FAYETTEVILLE – The sixth-ranked University of Arkansas led off a scoreless game with a six-run third inning Friday to propel the Razorbacks to a 13-2 victory and send coach Dave Van Horn to his 800th win with the program.

Kendall Diggs delivered the finishing blow, a three-run home run in the seventh inning, which served as the walk-off shot due to the 10-run rule. that he was in his place. Diggs’ second home run of the season was his first for Arkansas (4-1) at Baum-Walker Stadium in 2023.

An announced crowd of 8956 on a chilly afternoon saw Van Horn achieve his fastest 100-win segment with the Hogs, as he did it in 135 games. He earned victory No. 700 at Arkansas in the final game of the 2020 covid-19 abbreviated season.

“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 second in the batting order due to an injury to Peyton Stovall, drove in four runs and scored two. He sent Tarron Lawson’s fastball 399 feet over the wall in left-center field to cap the game.

“In at-bats early in the game, I was struggling to stay back a little bit, so I was just telling myself to drive something up the middle or the other way,” Diggs said. “He dropped a fastball over the plate and I put a good swing on it.”

Van Horn noticed the balls not traveling to left field earlier in the day.

“Yeah, he drove it,” Van Horn said. “Obviously the wind died down, but it hit him very far… It involved his lower half 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 out 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, drew a walk to send Van Horn to the mound with a hook.

Smith had gone five innings against Texas last week with 68 pitches.

“I thought I did good,” Smith said. I’m glad I fought. It could have been much worse than it was. I thought the defense played pretty well behind me and the runs were scored a lot, so it was pretty easy to pitch like that, although I had a bit of trouble.”

Eastern Illinois coach Jason Anderson liked his team’s patient approach against Smith, which included many foul balls and eight 3-2 counts.

“We did a very good job … as far as setting the table and he did a good job of not allowing runs with us putting runners in scoring position,” Anderson said. “You have to take your hat off to him. He’s phenomenal.”

Cody Adcock retired his only batter, Cole Gober, with a big jumper to second to end the fifth. After Austin Ledbetter gave up both Eastern Illinois runs in the sixth, Gage Wood pitched a no-hitter seventh with two strikeouts.

Eastern Illinois starter Blake Malatestinic (0-1) was on point for two innings, prompting early contact, such as a double play off a pitch to Peyton Holt with runners on first and third to cap off the second entry.

But the Razorbacks worked it out in the third, scoring six runs even as his pitch count stayed efficient. On his first three pitches in the inning, he hit Hudson Polk with a pitch, John Bolton’s driving bunt on the first-base side eluded him for a single, then Tavian Josenberger reached a beautifully placed bunt to third to fill in. the bases.

Diggs drew a walk to field the first run, then Jared Wegner worked a full count before throwing a looping liner to left-center to score Bolton and Josenberger. Brady Slavens followed with an RBI single to the opposite field and Jace Bohrofen was walked as the first seven Razorbacks reached in the inning.

After the Panthers pulled a double play, Holt drove in Slavens with a single to make it 6–0.

“Just a complete collapse in the third inning,” Anderson said. “He hit the first guy in the back with the first pitch and then we don’t field, he bunts. A team like this, you can’t give them five outs in one inning and expect to come back.”

Stovall was left out with a locked thumb, which he injured in a slide to second base Tuesday. Holt started at second base and went 2-for-4 with 3 RBIs, while Brady Slavens moved from first to third base and Ben McLaughlin played first base.

Josenberger, Slavens and Bolton joined Holt with two hits each.


against eastern illinois

WHEN noon, today

WHERE Baum-Walker Stadium, Fayetteville

RECORDS Eastern Illinois 3-1; Arkansas 4-1

STARTING PITCHERS Eastern Illinois RHP Tyler Conklin (1-0, 3.00 ERA); Arkansas RHP Will McEntire (0-0, 22.50)

RADIO Razorback Sports Network

TV None


Brady Slavens made his first UA start at 3B and made a couple of solid defensive plays, including a short jump scoop and a pitch over Grant Lashure for the first out of the second inning. … Arkansas improved to 33-2 against the Panthers, all in Fayetteville. … Eastern Illinois left fielder Cale Gober made the web jewel of the game, a spinning overhead catch near the warning track to rob John Bolton of a hit in the fourth inning. Also, Panthers second baseman Lucas DiLuca dove to his left to stop a hot grounder from Kendall Diggs in the seventh. … Game 3 on Sunday is scheduled to pit Arkansas LHP Hunter Hollan (1-0, 2.25 ERA) against Panthers RHP Ky Hampton (1-0, 0.00).


TODAY Eastern Illinois, Noon

SUNDAY Eastern Illinois, 1 pm



WEDNESDAY State of Illinois, 3 pm


FRIDAY Wright State, 3 pm

photo Arkansas designated hitter Kendall Diggs hit a three-run home run in the seventh inning in the Razorbacks’ 13-2 victory over Eastern Illinois in the home opener at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville. It was the second home run this season for Diggs. More photos at arkansasonline.com/225eiuua/ (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Andy Shupe)
photo Arkansas starter Hagen Smith allowed 3 hits, walked 3 and struck out 6 in 42/3 scoreless innings in Friday’s 13-2 win over Eastern Illinois at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Andy Shupe)


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