Live Blog Game 1: Stovall returns as Arkansas downs McNeese St 3-1 in opener of twinbill

BY DUDLEY E. DAWSON

Arkansas will play its first doubleheader of the season on Saturday as it opens a three-game series visiting McNeese State and welcomes a key cog back from injury.

Peyton Stovall, who suffered a broken foot in the preseason is back a and is the designated hitter in game one for the The Razorbcksn (10-2), who have won six straight while the Cowboys (8-5) has won four in a row and eight of their last nine contests.

The twinbill, both set for nine innings although the run rule is in play, will get underway at noon.

Hagen Smith (1-0, 2.77 ERA) and Brady Tygart (2-0, 1.22) are slated to be the starting pitchers for Arkansas.

The have teamed with Mason Molina (2-0, 1.92) to form a formidable weekend trio.

McNeese State is throwing ace Cameron Lejune (2-0, 0.63).

Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn warns that his offense can’t let up.

“…It can help you a lot, it can hurt you a little bit,” Van Horn said of the pitching. “What do I mean by that? When your starters are throwing that well, confidence should be through the roof — hey, we’re going to be in every game, we’re going to have a chance to win every game.

“But on the other hand, sometimes they relax a little bit. You know, you’ve got a guy on the mound and he’s hard to score on — we’ve got to go up there like we’re down a run or two. We need to take that mentality a little bit, and I think we’re getting there.

“Offensively, it’s like it’s here, it’s there, those three guys aren’t hitting… We haven’t had really a hot lineup, you know, yet. Like I said yesterday, if it takes another seven or eight days for that to happen, I’m fine with it. We just need to get it rocking before we start conference.”

Arkansas opens conference play next weekend by hosting Missouri.

McNeese State swept both New Mexico State and Prairie View before beating  Louisiana Christian 6-5 on Wednesday night in the 10th inning for its first road win of season.

The Cowboys’ attack is powered by Connor Westenburg, who is hitting .377 with a 10-game hitting streak and has 5 HRs, 15 RBIs and 8 doubles

Braden Duhon (.388) Chase Keaton (.340) and Easton Dowell (.429, 5 HRs, 19 RBIs) are also all hitting over .300.

McNeese State was swept by Texas A&M 15-0, 6-1, 7-0 to start the season and then lost to University of Louisiana-Monroe 11-3 before righting the ship.

Photo by John D. James

McNeese State (8-5):

Connor Westenburg .364

Cooper Hext .250

Chase Kenton .333

Peyton Jejune .204

Simon Larranga .214

Braden Duhon .380

Easton Dowell .429

Grant Magnum .216

3B Gage Trahan .167

P Cameron Lejune (2-0, 0.63 ERA)

Arkansas (10-2)

LF Ross Lovitch .444

SS Wehiwa Aloy .212

RF Kendall Diggs .341

1B Ben McLaughlin . 364

3B Jared Sprague-Lott .405

DH Peyton Stovall (first game this season)

C Hudson White .214

2B Nolan Souza .312

CF Ty Wilmsmeyer .226

P Hagen Smith (1-0, .277)

• • •

Top 1:

Westenburg K

Hext BB

Kenton BB

P. Lejune FC

Larranagra K

Bottom 1:

Lovitch BB

Aloy DP 5-4-3

Diggs 4-3

Top 2:

Duhon K

Dowell BB

Magnum K

Trahan K

Bottom 2:

McLaughlin 1B

JSL Sac Bunt 4-3

Stovall IF 1B in his first at bat of the season, McLaughlin to third

White DP 6-4-3

Top 3:

Westenburg K

Hext 5-3

Kenton K

Bottom 3:

Souza BB

Wilmsmeyer K

Lovich U-3

Aloy RBI single plates Souza (Arkansas 1, McNeese State 0)

Diggs Dp 6-4-3

Arkansas 1, McNeese State 0

Top 4:

P. Lejune K

Larranaga 1B

Duhon 5-3

Dowell K (Smith’s 9 K)

Arkansas 1, McNeese State 0 

Bottom 4:

McLaughlin 2B

JSL 5-3

Stovall 4-3

White RBI  scores McLaughlin (Arkansas 2-0)

Souza reaches on E-6

Wilmsmeyer K

Arkansas 2, McNeese State 0

Top 5:

Will McEntire P

Mangrum F-9

Trahan K

Westenburg 1B

Hext 1B, Westenburg to third

Kenton F-9

Arkansas 2, McNeese State 0

Bottom 5:

Lovitch 1B

Aloy K

Diggs K

McLaughlin U-3

Arkansas 2, McNeese State 0

Top 6:

P. Lejune 1B, to second on WP

Larranaga K

Duhon RBI single scores Lejune, Duhon out at second (Arkansas 2, McNeese State 1)

Magnum 5-3

Arkansas 2, McNeese State 1

Bottom 6

Lovitch 1B

Stovall P-4

White 2B

PH Holt RBI single (Arkansas 3, McNeese State 1)

PH Polk K

PH Edmunson F-9

Arkansas 3, McNeese State 1

Top 7:

P Jake Faherty

Trahan 1B

Westerburg K

Hext BB

Keaton BB 9 (loads bases with one out)

Gaeckle P

P. Lejune K

Larranaga 5-3

Arkansas 3, McNeese State 1

Bottom 7:

Aloy K

Diggs K

McLaughlin F-8

Arkansas 3, McNeese State 1

Top 8:

Duhon 4-3

Dowell E-4

PH Stroh K

Trahan P-4

Arkansas 3, McNeese State 1

Bottom 8:

JSL K

Stovall K

White 4-3


Arkansas 3, McNeese State 1

Top 9:

Gaeckle P looking to complete save

Westenburg 1B

Hext 4-3 – Westenburg to second

Keaton K

P. Legune F-9

Arkansas 3, McNeese State 1

WP: Hagen Smith (2-0)

S: Gabe Gaeckle (3)

The second game is slated for a 3:30 p.m. start

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