Stovall’s four hits highlight No. 1 Arkansas’ 8-2 win over San Jose State

By Dudley E. Dawson
on 2024-04-10 16:44 PM


FAYETTEVILLE – On a day when Cal arrived in Arkansas, top-ranked Arkansas sent a baseball team back to Cali winless.

Lead off man Peyton Stovall went 4 of 4 to raise his batting average to .377 as the No. 1 Razorbacks used 14 hits to down San Jose State 8-2 on Wednesday afternoon at Baum-Walker Stadium.

The win move Arkansas’ home winning streak to 23, it’s overall winning streak to 10 and the Razorbacks’ 29-3 record is the best 32-game start in program history.

It also completed a two-game mid-week sweep of the Spartans (12-21) and kept Arkansas – 11-1 in SEC action – rolling ahead of a road trip to Alabama this weekend.

“Well, I mean, I’m going to be positive with it,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “We did a great job of getting on base. We drove in eight runs, but you take a step back and on a really good day we could have maybe scored 14 of 15 runs.

“So maybe we’re saving those for the weekend or down the road. But I do like the way that we fight and get pitch counts up and we take a walk, get hit by a pitch, whatever. But we were a few big hits away from blowing the thing open and we didn’t really do that.”

The game was moved up two hours due to weather concerns and the introductory press conference of new Razorback head basketball coach John Calipari.

“We were worried about that lightning delay because we knew it was coming,” Van Horn said. “…So, again, yesterday when we played the first game it didn’t look like we had a chance today, then when the game was over it was reported…that there was a little bit of a break possibly from 12 to 3.”

Arkansas is now 19-1 since Stovall returned from a preseason injury with only loss doubling as the team’s only SEC loss.

“I’m still mad at the game we lost when he was in there,” Van Horn said while laughing. “No, he’s done a great job. Like I said, he changes the dynamics of our lineup. You’ve got a left-handed bat. You’ve got some power. You’ve got a guy that can hit for average, run the bases. Can drive runs in.

“The second, third, fourth time around, kind of a spark plug there. We’re playing well, and he’s really contributed to it.”

Arkansas freshman pitcher Colin Fisher (6-1) started and went the first three innings of a game where the Razorbacks used five pitchers.

Fisher was followed into the game by Koty Frank, Jake Faherty, Parker Coil and Cooper Dossett.

San Jose State was limited to just four hits on Wednesday and six over the two games.

San Jose State head coach Brad Sanfillippo, whose team had won four straight before arriving in Fayetteville, leaves the state with mixed emotions.

“Hey, we knew we were going to have to play perfect baseball to win today,” Sanfillippo said. “We played well, but did not play perfect baseball and then later we gave some stuff away.

“There was a little bit of tough luck and then we didn’t make some plays to make it a game in the eighth and ninth innings.

“But, hey, down 4-0 and Theo (Hardy) got a lead off hit and then Matt Spear with a homer to cut the lead in half. I thought that was a really good job in terms of being able to put us back in the game.

“We just didn’t do enough late offensively to create some opportunities and not good enough baseball against the number one team in the nation to get it done.”

Ben McLaughlin, Jack Wagner and Will Edmunson had two hits each for the Razorbacks on Wednesday while Nolan Souza joined Stovall and McLaughin in having a pair of RBIs.

Arkansas is 5-0 in mid-week games this season.

“I think the biggest thing is that all 40 guys on the team are showing up,” Stovall said. “We don’t take a day off. You can count sometimes during midweeks. Sometimes you’re kind of there but you’re not really locked in.

“But I think we’ve done a really good job at that. We’ve coming and we’ve played really good baseball. Everyone’s been super focused. Doesn’t matter if it’s on a weekend or a midweek. It’s defiantly something different.

“I can remember last year and the year before, there would be some games where you could just feel that the focused energy wasn’t there. But I haven’t felt that with this team. Hopefully we can continue to keep doing that.”

Souza’s batting average is now at .349 and he started at third base the last two games after previously being the designated hitter.

Stovall’s sacrifice fly and McLaughlin’s RBI double gave the Razorbacks a 2-0 lead in the opening inning against Spartans freshman starting pitcher Tyler Albanese (1-1).

Souza made it 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth when his double scored Wehiwa Aloy and Kendall Diggs, who had singled Aloy to third base after he had walked.

Matt Spear cut that lead in half at 4-2 when he hit a two-run homer in the seventh off Coil.

It was Spear’s second blast in as many days and gave him all three of the Spartans’ RBIs in the series.

But Arkansas answered right back with a four-run rally as soon as the seventh-inning stretch was done was over.

Jack Wagner hit the first pitch he saw from Cade Cushing for his third homer of the season to get the rally going.

Stovall followed later in the inning with an RBI single, McLaughin a run-scoring double and Aloy a sacrifice fly.

Arkansas will open is series at Alabama Friday night at 6 p.m.

Photo by John D. James

(Last updated: 2024-04-10 16:44 PM)