Hogs' Will McEntire Reason for Win to Start Regional
By Andy Hodges,2023-06-03
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas' bat figured out Santa Clara finally, but Will McEntire saved the day in the first game of the Fayetteville Regional in a 13-6 win Friday night in front of a packed Baum-Walker crowd.
It just took a little longer than anyone was really completely comfortable with. The Broncos jumped all over starter Hunter Hollan and a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning. By the third inning, Razorbacks coach Dave Van Horn had seen enough and turned to McEntire, as he's done with success recently.
"We wouldn’t have won if (McEntire) hadn’t come in there," Van Horn said later. "He did a great job and has done a great job the second half of the season when we started using him out of the pen more. He’s been the guy."
He turned out Santa Clara's confidence. The bats finally caught up in the fourth inning when the Broncos' reliever Skylar Hales walked Caleb Cali and a one-out single by Jared Wegner set up Parker Rowland to drive in a run with a single. John Bolton delivered a sacrifice fly to center that scored another run.
With two outs, Tavian Josenberger delivered a single and Hales walked Peyton Holt to load the bases and Kendall Diggs delivered a three-RBI single for a 5-2 lead. McEntire usually handles those pretty well.
"Every time he comes up in a situation like that, it seems like he kind of comes through," Josenberger said later. "It wasn’t a big surprise . "
Josenberger has also delivered some timely hits, especially at the right times since coming back from a strained hamstring toward the end of the season .
"We haven’t really struggled, but just haven’t put up double-digit runs in a while," he said later. "Right now is the perfect time to get hot. So we just need to keep going . "
He kept things going Friday afternoon in the sixth with a two-RBI homer in another five-run inning for a 10-3 lead. At that point, all the Hogs was hang on for the win and Cody Adcock came out of the bullpen for the final 1 . 2 innings . Cali's three-run homer in the seventh gave the Hogs more than enough runs.
"Our guys didn’t flinch, kind of got punched, took it, hung in there and got some big hits," Van Horn said .
Now he'll turn to his ace. Left-hander Hagen Smith will get the start in tomorrow night’s contest. The true sophomore, recently named a First Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball, is 8-1 with a 2.69 ERA and 102 strikeouts over 67 innings this season .
Now they play TCU, who boat-raced Arizona in the second game, 12-4, and now that will be an interesting matchup Saturday night at 8 p.m .
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