When Arkansas’ fall baseball workouts got underway a little over a month ago, Tavian Josenberger’s quest for an every day role was slowed by an injury.
But the switch-hitting Kansas transfer quickly made an impression once he got healed and continue that on Thursday at Baum-Walker Stadium against some current professional prospects.
Josenberger’s three-run homer was the big blast in a four-run fourth inning that jumpstarted Arkansas to an eventual 8-4 win over the Texas Rangers Instructional League squad.
The Razorbacks, who took two exhibition games in two days from the Rangers prospects, fell behind 3-0 after two innings.
But Josenbeger’s home run tied the game and Creighton transfer Jared Wegner had an RBI single later in the inning to give Arkansas a 4-3 lead it would not relinquish.
“I have been working on it a little bit, but I wouldn’t say I got up there trying to hit the ball out of the ballpark,” Josenberger said. “Today, the win was blowing out and I just poked one over there and let the wind work for me.”
Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn has been impressed with Josenberger.
“In his first week of fall, he was recovering from an injury and since then he has been really good at the top of the order since the day he got back in the line up and that’s good to see,” Van Horn said. “He is little bit of an emotional leader for us, too, I can tell the kids gravitate to him, respect him and he is into it and we need a little bit of that.”
Josenberger played 52 games at second last season as a sophomore for for the Jayhawks, batting .276 with two home runs, 23 RBIs and being named an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection.
He batted leadoff in 44 of those games, scoring 23 runs and having a 23-game on-base streak.
But he decided to make a move and quickly locked in on Arkansas.
“I wanted to be in a winning atmosphere, a winning culture and that’s about it,” Josenberger said. “The coach welcomed me.”
Van Horn told Josenberger, whose walk up song is Steely Dan’s’ “Josie”, that he would give him a shot to earn a spot.
“I really didn’t care,” Josenberger said. “He told me if I was the best center fielder that I would play there and if I was the best second baseman, I would play second base. I kind of had the idea that I was coming here to play outfield, but I really just wanted to get on the field so wherever I am needed I will play.”
Josenberger, ehow is fascinated by the Arkansas baseball fan base.
“Looking up in the stands and you see four of five thousand (fans) on a regular scrimmage on a Wednesday and Thursday night, it’s fun to see and makes you want to play hard for them.”
Arkansas outhit Texas 9-4 on Thursday with catcher Parker Rowland going 2 of 3 and Reese Robinett’s two-run homer capping the scoring.
Peyton Stovall, Tyson Fourkiller, Jace Bohrofen and Mason Neville all singled.
Hagen Smith allowed run in one innings and was followed to the mound by Nick Griffin, Austin Ledbetter, Koty Frank, Parker Coil, Will McEntire and Dylan Carter.
He is one of 28 new faces on the Arkansas roster.
“It’s been really good and I have been coming out here every day and just trying to compete every day,” Josenbeger said. “It’s very competitive and you have got to fight for a spot.
“We are bonding pretty well and I think it is going to be fun this year.”
Arkansas will have a best two of three Fall World Series next week with games slate for Monday and Tuesday at 1 p.m. and Thursday at 1 p.m. if needed.
Photo courtesy of Arkansas