Hogs uncover bats in 20-run drubbing

Arkansas left fielder Jayson Jones celebrates Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, with assistant coach Nate Thompson after hitting a 2-run home run during the third inning of the Razorbacks' win over Grambling State at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville. Visit nwaonline.com/photo for today's photo gallery..(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Andy Shupe)
Arkansas left fielder Jayson Jones celebrates Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, with assistant coach Nate Thompson after hitting a 2-run home run during the third inning of the Razorbacks' win over Grambling State at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville. Visit nwaonline.com/photo for today's photo gallery..(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Andy Shupe)


FAYETTEVILLE -- The No. 5 Arkansas Razorbacks had trouble driving in runs while winning 2 of 3 games over the weekend at the College Baseball Series in Arlington, Texas.

They did not have the same problem in their return home, blasting Grambling State 21-1 on a warm, overcast Tuesday afternoon before an announced crowd of 8,913 at Baum-Walker Stadium. The game was shortened to seven innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.

Arkansas (6-2) racked up 20 hits, its first game with 20 or more hits since an 18-1 win over Dayton on Feb. 28, 2018.

The Razorbacks had more hits than they produced all weekend against Oregon State, Oklahoma State and Michigan at the College Baseball Series and scored twice as many runs.

"I told them after the game, it doesn't matter if they're throwing 85 or 95, you've got to have the right approach," Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said Tuesday. "You've got to do things right. I felt like we would have won today no matter who we played. We played good."

Arkansas had to scramble to beat the Tigers 9-7 last season in the Hogs' first game back from the College Baseball Showdown, but they got busy from the jump this time.

The Razorbacks were all over Grambling State starter Jose Peguero with seven first-inning runs, highlighted by catcher Hudson Polk's grand slam in his first at-bat of the season.

"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 ... we come out and score seven runs and the pitchers just fill it up."


Jayson Jones hit two home runs, including a fifth inning grand slam, that gave the Hogs an 18-0 lead, and he had a game-high six runs batted in.

"Our hitting staff, we definitely kind of struggled last week, but that's behind us," Jones said. "We're not looking towards that at all.

"That's in the past. As we showed today, we can put the barrel on the ball and we're definitely going to keep on and continuing to do that."

Van Horn substituted liberally after building a 12-0 lead through three innings and the Razorbacks went through six pitchers who struck out 11 to push the team total to 70 in the past four games.

Grambling State (1-7) snapped the shutout bid in the top of the seventh when pinch hitter Aries Gardner doubled with one out off Tate McGuire and scored on pinch hitter LaMarcus Jones' single.

Freshman left-hander Colin Fisher (2-1) was credited with the win for his one-inning start because he was on a pitch count.

"We just wanted to let him get in the rhythm of starting on Tuesday, like he was going to," Van Horn said.

Grambling State got three of its four hits in the seventh inning after scratching out a lone single by Ashton Inman and three base runners through six innings. Two of those runners were erased on double plays started by third baseman Jared Sprague-Lott, who was also 2 for 3 with 2 runs.

Ross Lovich came in as a substitute in the fourth inning and had three singles to tie Peyton Holt for the team lead with three hits.

Leadoff hitter Will Edmundson, playing center field, reached base four times in the first four innings and went 2 for 3 with 3 runs. Holt reached base five times in the first six innings with three singles and three runs.

Edmundson, Diggs, Sprague-Lott and Jones had two hits apiece.

The Razorbacks removed all drama before the Tigers could record an out.

Edmundson walked to open the bottom of the first inning, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Kendall Diggs' double. After walks by Ben McLaughlin and Sprague-Lott, Diggs scored after the Tigers messed up a potential double-play grounder when second baseman Kyle Walker dropped a relay at the bag.

Polk made the Tigers pay with a 421-foot blast that hit the batter's eye beyond the center field wall to make it 6-0.

Arkansas scored in all but one inning, the second.


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