The Arkansas Razorbacks baseball team entered their final series of the regular season with the SEC West title on the line. Despite falling behind 3-0 in Thursday’s contest the Razorbacks battled back and took a 5-3 lead thanks to a two-run home run by Peyton Stovall and a three-run home run by Cayden Wallace. Arkansas would go on to take game one 7-3. In-game two on Friday the Razorbacks took a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning but the Crimson Tide bats got hot scoring six runs. The Razorbacks were unable to overcome the four-run deficit. With the series tied at one game apiece, Saturday’s rubber match game was a disastrous one for Arkansas. Entering Saturday, the Razorbacks still had a slim chance to win the SEC West needing a win and a Texas A&M loss to Ole Miss. Arkansas would take an early 2-0 lead in the first inning but after that nothing went right for the Razorbacks. Alabama scored six runs in the bottom of the second inning thanks to Arkansas miscues. Walks, wild pitches, passed balls, and fielding errors plagued Arkansas in the inning and would be a recurring theme throughout the day as Arkansas would lose 18-5 in one of the worst losses I have ever seen in my lifetime watching Arkansas baseball.
My takeaways from the series.
Pitching is going to be the downfall in the postseason unless something drastically changes for Arkansas. Thursday’s starter Will McEntire had the best outing of any Arkansas pitcher for the series. Connor Noland had a solid outing on Friday until the bottom of the fifth inning. On Saturday Jaxon Wiggins only made it through one inning before getting pulled in the bottom of the second. Arkansas used eight different pitchers on Saturday.
Something might have to change within the coaching staff after this season. No, I’m not saying fire Dave Van Horn. I won’t say what I think but you can be the judge based on what you have seen this season. Alabama’s entire staff looked far superior to Arkansas’s for most of the series. Let’s not forget, that although Alabama had a lot to play for heading into the final regular-season series, they were still in last place in the conference. Alabama solidified its spot in the SEC tournament next week and Arkansas will enter as the 3 seed. Arkansas will most likely need to win the tournament to be a top 8 seed and host a regional.
On a more positive note, maybe this will re-focus Arkansas for the postseason and make them play with a chip on their shoulder. There is a good chance Arkansas will be playing away from Baum Stadium in a regional for the first time in a while. Also, the team will not have to leave the state of Alabama before the upcoming SEC tournament in Hoover. Arkansas (38-16) will not have to play until Wednesday at 9:30 am when double elimination begins. The Razorbacks will face the winner of Alabama (29-25) and Georgia (35-20) who will play the first game of the tournament on Tuesday at 9:30 am.