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Stovall’s 5 hits power Arkansas past Missouri State to cap perfect mid-week season slate

BY DUDLEY E. DAWSON

FAYETTEVILLE – Wednesday was a great day to be named Peyton or Parker or be dubbed a good boy at Baum-Walker Stadium.

Peyton Stovall went 5-for-5, Peyton Holt homered and Parker Rowland stole his first career base, had two hits and crossed the plate three times as No. 2 Arkansas downed Missouri State 8-5.

The win for Razorbacks (39-7, 16-5) completed a two-game sweep of the Bears on back-to-back Bark in the Park days with 132 dogs joining the fans inside a place Arkansas is now 31-2 this season.

“I guess that we’ve done a great job of playing here,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “I think you take away the first weekend, maybe a game here and there, the weather’s been really good this year. Warmer than normal.

“We’ve won because we throw strikes and we field, and we’ve done it all year and every game just about. Then the fact that we’re home, familiar with our own ballpark, I think it’s why we’ve won so many games here this year.”

It also capped a perfect 12-0 mid-week slate for Arkansas after also downing the visitors 12-7 on Tuesday.

“They’ve done a great job of showing up in the middle of the week, maybe coming off a big series, getting ready to play another one,” Van Horn said. “You can say what you want, it’s just the way the mind works, a lot of times you’re not all there. You’re looking for the next one and maybe the one coming up.

“ We’ve done a good job of showing up and playing every day, and really this month, or I guess it was last month in April, where we’ve had now, what? Three five-game weeks in-a-row? We had one off in there, but just a lot of games.

“For them to come out and win Tuesday and then win again on a Wednesday, play good both days, it’s a real credit to them as a team and then individually showing up and getting it done.”

SEC Western Division-leading Arkansas (39-7, 16-5) will head to Eastern Division-leading and No. 8 Kentucky (33-9, 16-5) for a three-game series this weekend.

The SEC co-leaders will play Friday at 5:30 p.m. CST, Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at noon with all games on SEC Network +.

Stovall, who missed the first 15 games of the year with an injury, is now hitting a team-leading .350 with 7 homers and 31 RBIs.

He says Arkansas will go into that series with a level head.

““Just taking it game by game and not making it bigger than it is,” Stovall said. “Obviously, Kentucky is a really good team. They’ve played well all year. They’re just like every team in the country. They’re better at home.

“It’s going to be fun and we’re looking forward to it. Kind of like I just said, don’t try to make it bigger than it already is. Just take it pitch by pitch. I think we’ve done a great job at that this year and hopefully, we can continue to do that.”

The Razorbacks broke away from a 1-1 tie to put Wednesday’s game away with two runs in the fifth, a pair in the sixth and three in the eighth.

Ben Bybee started on the mound for Arkansas and went four scoreless innings while allowing two hits and fanning six.

“I thought our pitching staff did a really good job today,” Van Horn said. “Bybee came out and gave us three really good innings, and then another one. Got us in there in the fourth, and was getting his pitch count near 60. We’re about ready to go to the pen with Dylan (Carter), and he got a double-play ball, I think. I don’t know.

“I may be running my innings together. We’ve played so many games in the last three weeks, they’re kind of all running together.”

Carter (1-0) entered in the fifth and Missouri State designated hitter/third baseman and Bryant native Logan Chambers homered off his second pitch to tie it 1-1.

The Razorbacks took the lead back by scoring two runs in the bottom of the fifth despite their only hit being Stovall’s infield single.

Rowland walked, stoled second and raced home for a 2-1 edge on Stovall’s hit and an ensuing throwing error.

Kendall Diggs’ bases-loaded sacrifice fly plated Stovall to make it 3-1.

Holt homered leading off the bottom of the sixth before Rowland doubled and came home on Stovall’s fourth single of the contest for a 5-1 advantage.

Rowland has played a limited amount of games, but the catcher said he has stayed ready for the times when he has been in the lineup.

“I think you just have to have a good routine,” Rowlands said. “You have to show up to the park like you’re playing every single day. If you’re not, you’ve got to be the best teammate you can be.

“For me, it’s just about getting to the yard and just doing my work for that day. If I am in the lineup, great. If I am not, I’m there cheering on my guys and seeing what I can do to help them out.”

Van Horn praised Stovall.

“He had a couple of hits that were seeing-eye type of hits, and he hit a couple really hard,” Van Horn said. “He’s hit some balls hard that have been caught, and it’s good to see. I

“It’s good to see he got that fifth hit. Solid line drive to center, didn’t try to do too much. I don’t know. He’s got a good swing and when he gets good pitches and gets ahead in the count, he can hurt you a little bit.”

Chambers singled, went to third on Carter Bergman’s doubled and scored to make it 5-2 when Tyler Epstein singled off Frank, who pitched the final 2 2/3 innings for his fourth save of the season.

Arkansas answered right back when Nolan Souza’s two-run fly ball was lost in the sun in center field with Jared Sprague-Lott and Ben McLaughlin both racing home for an 7-2 lead.

Rowland’s sacrifice fly plated Wehiwa Aloy and capped the scoring for the Razorbacks, who out-hit the visitors 10-8.

After Stovall got his fifth single in the bottom of the eighth, Nick Rodriguez homered and Missouri State scored three times against Frank before the game ended.

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