Around the Horn

National accolades for Smith

Arkansas starter Colin Fisher delivers a pitch Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, during the first inning of the Razorbacks' win over Grambling State at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville. Visit nwaonline.com/photo for today's photo gallery..(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Andy Shupe)
Arkansas starter Colin Fisher delivers a pitch Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, during the first inning of the Razorbacks' win over Grambling State at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville. Visit nwaonline.com/photo for today's photo gallery..(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Andy Shupe)

FAYETTEVILLE -- University of Arkansas pitcher Hagen Smith racked up multiple national awards on Tuesday after his sterling performance in the Razorbacks' 5-4 win over No. 7 Oregon State on Friday at the College Baseball Series at Arlington, Texas.

The left-hander was named the national pitcher of the week by Perfect Game and the National College Baseball Writers Association.

Smith tied a school record with 17 strikeouts through six innings and notched his first 15 outs of the game by strikeout. Smith tied the record previously set by Jess Todd against South Carolina at the 2007 SEC Tournament.

Smith, a 6-3 junior from Bullard, Texas, had already been named SEC pitcher of the week by the league office Monday.

He dropped his earned-run average from 27.00 to 3.86 with the dominant showing after allowing three runs in one inning during a 6-4 win over James Madison in the Hogs' season-opener Feb. 16.

Tuna time

Freshman left-hander Colin Fisher, whose nickname is "Big Tuna," extended his stretch of scoreless innings to open the season to 8 1/3 with a strong start during Tuesday's 21-1 win Grambling State at Baum-Walker Stadium.

Fisher appeared in his third game, one behind Koty Frank, Will McEntire and Stone Hewlett for the team lead.

Fisher threw 12 pitches in a hitless first inning against the Tigers, walking one and striking out one before giving way to Parker Coil.

Polk power

Hudson Polk's first-inning grand slam, which came in his first at-bat of the season, broke a stretch of five consecutive games without a home run for the Razorbacks.

The five-game stretch had been the longest for Arkansas without a home run since 2014, when they had homerless streaks of nine games and five games.

Polk hit the home run just to the right of dead center field on the first strike he saw all season.

The grand slam broke a stretch of four solo home runs by the Razorbacks in 2024, all hit by newcomers: Jared Sprague-Lott, Hudson White, Ty Wilmsmeyer and Ryder Helfrick, all hit in the first two games.

Series update

Arkansas improved to 11-0 against Grambling State with its third run-rule game against the Tigers and its highest run total in the series.

Arkansas has outscored the Tigers 129-37 for an average score of 11.7 to 3.4. Ten of the games have been played in Fayetteville and the other was a 7-6 win in North Little Rock on April 10, 2018.

5-4-3 x 2

Arkansas third baseman Jared Sprague-Lott, who had a pair of errors in the past two games at Arlington, Texas, turned it around against Grambling State on Tuesday.

Sprague-Lott started a pair of 5-4-3 double plays, both on ground balls by Trevor Hatton, to end the second and fifth innings. Hatton hit a solo home run in the first inning against the Razorbacks last season when he drove in three runs in Arkansas' 9-7 win.

Catcher-go-round

Hudson Polk became the fourth Arkansas catcher to start a game this season against Grambling State on Tuesday, following Hudson White, Ryder Helfrick and Parker Rowland.

White has started 3, and Rowland and Helfrick have started two games apiece. White made his fourth start at designated hitter against the Tigers. Helfrick has also started a game at designated hitter.

Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn spoke in the preseason about how doling out playing time among the four catchers was going to be a good problem.

Double dealing

Jared Sprague-Lott smoked a line-drive double that was just over the glove of leaping Grambling State shortstop Jose Vargas that managed to get all the way to the wall in left-center field.

He came around to score on Hudson White's single for a 12-0 lead.

Sprague-Lott hit his fourth double of the season, tying White for the team lead.

Home run data

Hudson Polk's first inning grand slam had an exit velocity of 113 mph and traveled an estimated 421 feet to center field.

Jayson Jones hit a third-inning home run that traveled 400 feet and had an exit velocity of 110 mph, and his fifth-inning grand slam left the bat at 108 mph and was estimated at 425 feet over the left field wall.

Polk's home run was his first since a solo shot at Georgia last April 22.

Jones hit two home runs as a freshman last season, one against TCU in Arlington, Texas, on Feb. 18 and one against Wright State on March 4.

New blood

Two Arkansas pitchers made their season debuts Tuesday.

Sophomore right-hander Cooper Dossett of Springdale struck out all three batters he faced in the fourth inning. Right-hander Christian Foutch worked a scoreless fifth inning with one walk and one strikeout.

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