Baseball fall classic

Junior Tyson Fourkiller bats during the annual Fall Classic scrimmage. The Diamond Hogs' regular season will begin Feb. 17. 

A crowd of about 4,000 fans came out to Baum-Walker Stadium to sing their rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and have their first look at the 2023 Razorback baseball team. The gray team defeated the red team 3-1 in the annual Fall Classic.

A mix of new faces and familiar names shone bright on a night of good vibes, as onlookers yearned to see how the Hogs stack up for the coming season. Sophomore Hagen Smith opened the pitching account with two strikeouts. Junior pitcher Jaxon Wiggins’ fastball touched 97 miles per hour when he recorded a punchout to finish his inning.

Electric pitching was the story early as 2022 postseason standout Zack Morris countered with two strikeouts of his own.

“The pitching's been great all fall, honestly,” head coach Dave Van Horn said after the scrimmage. “I mean tonight, we went seven innings, and we didn't walk anybody. We hit three, but we didn't walk anybody, so that's always good to see.”

In the top of the third inning, redshirt freshman Jude Putz flashed off his speed by turning a ball in the gap into a stand-up triple. Putz’s speed ranks in the 98th percentile for the 60-yard dash for his class, according to Perfect Game. Freshman infielder Easton Swafford opened the scoring for the gray team, courtesy of an error on the shortstop that drove Putz home.

Last year’s freshman phenom pitcher Brady Tygart was rudely greeted in the bottom of the third by senior catcher Parker Rowland, who crushed a ball 426 feet to right field to tie the score at one.

Half an inning later, junior outfielder Jace Bohrofen smacked a two-run single that would ultimately turn out to be the game-winner.

The sparkling defensive play of the game came in the sixth inning from junior outfielder Issac Webb, who made a diving catch on the full stretch in right field to rob sophomore infielder Kendall Diggs of a hit.

Fans were excited to ring in the new season with plenty of giveaways and promotions throughout the night. 

The Razorbacks square off against the Texas Rangers’ instructional league team Oct. 12 and 13 at Baum-Walker Stadium as they continue to ramp up for the upcoming season, Van Horn said after the game.

The regular season is scheduled to get underway Feb. 17, 2023, at the College Baseball Showdown in Arlington, Texas.

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