After breaking out Wednesday in a 15-3 win over Omaha, the Razorback baseball team fell back into an offensive lull Friday, dropping the series opener 7-3 to the Southeastern Louisiana Lions.
Arkansas took the lead in the third inning on a two-out single by sophomore third baseman Cayden Wallace. Senior center fielder Zack Gregory doubled with one out and scored his team-leading ninth run of the season.
After taking a one-hopper to the face in the top of the third, senior right-handed pitcher Connor Noland looked unfazed through five innings, but trouble struck for the Greenwood native in his third time through the Lions’ batting order. He hit the leadoff batter in the sixth inning, and got the hook from head coach Dave Van Horn after a pair of singles, one of which put the Lions on the board.
The Hogs called on senior Kole Ramage, who has two saves of at least three innings to his name, to limit the damage, but the righty was ineffective. He faced three batters, the first of whom put the Lions on top. He walked the next two, one of which produced another run, and Van Horn went back to the bullpen.
Senior righty Issac Bracken did not help matters, hitting the first batter he faced for the fourth run of the inning, and walking another for the fifth. After ball one to the next hitter, Van Horn opted for the fourth Razorback pitcher of the frame.
Junior lefty Zack Morris surrendered a two-run single and hit another Southeastern Louisiana batter, but he was also able to record the third out. The seven-run inning was the first Arkansas allowed since March 19, 2021, when Alabama hung 10 runs on the Razorbacks.
The Hogs made some noise in the seventh inning, loading the bases just in time to flip the lineup. Senior shortstop Jalen Battles singled and advanced to third on a double by sophomore left fielder Jace Bohrofen, who broke an 0-17 start to his season. Gregory walked, giving freshman first baseman Peyton Stovall a chance to close the six-run gap with one out.
Stovall drew a walk to make it a 7-2 game and Wallace tacked on another run with a sacrifice fly, but the rally fell short.
Freshman right-handed pitcher Austin Ledbetter dazzled in his Razorback debut, tossing 2 2/3 shutout innings. Unfortunately for Arkansas, his performance did not lead to any more offensive momentum, and the Hogs suffered their third loss of the year.
The Razorbacks and Lions are scheduled for a doubleheader Saturday afternoon with the threat of inclement weather Sunday. The twin bill is set begin at noon, and the series finale will get underway about 45 minutes following the conclusion of the first game. Freshman lefty Hagen Smith and sophomore righty Jaxon Wiggins are the projected Arkansas starting pitchers.