A rested Peyton Stovall is a powerful Peyton Stovall.

The Arkansas sophomore second baseman launched two home runs and  added a single, a walk and five RBIs to lead his Red team to a 12-2 rout of the Gray squad Friday at Baum-Walker Stadium.
Jace Bohrofen and  Caleb Cali also homered and Tavian Josenberger added three hits for the winners in the seven-inning scrimmage that also served as the program’s first practice of 2023.

Stovall, who hit .295 with 6 home runs and 31 RBIs while starting 51 games as a freshman, and his teammates got the chance to go home over the Christmas break and refresh.

“I think that was huge for me,” Stovall said. “I took about a week-and-a-half off when I got back home and I really needed that after going from all the way into Omaha, straight to the Cape (Cod summer league) and then coming back and jumping right into fall ball. 

“I needed it, man. That week-and-a-half really helped, just being able to be home with my family after not seeing them for awhile.

“That really helped me and by the time it was the end of the break, I was able to come back up here and get after it.”

The scrimmage came exactly three weeks ahead of Arkansas opening its season Feb. 17-19  in the College Baseball Showdown in Arlington, Texas.

The Razorbacks will play Texas on Friday at 7 p.m, TCU on Saturday at 7 and Oklahoma State Sunday at 2 in the event held at the Texas Rangers Globe Life Stadium.

Stovall, whose bat caught fire as the Razorbacks got into the NCAA Tournament and College World Series, is returning to his natural and high school position of second base this season after starting 48 games at first base last season.

“I am excited,” Stovall said. “It is always fun to be able to play really, really elite competition. I think Oklahoma State is top 10, TCU is like Top 15 or something like that and Texas always has a really good ball club and the richness and everything they have had with the history of their program. 

“It is going to be fun and I am really looking forward to it. It is going to feel good and make us better.

Brady Slavens, who was injured and unable to go through fall practice, had two singles on Friday.

“I thought after not doing anything in the fall and not really seeing anything live, it was really impressive,” Stovall said. “It is not easy to do that, just jump into the box and look comfortable like that. I thought that he looked comfortable and the swing that he had over there in left field, if he stays like that, he is going to have a phenomenal year for us.”

Stovall, a left-handed hitter, went to the opposite field on his first homer, pulled his second blast and singled when he had chance for a third later.

“I don’t know if I had one to center today with that wind (coming in),” Stovall said. “But I was feeling good and it was great to be back out there.”

Sophomore Hagen Smith and junior college transfer Hunter Hollan started the the game and both pitched two innings for the teams while combining to fan nine and allow no runs on just one hit – a wind-aided infield double. 

“Hagen and Hunter are two really good dudes for us and they are going to be guys that have a lot of innings for us,” Stovall said. “They pitched the way that they are supposed to. They gave us a really good look.”

The Red team looked to consist of mostly likely starters.

Kendall Diggs had an infield single and Jayson Jones a bases-loaded walk that plated the Gray team’s runs.

“This the first time that we have been out here, scrimmaging and seeing live pitching, on the field and taking real reps and stuff like that,” Stovall said.

“All in all, I thought it was a really good scrimmage and I am excited to play with these guys.”

Photo by John D. James