FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas head baseball coach Dave Van Horn suggested Wednesday that Creighton transfer outfielder Jared Wegner would likely be a middle of the order bat for the Razorbacks this season.
Wegner showed a glimpse of why on Thursday when he bombed a three-run blast and new teammate Peyton Stovall a grand slam in their Gray team’s 8-4 intrasquad scrimmage win in six innings over the Red at Baum-Walker Stadium.
“That was a fastball,” Wegner said of his third-inning homer. “I was just shrinking the zone because he was having a little trouble locating and I got one right in the middle.”
Stovall had the decisive blow with a grand slam off freshman pitcher Gage Wood in the bottom of the fifth after the rookie hurler had walked the bases full.
Wegner hit .348, had 11 home runs and 53 RBIs and also 11 stolen bases last season for the Blue Jays.
“It feels really good,” Wegner said. “I spent some time off and it is exciting to be down here.”
Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn and his staff went after Wegner as soon as he got into the NCAA Transfer Portal.
“I think it is the coaching staff,” Wegner said. “Van Horn, I like how he runs his program. They are always competing and they are always in Omaha and that’s what I was looking for.”
Creighton played its home games at Charles Swab Field, where the College World Series is held.
Wegner laughed when asked if he was happy to be playing his home games now in a less cavernous facility.
“Yes,” Wegner said. “It is a little bit different. I enjoyed it, but it is nice to be in a little more ball park that is hitter friendly. It’s great.”
Will McEntire started for Gray team and was followed to the mound by Jackson Wiggins, Hunter Hollan, Jake Faherty and Nick Griffin.
Hagen Smith opened for the Red while Koty Frank, Matthew Magre, Cody Adcock, Wood and Christian Foutch also hurled for the Red.
Kendall Diggs’ first-inning homer off starter McEntire gave the Red a 1-0 lead.
It stayed that way until the third inning when Cal Kilgore walked and Hunter Grimes doubled him home to tie it against reliever Magre.
Stovall walked and then Wegner unloaded to put his team up 4-1.
The Red rallied to tie it 4-4 with three runs in the fourth, two off a triple by celebrated freshman Mason Neville after xxxx Cali walked and Issac Holt doubled.
Neville, who raced home on a wild pitch, was taken by the Cincinnati Reds in the 19th round of the 2022 MLB draft, but chose to come to Arkansas instead.
“I was hunting fastballs, got a couple of them today,” Neville said. “I saw some good stuff. The arms are phenomenal. It is just about coming out here and working.”
Van Horn mentioned Wegner haw been hitting the ball the best in the early weeks of practice.
“I think coming in, honestly confidence walking in,” Wegner said. “You move conferences and you are little nervous who the personal is going to be, especially with all the new guys. The first day I hit well and from there I just kept it going.”
The Razorbacks will scrimmage again on Friday at 3:30 with the event open and free to the public.
Cali had his hit and two walks, freshman Jayson Jones a double and Ben McLaughlin a single.
“It’s interesting and we are all trying to learn each other,” Wegner said. “Everyone is coming from somewhere else it seems like. I bet we have like 12 juco guys.”
Photo by John D. James