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Area graduate wins top pitching honor

by Staff report | June 3, 2021 at 2:44 a.m.
Hayden Arnold (30) throws a pitch for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock at Gary Hogan Field in Little Rock in this May 2018 file photo. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette file photo)

Watson Chapel High School graduate Hayden Arnold has been named Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year.

Arnold, a 6-foot-3, 186-pound right-hander who calls Rison his home, became the first University of Arkansas at Little Rock player to receive the superlative honor. He is the sixth in UALR baseball history to win a major conference award and the first since Ryan Scott was named Sun Belt Player of the Year in 2016.

Arnold, who finished 7-3 on the season, posted a 1.54 earned-run average in conference games, the lowest in the Sun Belt. His overall ERA was 2.85 ERA. He also threw 52 2/3 innings, more than any other pitcher in the conference.

Opponents batted .191 and scored nine earned runs in eight of Arnold's conference starts. He held teams to nine walks for a 6-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ration and 9.23 strikeout-per-nine inning tally.

Among conference leaders, Arnold's seven victories rank second, his 82 innings third, overall ERA fourth, 80 strikeouts tied for seventh and .226 batting average 10th. He allowed three or fewer runs in 12 of his 13 starts.

Arnold's name is dotted in UALR career charts. His .609 winning percentage ranks third all-time, 14 career wins sixth, 225 strikeouts and 216 innings pitched seventh in both categories and 3.46 ERA ninth.

At Watson Chapel, Arnold was a three-time all-conference performer and named to the all-state team as a junior.

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