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Heavy-hitting Hogs: Arkansas extends its HR streak in rout

by Bob Holt | March 29, 2023 at 3:20 a.m.
Arkansas center fielder Tavian Josenberger hits a 2-run home run Tuesday, March 28, 2023, to score shortstop John Bolton during the third inning of the Razorbacks’ win over Omaha at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville. Visit nwaonline.com/photo for today's photo gallery. .(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Andy Shupe)

FAYETTEVILLE -- The University of Arkansas baseball team extended its streak with a home run to 21 games and pounded Nebraska-Omaha 16-3 on Tuesday night at Baum-Walker Stadium.

The game was stopped after seven innings because the No. 6 Razorbacks were ahead by 10 or more runs.

"I think it's pretty cool," said junior center fielder Tavian Josenberger, whose home run Tuesday night kept the streak alive. "I don't think any of the guys go up there trying to hit the ball out of the park, it just happens.

"We have a lot of guys in the lineup that are super competitive and just great hitters all-around. ... Hopefully we keep it going."

Arkansas (21-4) extended its home winning streak to 15 games, the most consecutive in a season in Dave Van Horn's 21 seasons as head coach.

The Razorbacks, 18-1 at Baum-Walker Stadium this season, won 14 consecutive home games in 2018 and 2022.

Eastern Illinois is the only visiting team to beat the Razorbacks this season, 12-3 on Feb. 26.

"We've been playing well at home for the most part," Van Horn said. "This team's real comfortable playing here, and there's been teams in the past that didn't play well here.

"Maybe pressure got to 'em, the fans, I don't know. But this team seems to really enjoy playing here."

Josenberger hit a 1-1 pitch from Tanner Olmstead 405 feet over the left field fence -- with an exit velocity of 105 mph -- for a two-run home run that put the Razorbacks ahead 10-3 in the third inning.

"Pretty sure I took a fastball right down the middle the pitch before," Josenberger said. "I was kind of upset for a second, thinking I wasn't going to get another one of those.

"Looking for [another] heater, got one and put a good swing on it."

Josenberger -- 2 for 2 with 3 runs batted in, 3 runs and 2 walks -- hit his fourth home run this season in 93 at-bats. Playing at Kansas the previous two seasons, he had three home runs in 406 at-bats.

"Tavian's a game hitter, if you know what I'm saying," Van Horn said. "He just has good at-bats.

"Batting practice, he doesn't hit the ball out of the park. You know he can, but he just works on things.

"I didn't recruit him to come in here and hit double-digit homers. I just wanted him to get on base and score runs."

Josenberger, batting .344, said hitting home runs hasn't been a focus.

"I'd say it's added strength, little bit of a swing adjustment I guess, just staying in my legs better,"Josenberger said. "Yeah, all of the above."

Arkansas freshman right-hander Gage Wood pitched two scoreless innings in relief of starter Ben Bybee. Wood didn't allow a hit and had 3 strikeouts with 1 walk on 22 pitches.

Bybee, a freshman right-hander, went two innings and allowed 3 runs, 3 hits and 3 walks with 1 strikeout. He was lifted with no outs in the third inning after giving up a walk and RBI double.

Van Horn said Bybee had trouble with his fastball command after the first inning.

"Then the third inning he tried to throw a couple of breaking balls, and he was leaving them up around chin high," Van Horn said. "We already had someone getting loose, and I told [pitching] Coach [Matt Hobbs], let's just get him.

"The first inning was really good, and then after that it was just OK. So I felt like it was time to go get the other guys, and those were the guys we were wanting to throw tonight anyway."

Junior right-hander Ben McLaughlin, a transfer from Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College who was signed as an infielder, made his Arkansas pitching debut and retired the Mavericks (7-11) in order in the fifth inning on 11 pitches. He had two strikeouts.

It was the first pitching appearance for McLaughlin since 2021.

Van Horn said McLaughlin will still play third base and hit, but also will get some work on the mound.

"I thought he did a great job for his first time out," Van Horn said. "He threw a lot of strikes and he wasn't throwing the ball down the middle. He was throwing it on the corners."

Arkansas also got scoreless innings from freshman right-hander Christian Foutch and freshman left-hander Parker Coil.

UNO was held to three hits and didn't have any the final five innings.

Razorbacks designated hitter Kendall Diggs went 3 for 3 with 3 runs and 2 RBI. Right fielder Jace Bohrofen was 2 for 3 with 3 RBI.

The Razorbacks took a 6-2 lead in the second inning when they scored five runs without an RBI hit as Josenberger, Diggs and Jared Wegner drew consecutive bases-loaded walks against Wyatt Sellers and Bohrofen was hit by a pitch by Kai Reum.

Arkansas bounced back after getting swept in a doubleheader at No. 1 LSU last Saturday when the Tigers won 14-5 and 12-2. The Razorbacks took the series opener 9-3 over LSU in 10 innings.

"Really just good to get out here and play after that doubleheader on Saturday," Van Horn said. "I gave them Sunday off, and yesterday [Monday] we had some voluntary work and pretty much everybody showed up. That was good to see.

"I thought they came out with a great attitude."

The Razorbacks had 14 hits and drew nine walks.

"On the offensive end, what I like from our team is that we didn't go out of the zone much," Van Horn said. "We didn't chase, and it set up some big innings for us.

"When they did throw it over the plate, we hit it pretty good."

Especially Josenberger.


Print Headline: Heavy-hitting Hogs

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