, he just seemed calm but confident. I think he was ready to go. He threw a lot of strikes and it was good to see.” 

Freshman Heston Tole pitched a perfect third and senior pitcher Lael Lockhart took over in the fourth, throwing two hitless innings.

“Lockhart (was) probably about as good as he’s been in a while,” Van Horn said. “His stuff was really good tonight. That was good to see.”

The Arkansas offense had opportunities to get Wiggins some early run support after four walks in the first two innings, but the Razorbacks could not convert.

Arkansas State freshman Tyler Jeans pitched four shutout innings to start the game, not allowing a hit until senior Cullen Smith’s two-out double in the fourth inning.

In the fifth inning however, a single followed by two more walks resulted in a grand slam for freshman Cayden Wallace, his 10th home run of the season. Junior Brandon Anderson replaced Jeans afterward, only to allow an RBI double to junior center fielder Christian Franklin, which made it a five-run fifth inning for the Hogs.

Senior Kole Ramage pitched a scoreless sixth. Junior Elijah Trest blew the shutout by allowing a two-out RBI double to junior Blake McCutchen in the seventh, the Red Wolves’ first hit since the first inning. Senior pitcher Zebulon Vermillion was called in to clean up the mess and he induced a slow roller to end the inning.

The Razorbacks tacked on three runs in the bottom of the inning thanks to two errors from the Red Wolves. Junior Brady Slavens knocked in a run with a double, then scored from second on a foul pop up and a throwing error. 

Smith delivered an RBI double that scored sophomore second baseman Robert Moore, who reached base on a hard ground ball that got under the first baseman’s glove.

Sophomore Zack Morris came on to pitch the eighth inning, but the Razorbacks were hurt by their own errors. A dropped pop-up led to two unearned runs scoring on a double with two outs in the inning.

Junior pitcher Ryan Costeiu came in and proceeded to walk the bases loaded. A ground ball to junior shortstop Jalen Battles should have ended the inning, but a miscue on the toss to Moore allowed the Red Wolves’ Tyler Duncan to score a run.

Junior pitcher Connor Noland closed the game in the ninth, striking out two batters for the Razorbacks.

“The game got a little sloppy there at the end, but I thought we pitched extremely well,” Van Horn said. “We threw nine pitchers. I thought Wiggins came out, did a really nice job… a little bit of a standout, Noland at the end, he had really good stuff… It was good to see those guys. We’re going to need as many as we can get down the stretch.” 

The Razorbacks will travel to Knoxville, Tennessee, to take on the No. 4 Tennessee Volunteers on Friday, May 14, at 5:30 p.m.. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network Plus.

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