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Smith's steady start helps No. 8 Arkansas to season-opening win over Texas

Sophomore pitcher Hagen Smith picked up eight strikeouts and allowed one hit in five shutout innings to fuel the Razorbacks to victory in the season opener.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Sophomore pitcher Hagen Smith and the eighth-ranked University of Arkansas baseball team picked up right where they left off on the mound last season with a 3-2 victory over Texas Friday night at the College Baseball Showdown in Arlington, Texas.

The Razorback pitching staff set a school record with 647 strikeouts in 2022, and Smith illustrated how prolific they could be this year— tossing five shutout innings with eight strikeouts, one hit and two walks.

Junior pitcher Cody Adcock, graduate pitcher Koty Frank and sophomore pitcher Brady Tygart also made appearances on the mound for Arkansas and combined for five strikeouts with two runs on three hits over four innings of work.

Arkansas's pitching staff as a unit finished with 13 strikeouts, allowing five hits and two walks.

After giving up a leadoff single to center field to start the bottom of the first, Smith settled in and set the tone for Arkansas, retiring the next 10 batters including striking out the side in the fourth inning.

Smith capped his season-opening start with back-to-back strikeouts in the bottom of the fifth with two runners in scoring position to preserve a scoreless ballgame.

The Razorbacks broke through in the seventh inning with three runs on four hits.

Senior infielder Brady Slavens and graduate outfielder Jared Wegner picked up a pair of singles to start the inning for Arkansas and junior outfielder Jace Bohrofen drew a walk to load the bases with zero outs.

That's when sophomore utility Kendall Diggs stepped to the plate and delivered a two RBI single into left field off of Texas junior pitcher Chris Stuart to give the Razorbacks a 2-0 lead.

Graduate infielder John Bolton then drove a pitch down the left-field line for an RBI single to put Arkansas ahead 3-0 in front of an announced crowd of 15,721 people at Globe Life Field.

The Longhorns quickly responded in the bottom of the seventh inning with a leadoff home run by redshirt junior outfielder Porter Brown off a pitch from Adcock to make Arkansas's lead 3-1.

A few batters later, Texas crept closer as junior catcher Garret Guillemette scored after a wild pitch by Frank, cutting the Razorbacks' advantage to 3-2.

Arkansas's bullpen held strong to secure the victory as Tygart trotted to the mound in the bottom of the eighth inning and picked up the five-out save.

Tygart didn't allow a hit over 1.2 innings and finished with three strikeouts and zero walks.

The Razorbacks' tallied eight hits with Slavens and Bolton both finishing 2-for-4. Junior outfielder Tavian Josenberger, Wegner, Bohrofen and Diggs all recorded one hit.

Texas redshirt sophomore pitcher Lebarron Johnson received the loss after allowing two runs on three hits with one walk over one inning of work.

Adcock was credited with the win for Arkansas. He pitched one inning and allowed two runs on two hits with two strikeouts.

The Razorbacks return to action on Saturday against No. 15 TCU. Coverage from Globe Life Field begins at 7 p.m. Central on FloBaseball.

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