El Dorado News-Times
Van Horn picks up 800th win with Razorbacks
FAYETTEVILLE — The sixthranked University of Arkansas broke open a scoreless game with a six-run third inning on Friday to propel the Razorbacks to a 13-2 win and send Coach Dave Van Horn to his 800th win with the program.
Kendall Diggs provided the crowning blow, a three-run home run in the seventh, that served as a walk-off shot due to the 10-run rule. Diggs’ second home run of the season was the first for Arkansas (4-1) at Baum-Walker Stadium.
An announced crowd of 8,956 on a chilly afternoon saw Van Horn achieve his fastest 100-win segment with the Hogs (4-1), as he did it in 135 games.
He notched win No. 700 at Arkansas in the final game of the COVID-19 shortened season of 2020.
“I’ve had a lot of good players,” Van Horn said.
“Hopefully, we can talk about it again in another 100. But yeah, that’s awesome.”
Diggs, moved up to the two hole due to an injury to Peyton Stovall, drove in four runs and scored two.
He sent a Tarron Lawson fastball 399 feet over the wall in left-center field to cap the game.
“In the at-bats earlier in the game, I was struggling to stay back a little, so I was just telling myself to drive something through the middle or the other way,” Diggs said.
“He left a fastball over the plate and I put a good swing on it.”
Van Horn noted balls weren’t traveling to left field earlier in the day.
“Yeah, he drove it,” Van Horn said. “The wind died down, obviously, but he hit it a long way. … He got his lower half involved and the ball floated out of the park.”
The Panthers (3-1) worked the pitch count for Arkansas starter Hagen Smith (1-0), forcing him out after 97 pitches with two outs in the fifth, though he was still credited with the win.
Lincoln Riley hit a two-out double and
Ryan Ignoffo, who singled in his first two at-bats, worked a walk to send Van Horn to the mound with a hook.
Smith had gotten through five innings against Texas last week on 68 pitches.
“I thought I did OK,” Smith said.
“I’m glad I battled through. It could have been a lot worse than it was.
“I thought the defense played pretty good behind me and the runs scored a lot so it was pretty easy to pitch like that even though I struggled a little bit.”
Eastern Illinois Coach Jason Anderson liked his team’s patient approach against Smith, which included a lot of foul balls and eight 3-2 counts.
“We did a really good job … as far as setting the table and he did a good job of not giving up runs with us getting runners in scoring position,” Anderson said. “You’ve got to tip you hat to him.
“He is phenomenal.”
Cody Adcock retired his only batter, Cole Gober, on a high pop to second to finish the fifth and Gage Wood worked a hitless seventh with two strikeouts.
Eastern Illinois starter Blake Malatestinic (0-1) was on point through two innings, inducing early contact, such as a onepitch double play ball to Peyton Holt with runners at first and third to cap the second inning.
But the Razorbacks worked him over in the third, scoring six runs even as his pitch count stayed efficient.
On his first three throws in the inning, he hit Hudson Polk with a pitch, John Bolton’s push bunt on the first base side eluded him for a single, then Tavian Josenberger reached on a beautifully placed bunt toward third to load the bases.
Diggs drew a walk to plate the first run, then Jared Wegner worked a full count before launching a looping liner to left-center field to score Bolton and Josenberger.
Brady Slavens followed with an opposite-field RBI single and Jace Bohrofen walked as the first seven Razorbacks reached in the inning.
After the Panthers turned a slick 3-6-1 double play, Holt drove in Slavens with a single to make it 6-0.
“Just a complete meltdown in the third inning,” Anderson said. “He hit the leadoff guy in the back with the first pitch and then we don’t field the bunts. A team like this, you can’t give them five outs in one inning and expect to come back.”
Stovall sat out with a jammed thumb, which he injured in a slide into second base on Tuesday.
Holt started at second base and went 2 for 4 with 3 RBI, while Brady Slavens moved from first to third base and Ben McLaughlin played first base.
Josenberger, Slavens and Bolton joined Holt with two hits apiece.
Each right fielder, the Hogs’ Bohrofen and EIU’s Ignoffo, reached base in all of his first four plate appearances.
The game featured a delay in the seventh inning as Anderson appealed to the umpires to do something after three baseballs came out of the Hog Pen in the direction of Panthers center fielder Lincoln Riley.
“After the second time I said I’m going to make a scene if that happens a third time,” Anderson said.
“Sure enough it happened a third time, so you saw me running around like an idiot out there.
“Then somebody said something over the intercom finally. … I’ve never seen that here before.”