FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (arkansasrazorbacks.com)– No. 9 Arkansas (3-1) overcame a five-run deficit and survived a scare against SWAC foe Grambling (1-3), pulling out a 9-7 win on Tuesday afternoon in a rare midweek home opener at Baum-Walker Stadium.
Playing at home for the first time in 282 days, the Razorbacks came out flat. Grambling scored two in the first, one in the third and three more in the fourth, cracking open a 6-1 lead before Arkansas could begin to find its rhythm offensively.
The Hogs showed signs of life in the bottom of the fourth, thanks to leadoff single by Kendall Diggs. Diggs advanced to second on a wild pitch before Jace Bohrofen’s double to right center brought him home, and Bohrofen would later score on Parker Rowland’s groundout as Arkansas started to trim its deficit.
Trailing by four in the fifth, the Razorbacks scored runs on reigning SEC Player of the Week Jared Wegner’s RBI single and Brady Slavens’ RBI double to make it a two-run game. Tavian Josenberger, who went 2-for-2 with two runs scored, two runs batted in and two walks, kept the pressure on in the sixth with his RBI double to cut the gap to one.
The Hogs would even the ballgame at seven apiece in the bottom of the seventh, when Bohrofen’s sacrifice fly to center brought home Wegner from third. The hard-earned comeback was completed in the eighth with Josenberger’s go-ahead RBI sacrifice fly followed by Stovall’s RBI sacrifice fly, putting Arkansas up, 9-7, for good.
Arkansas totaled four sacrifice flies, their most since recording four against Mississippi Valley State in a 20-0 win on Feb. 24, 2016. Wegner, Bohrofen, Josenberger and Stovall each picked up an RBI sacrifice fly in Tuesday’s victory.
On the mound, right-handers Koty Frank (2.2 IP, 3 SO) and Brady Tygart (2.0 IP, 4 SO) worked together to pitch the final 4.2 innings of the game. The duo silenced Grambling, limiting the Tigers to just two hits while combining for seven strikeouts as Tygart earned his first win of the season.
Their strong performances out of the bullpen were a stark contrast from the work of the Razorbacks’ first three pitchers of the game, who combined to allow seven runs on 11 hits and four walks.
The Hogs, who had not played a midweek home opener since 2003, are now 2-0 in such games under Dave Van Horn. That season, Arkansas hosted Creighton on a Tuesday (Feb. 11, 2003) at what was formerly known as Baum Stadium and defeated the Bluejays, 9-5, in Van Horn’s first game as the Razorback head coach.
Arkansas’ 18-game homestand continues with a three-game set against Eastern Illinois in the first home weekend series of the season. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, on SEC Network+.