Another record for Smith | Arkansas Democrat Gazette (2024)

FAYETTEVILLE -- University of Arkansas pitcher Hagen Smith added another in his records chase Saturday.

With his strikeout of Kansas State second baseman Brady Day in the second inning of Saturday's winners bracket game at Baum-Walker Stadium, Smith collected his 156th strikeout of the season, surpassing David Walling's 25-year-old UA single-season record.

Smith tied Walling by striking out Kansas State leadoff hitter Brendan Jones in the first inning after falling behind 2-0.

Walling's record came in 121 1/3 innings. Smith surpassed him in his 81st inning of the season.

The junior from Bullard, Texas, entered the game leading the nation with 17.54 strikeouts per nine innings, just ahead of Wake Forest's Chase Burns (17.43).

Smith surpassed Nick Schmidt's UA record of 345 career strikeouts in his start at Texas A&M on May 16 and entered Saturday's game with 353 in his third season with the Razorbacks.

Run rules

Arkansas and Kansas State entered the NCAA Tournament ranked 60th and 64th, respectively, in scoring average among the 64 teams in the field.

Those teams finished the opening round with two of the top three highest run totals among the 32 games.

Kansas State's production in a 19-4 win over Louisiana Tech tied Oklahoma State, a 19-7 winner over Niagara, for the top run total in the opening round. Arkansas had the third-highest run count with its 17-9 win over Southeast Missouri State.

Only 12 of the 64 teams reached double-figure runs in the opening round, including both teams in Cal-Irvine's 13-12 win over Nicholls State.

The Razorbacks were averaging 6.58 runs per game entering the tournament and the Wildcats were averaging 6.30 runs per game.

BBQ scouting

Southeast Missouri State Coach Andy Sawyers said he planned to scout Saturday night's Arkansas-Kansas State game by watching it on his computer.

"I'm going to lay down on my bed in the hotel room with a plate of barbecue on my stomach and I'm going to watch it on ESPN-Plus," Sawyers said. "That's how I'm scouting that game."

The Redhawks, who eliminated Louisiana Tech 9-3 earlier Saturday, will face the loser of the Arkansas-Kansas State game Sunday.

DH move

Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn pulled a mild surprise by calling on Jack Wagner for the designated hitter spot Saturday against Kansas State.

The right-handed hitting Wagner had 13 starts in the regular season, none since he went 1 for 4 in a start at first base for a 12-7 win over Missouri State on April 30. The senior transfer from Tarleton State entered the game hitting .267 with 3 home runs and 6 RBI.

Freshmen Ryder Helfrick and Nolan Souza had combined for 13 of the past 15 games at designated hitter since Wagner last started in that role in a 6-5 win over Florida on April 27.

Hagen, nah

Kansas State Coach Pete Hughes said he didn't want to think about Arkansas ace Hagen Smith in the immediate aftermath of his team's twice-delayed 19-4 win over Louisiana Tech that ended just after noon Saturday, about 16 hours after it started.

"Yeah, enough study on him," Hughes said, raising his hand in a warding-off motion.

The Wildcats were just about to head back to their hotel for rest and recovery before facing Smith and the Razorbacks in the 8 p.m. winners bracket game.

"I'm in a good mood right now," Hughes said. "If I deep dive on Hagen Smith right now, that's going to disappear right quick."

But Hughes did provide a tight account of the Hogs' ace left-hander.

"As good as it gets in college baseball," he said. "As dominating as it gets in college baseball, and the numbers reflect that. Awesome challenge for our guys."

Tough weekend

Conference-USA champion Louisiana Tech (45-19) had a tough time as the No. 2 seed at the NCAA Fayetteville Regional, falling 19-4 to Kansas State and 9-3 to Southeast Missouri State on Saturday to be the first team eliminated.

"The last two games are not indicative of who we are," Bulldogs Coach Lane Burroughs said as he fought back tears. "We did not play good.

"I'm taking nothing away from Kansas State and SEMO. They are phenomenal baseball teams. They're well-coached, they're really good.

"We don't make excuses. But we ran out of gas, man, and this time of year you can't do that. You've got to be going full speed."

In addition to Saturday's quick turnaround, the Bulldogs played six games in their conference tournament last week, including a 17-10 loss to Dallas Baptist in the title game.

Grand plan

Josh Cameron hit Southeast Missouri State's sixth grand slam of the season with a drive over the 400-foot sign in center field that gave the Redhawks a 9-1 lead in the fourth inning against Louisiana Tech.

Cameron hit his first grand slam in two seasons with the Redhawks. The senior right fielder has 7 RBI in two games at the regional as he hit a three-run home run against Arkansas on Friday.

Hot 'pepper'

Kansas State shortstop Kaelen Culpepper needed to hit a home run to complete a cycle in his final at-bat in the eighth inning against Louisiana Tech. The junior delivered a two-run homer to center field to cap off his 4 for 5 performance with 4 runs scored and 4 runs driven in.

Culpepper said in an interview with ESPN2 he didn't know he had completed the cycle until he got back into the dugout, likely because his single and triple were Friday night and his double and homer Saturday after the resumption of a suspended game.

It represented the first cycle of his career for Culpepper, a 6-0, 190-pounder from Memphis.

"That was awesome," Kansas State Coach Pete Hughes said. "I didn't even know that's what that last at-bat meant. There's no other kid in our program that deserves to have the successes he's had today and moving forward. That was a fun moment to be part of."

Culpepper opened the game Friday night with a hit by pitch and a run in the first inning. He hit a triple to right field and scored in the second inning, and struck out in the fourth prior to the overnight suspension.

He singled and scored in the sixth inning, doubled in a run in the seventh and homered in the eighth.

Small and large

Kansas State's reputation as a "small ball" team with bunts, aggressive base-running and putting runners in motion was on full display in its regional opener but the Wildcats also flexed their power in their 19-4 rout of Louisiana Tech.

The Wildcats, who ranked 10th nationally in steals entering the tournament, registered five stolen bases, two by Nick English, and their style put pressure on the Bulldogs.

Kaelen Culpepper broke for third base in the sixth inning, surprising pitcher Grant Hubka before he started his windup. Hubka had a shot at Culpepper at third base but he threw wildly, allowing Culpepper to trot home with one of his four runs.

Baum bombs

All three of Louisiana Tech catcher Karson Evans' career home runs have come at Baum-Walker Stadium.

The sophom*ore launched a two-run homer and a three-run shot in losses by the scores of 7-4 and 15-6 at Arkansas last season and he had a solo shot on Saturday against Southeast Missouri State.

Many delays

The regional opener between 2 seed Louisiana Tech and 3 seed Kansas State was plagued by delays before the Wildcats prevailed 19-4 in a game that spanned two days and three delays.

First pitch was pushed back more than an hour on Thursday to 8:06 p.m due to inclement weather in the area.

With the Wildcats leading 9-4 in the sixth inning, lightning was detected nearby and the game was put on delay just after 10 a.m. and an hour later it was officially suspended for the night.

Exactly 13 hours after the delay began, play resumed at 11:01 a.m. Not long into the resumption, Kansas State's Kaelen Culpepper slid hard into third on a stolen base, displacing the bag. That caused another delay for a member of the grounds crew to come re-anchor the base.

Extra innings

* Arkansas used its 55th different lineup in its 59th game of the season against Kansas State.

* Arkansas OF Peyton Holt was back in the lineup after leaving Friday's game with cramping issues in his legs.

* The No. 3 seeds went 11-5 in the opening round, including Kansas State's 19-4 win over Louisiana Tech.

* The No. 1 regional seeds went 14-2 in the opening round, with 16 national seed East Carolina falling 4-1 to Evansville and 13 seed Arizona losing 9-4 to Grand Canyon.

* SEC teams went 9-2 in the opening round, the only losses being suffered by Alabama in an 8-7 setback to Central Florida and Vanderbilt in 13-3 loss to Coastal Carolina.

Another record for Smith | Arkansas Democrat Gazette (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kareem Mueller DO

Last Updated:

Views: 6416

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (66 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kareem Mueller DO

Birthday: 1997-01-04

Address: Apt. 156 12935 Runolfsdottir Mission, Greenfort, MN 74384-6749

Phone: +16704982844747

Job: Corporate Administration Planner

Hobby: Mountain biking, Jewelry making, Stone skipping, Lacemaking, Knife making, Scrapbooking, Letterboxing

Introduction: My name is Kareem Mueller DO, I am a vivacious, super, thoughtful, excited, handsome, beautiful, combative person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.