Jones, Arkansas bats have slamming good time in 21-1 home rout of Grambling

By Dudley E. Dawson
on 2024-02-27 19:40 PM


FAYETTEVILLE – An Arkansas baseball team that needed to see its bats come alive got to see just that Tuesday afternoon against an over-matched foe.

The No. 2 Razorbacks scored seven runs in the opening inning and had 21 hits overall en route to blasting the Tigers 21-1 in a seven-inning, run-ruled contest before an announced crowd of 8,913 fans at Baum-Walker Stadium.

Sophomore Jayson Jones hit two homers and had six RBIs and joined Hudson Polk in hitting grand slams with Polk’s coming in the first inning and in his first at bat of the season for Arkansas (6-2).

Eleven different Arkansas batters had at least one hit and 8 drove in runs in a game in which the Razorbacks – scuffing at the plate this season with a team batting average of .243 – scored in every at-bat except the second inning.

While the pitching staff of Grambling (1-7) was giving up 13 runs a game coming into Tuesday’s contest, Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn was nevertheless pleased with his team’s production.

“I just really liked the way we played today,” Van Horn said. “Obviously it’s not the pitching we’ve been seeing but you still have to hit it and you have to hit it hard. The wind’s blowing in. Our guys just came out with a little bit of an attitude it looked like to me. 

 “We hit a lot of balls hard, super hard. We were patient. Took our walks.”

Van Horn, whose team won 2 of 3 one-run games at the Kubota College Baseball Series in Arlington, Texas, also saw some lessons being learned late in the first game of a 12-game home stand.

“We ran the bases extremely well, except in that last inning when my freshman didn’t tag up on that ball into right center,” Van Horn said. “The pitchers, they filled it up. I think we had two walks.

“The game will tell you things. Just like in that inning, we gave up the hit that drove in the run. He made a mistake and the guy got him. And that’s the way the game works. I feel like (pitcher Tate) McGuire learned something. And (Arkansas pitching) coach (Matt Hobbs) talked to him about it. 

 “Just a really, really well-played game by our team. I told them after the game, it doesn’t matter if they’re throwing (pitches) 85 or 95 (miles per hour), you’ve got to have the right approach. You’ve got to do things right. I felt like we would have won today no matter who we played.”

Ross Lovitch came off the bench to join Peyton Holt in going for 3 for 3 at the plate while Jones, Diggs, Will Edmunson and Jared Sprague-Lott all added two hits each.

Freshman Colin Fisher (2-1) started, went one inning and was awarded the pitching victory as the first of six pitchers Arkansas sent to the mound.

Parker Coil took over for the second and third innings while Cooper Dossett, Christian Foutch, Gage Wood and Tate McGuire all tossed an inning to finish off the game.

Grambling had just a lone hit – Ashton Inman’s second-inning single – going into the seventh, but put together a trio against McGuire with LaMarcus Jones’s RBI single breaking up the shutout in the visitors’ final at bat.

Van Horn felt jumping out to a 7-0 lead certainly was a bonus after struggling at Globe Life Field, the home of the world champion Texas Rangers

“It was big because runs were hard to come by down in Texas,” Van Horn said. “We had a lot of opportunities. We didn’t come through hardly any.

“For us to keep getting hit after hit, taking pitches, getting pitch counts up. They were probably wanting their starter (Carlos Peguero) to go probably 3 (innings) and he threw 43-44 pitches in the first inning. Obviously we come out and score seven runs and the (Arkansas) pitchers just fill it up.”

Former Camden Fairview multi-sport standout and one-time Razorback commit Martavius Thomas started in center field for Grambling, went 0 for 2 and is now hitting .273 this season.

It was certainly a different game last year’s match up between the two teams in which Grambling jumped out to a 5-0 lead before Arkansas rallied to win 9-7.

 “Well, I didn’t say anything to the team about it after the game on Sunday,” Van Horn said. “We were like everybody else, just trying to get out of there. And then yesterday, the guys came around and did some stuff on their own, was kind of a day off.

“But before the game I told the position players that this is a veteran team. Most of their players are back. They’re physical. They’ve lost some one-run games. Talked to their coach before the game. They’re very frustrated they haven’t been able to close out games.

“Obviously we didn’t see their best pitchers. They use them on the weekend. But I did tell them we had to scramble last year and had to fight to win that game. If you don’t come out and you don’t play the game right you lose. I don’t know if I really needed to tell them all that, the way they came out and played. But they were ready tonight.”

Arkansas will host Murray State for a three-games series this weekend with Friday’s game at 3 p.m, Saturday’s at 2 and Sunday’s first pitch slated for 1.

• • •

Van Horn gave and update on injured second baseman Peyton Stovall.

Photo courtesy of Razorbacks Communications

(Last updated: 2024-02-27 19:40 PM)