Arkansas hadn’t lost a baseball home opener since 1994 heading into Tuesday’s 2023 one – and it still hasn’t.

But it didn’t come easy as the Razorbacks had to rally from a 7-2 deficit with seven unanswered runs to down Grambling 9-7 before an announced crowd of 9,247 fans at Baum Walker Stadium.
Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn – whose team move to 3-1 with the win – thought the game have been fun for the fans, but caused him some consternation.

“Obviously a pretty entertaining game to watch I would imagine,” Van Horn said. “It was a little tough from our dugout. I thought Grambling came out and just swung the bat extremely well. They got I think three big two-out hits.”

The home opener came after Arkansas went 2-1 during a season-opening weekend at the College Baseball Showdown at the Texas Rangers Globe Life Stadium.

The Razorbacks went 2-1 with a 3-2 win over Texas on Friday night, an 18-6 loss to TCU on Saturday night and a 18-1 victory over Oklahoma State on Sunday afternoon.

The game with Grambling on Tuesday was the first of 18 straight Arkansas home games and slotted ahead of a three-game weekend series with Eastern Illinois starting Friday at 3 p.m.

“Just a good job hanging in there,” Van Horn said. “We were concerned about this game. A little bit of a trap game. Traveling back, getting back late, big tournament, lot of hoopla, big win on Sunday. 

“Yesterday we don’t have a team practice and you kind of just kind of think, ‘How is this going to go? A lot of new players.’ I thought offensively we did a pretty good job.”

Grambling head coach Davin Pierre felt like his team had a chance to pull off the upset despite SWAC tears being 0-29 all-time against Arkansas.

The Tigers outhit the Razorbacks 13-9 and jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the fourth and 7-2 in the fifth.

“We came here to win and we wanted to win this game and we wanted to show that we belonged on this type of stage,” Pierre said. “Obviously we don’t get the W for that but we wanted to be aggressive, we wanted to hit and run, we wanted to steal bases. We wanted to play our brand of baseball. We did that tonight, we just don’t have the win to show for it. 

“But I think our kids can lift their heads up high about it. It’s a tough one when you’ve got the big boys on the ropes and you can’t win it.”

The Tigers put those early runs up against Razorback starter Ben Bybee and veterans Zack Morris and Will McEntire.

During the time, Arkansas was trying to solve sixth-year Tigers’ soft-throwing lefty starter JaCorey Boudreaux, whose pitches fluctuated between 65 and 75 miles per hour.

Boudreaux went four innings and allowed four runs, three earned, on four hits, three strikeouts, a walks, a balk and a hit batter.

“This is some different type of pitching that we saw from that starter,” Van Horn said. “We’ve seen him before a little bit. We tried to work at it and train them for him today and a little bit yesterday. 

“But until you get up there and see that thing floating around, it’s difficult when you’re going from 95 mile an hour, 93-95 every pitch to 72-78, it was a little deception.”

Arkansas got to relievers Ethan Bates, Kendrick Bershell and Javier Martinez (0-1) as the game went along, scoring in every inning but the first two.

At the same time, Koty Frank and winning pitcher Brady Tygart (1-0) pitched scoreless baseball in the final 4 2/3 innings to allow their teammates to rally.

The pair fanned seven and allowed two hits and walking one during that time.

The Razorbacks tied it in the seventh inning on Jace Bohrofen’s sacrifice fly and then scored two more in the eighth on sacrifice flys by Tavian Josenberger and Peyton Stovall that came after, a hit batter, a walk and a wild pitch.

Josenberger and Stovall had two hits each and Jared Wegner drove in a couple for Arkansas.

“I thought we did a really nice job of staying on some pitches. I think we might’ve had three sac-fly’s, advanced runners. We did some little things that helped us win the game.”