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Beyond the box: Examining Arkansas’ numbers after set with James Madison

Perfect should not be the enemy of good.

The Arkansas baseball team should be feeling plenty good after their season-opening series against James Madison.

The Diamond Hogs, who moved up to No. 2 in the country in the D1Baseball poll earlier on Monday, beat James Madison 4-0 in the series finale to take the set three games to one.

On the whole, it was solid. Arkansas hit .310 as a team in the series and limited James Madison to .203. The top of the Diamond Hogs’ lineup provided plenty of punch and the bottom-half didn’t look out of sorts, either. Razorbacks pitchers, mostly, looked worthy of the ‘best staff in the country’ some have labeled upon them.

Arkansas’ real test comes this upcoming weekend in a three-game series in Arlington, Texas. None of the opponents are repeats and the Diamond Hogs will open Friday against No. 7 Oregon State.

But based off numbers, Arkansas should leave the Lone Star State with more wins than losses.

Let’s take a look at some of those numbers and what they meant against the Bulldogs.

Finding a leftfielder

Wil Edmunson, Jayson Jones and Ross Lovich split time in leftfield for the Diamond Hogs against James Madison. None of the three took the job and ran with it.

Jones, the only player among the three who was on the team last year, started two games, but went 1 for 7 at the plate with two strikeouts. Lovich, who hit .306 in 26 starts for Missouri last year, went 1 for 3 with a walk. And Edmunson, a transfer from Hutchinson Community College, finished the weekend 1 for 5, though he was hit by a pitch and ultimately scored three runs while adding a stolen base.

Three Big Sticks

Van Horn had a good idea who his three best hitters this season would be entering the series. It was borne out.

The trio of Kendall Diggs, Ben McLaughlin and Hudson White raked for the Diamond Hogs. Among them, they picked up 16 hits and walked an astonishing 13 times against the Bulldogs. They also combined for eight of the team’s 11 extra-base hits on the weekend, scoring 10 runs and knocking in another nine.

Smith’s status

Hagen Smith, Arkansas’ ace left-hander, didn’t have an ideal weekend. Van Horn allowed him to pitch just one inning in the opener after Smith allowed three runs on two walks and a hit.

On the short list for the Golden Spikes Award, Smith simply didn’t have his feel against James Madison. Van Horn said he isn’t worried.

“Hagen knows how to pitch. He’s fine.”

Story originally appeared on Razorbacks Wire