Fresh faces help Arkansas down UNLV in opener
on 2023-03-14 22:14 PM
BY DUDLEY E. DAWSON
With its SEC opening series with Auburn looming this weekend and down 4-1 to visiting UNLV on Tuesday night, it might have been easy for Arkansas to look ahead.
Instead the No. 6 Razorbacks, with four non-regulars in the line up, responded with a run in third and five in the fourth en route to taking down the Rebels 13-7 at Baum-Walker.
Kendall Diggs reached base in all five trios to the plate in the ninth straight win for the Arkansas (14-2), who will face UNLV again Wednesday at 3 p.m. before hosting Auburn to start league action on Friday.
Auburn (13-3-1) rallied from a seven-run deficit to down visiting Georgia Tech 12-11 on Tuesday night.
“This games kind of make you a little nervous because you are coming off three-game series (sweep of Louisiana Tech) and you have big series opening conference,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said.
“We got the opportunity to play some guys that haven’t played. Just felt like it was that time for them to play and they have been pulling for their teammates. So we just mixed it up a little bit.
“You obviously are concerned about it, but for the most part we got some big hits and we got something out of everybody.
“It was good to win the game and get some of our guys a little breather and have a chance to sweep this thing tomorrow,” Van Horn said.
Harold Coll was one of those, started at second and took full advantage of only his second start of the season to go 3-of-5 with a home run, two doubles and 4 RBIs.
“He had a great game,” Van Horn said. “We’re losing 1-0 and we’ve got a freshman [pitcher] out there, got a bunch of different guys in the lineup and [UNLV was] swinging the bats pretty good, and he hit that home run that tied it up. I think it gave us an opportunity to kind of catch our breath and relax, and realize it’s just baseball and we’ve got a lot of at-bats ahead of us.”
Hunter Grimes, Jayson Jones and Reese Robinett – the other non-regulars given starting nods on Tuesday – combined with Coll for seven hits, six runs and eight RBIs on the night.
“The energy was there and we just all went out and did our job,” Coll said. “We came in and we did it like we are going to continue to do.”
UNLV coach Stan Stolte and the Rebels (5-9) were playing their 13th road game of the season.
“Oh no, not anymore as difficult as any other team,” Stolte said. “We tell these kids if they play want to play professional baseball, then they are going to have to be able to travel like this. This is really probably easier than pro ball at the lower level. So that isn’t an excuse for us.”
Jacob Sharp was 3 of 4 and Edwin Willians 2 of 3 for UNLV.
“Oh yeah, they are our 3 and 4 hitters, and Jacob has been outstanding this year and it’s his first year this year,” Stolte said. “He has been outstanding for us, and Edarian has been here for four years. He is a veteran and takes some real quality at-bats. But they are in the middle of our order, so they are going to have to hit for us this year.”
Diggs moved up from sixth in the batting over to to lead off. He went 3-of-3 with three runs scored in a game where Arkansas put up 13 runs on 14 hits.
The Razorbacks used five pitchers in the victory with freshman Parker Coil and Gage Wood starting and finishing the outing whle sandwiching around vets Dylan Carter, Austin Ledbetter and Cody Adcock.
Van Horn thought Coil had a decent night despite allowing 4 runs on 4 hits, fanning four and waking one in 2 1/3 innings
“I thought Coil’s stuff was pretty good,” Van Horn said. “They just got some hits on him and the one walk came back to haunt him to lead off an inning.”
After Carter (3-0) calmed things down, Ledbetter took the mound in the fifth after Arkansas took the lead and went 2 1/3 innings and fancied five while allowing four runs.
“Ledbetter threw the ball really well, especially starting out,” Van Horn said. “He was spotting his fastball to both sides of the plate, had a pretty good breaking ball going and kind of settled it down for us a little bit.
“I think he got a little tired there in the third inning he was out there, but I also think there were a couple of calls he should have got and it would have saved him some pitches and us some a couple of runs, but we didn’t get it.”
Photo by John D. James
(Last updated: 2023-03-14 22:14 PM)