How to Watch, Scouting Report: Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Vanderbilt Commodores 2022
{{ timeAgo('2022-05-13 10:11:19 -0500') }} baseball Edit

How to Watch, Scouting Report: Diamond Hogs vs. Vanderbilt

Enrique Bradfield Jr. is a dangerous weapon for Vanderbilt.
Enrique Bradfield Jr. is a dangerous weapon for Vanderbilt. (Vanderbilt athletics)

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Arkansas returns home for its penultimate SEC series of the season. Here's everything you need to know ahead of the three games against Vanderbilt...

Schedule, How to Watch

Friday, May 13 — 6:30 p.m. (SECN+)

Saturday, May 14 — 6:30 p.m. (SECN+)

Sunday, May 15 — 2 p.m. (SECN+)

Weather Report

Fayetteville, Ark. (Baum-Walker Stadium)
Day Weather / high temp. / chance of precipitation / winds

FRI

Mostly cloudy / 87 degrees / 15% / SSW 8 mph

SAT

Partly cloudy / 86 degrees / 21% / NNE 6 mph

SUN

Mostly sunny / 89 degrees / 24% / S 10 mph

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Weekend Rotation

Starting Rotations
Arkansas Game Vanderbilt

Sr. RHP Connor Noland (12 G/12 GS, 2.99 ERA, 81 K/21 BB, 72.1 IP)

FRI

Fr. LHP Devin Futrell (10 G/9 GS, 2.03 ERA, 55 K/6 BB, 48.2 IP)

Fr. LHP Hagen Smith (12 G/12 GS, 3.79 ERA, 65 K/31 BB, 61.2 IP)

SAT

Jr. RHP Chris McElvain (12 G/12 GS, 3.48 ERA, 79 K/32 BB, 64.2 IP)

So. RHP Jaxon Wiggins (12 G/12 GS, 5.40 ERA, 65 K/33 BB, 56.2 IP)

SUN

Fr. LHP Carter Holton (12 G/12 GS, 3.82 ERA, 81 K/23 BB, 61.1 IP)

Arkansas is coming off a weekend in which its starting rotation was inverted in terms of effectiveness.

Following his outing against Ole Miss that saw Noland give up the most runs but last the longest of any appearance in 2022, he had his shortest outing with four innings pitched. Only three of the five runs he allowed were earned, but Auburn tagged him for his second home run allowed this season and walked three times compared to four strikeouts.

Smith had his fourth consecutive outing without surrendering more than two earned runs, but it was his second start in a row allowing two solo jacks. He allowed only one hit other than the home runs but walked three Tigers and pegged two more in four innings.

Wiggins bounced back from two ineffective rubber match outings, giving one of his best efforts of 2022 in the crucial series-clinching win on Sunday. Giving up a lone earned run on a solo shot by Sonny DiChiara, the two unearned runs came on a bomb after an error in the first inning. The performance once again solidified his spot as the Sunday starter in the rotation.

Looking at the Commodores’ rotation, Chris McElvain and Carter Holton have been mainstays while the third spot has been filled by several other arms over the course of the season.

Freshman Devin Futrell will get the nod on Friday night. He’s been a midweek starter for the entirety of 2022, but head coach Tim Corbin tapped him to make his first career SEC appearance against the Hogs.

Futrell has statistically been the best pitcher on the Commodores’ staff, but that could be attributed to him being the midweek starter all season. He didn’t make his usual midweek appearance against Indiana State coming into the Arkansas series, tipping their hand that he’d start in Fayetteville.

Another lefty, he’s essentially the opposite of Holton. Standing at 6-foot-5, he sits in the upper-80s with his four-seam fastball, but might creep it up to 90 mph. His go-to pitch is a changeup that gets about 15 mph in speed differential with the heater. He’ll also mix in a curveball and slider that are very similar in pitch profile but are effective tertiary offerings.

His 2.03 ERA in 2022 is the best of any SEC hurler and .190 batting average allowed is sixth best. Possessing an incredible 55-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio, he’s adept at filling up the zone with all of his pitches.

McElvain is the veteran of the trio, making 28 appearances and one start in two seasons before this year.

A former middle infielder in high school, he makes up for his lack of plus size with an athletic delivery that shields the ball throughout his motion and five-pitch repertoire.

Starting with his four-seam fastball, he can get it up to 95 mph, but typically sits in the low-90s with late life and occasionally some cutting action. He pairs that with a heavy sinker that is a good ground-ball pitch.

McElvain rounds out the pitch mix with a slider, curveball and changeup. He goes to the slider the most frequently of the three, which is a subtle horizontal breaker in the mid-80s that tunnels well with the fastballs. The curveball is more of an 11-5 breaker with sharp downward action and could be an effective strikeout pitch on its own. His changeup is just gravy on an already elite repertoire.

Although he made only the one start before 2022, stamina is not a problem for the right-hander. He regularly gets his pitch count above 90 and has no problem getting deeper into starts. He’s allowed more than five hits just twice this season — a .184 batting average allowed is third best in the SEC — but free passes can be a problem for him, as he hasn’t handed out fewer than three in his last six outings.

Freshman Carter Holton had a lot of fanfare coming into Nashville, being ranked the top left left-handed pitcher of his class and No. 24 overall prospect, according to Perfect Game.

A very mature pitcher for his age, he gets surprising velocity with his sub-six-foot frame, running his fastball up to 94 mph. He can maintain that velocity deep into starts and manipulates the heater to tail on multiple planes.

His best pitch is a big, sweeping curveball that he dots on all corners or spikes into the dirt to get chases. He also possesses a slider that is only a few miles per hour faster and straighter than the bender but is an effective chase pitch in its own right. Although he doesn’t use the changeup as frequently, he has it in the bag to go to as needed.

He joins McElvain all over the SEC leaderboards, as his 81 strikeouts are tied with Noland for second most in the conference and .203 batting average allowed is eighth. He’s coming off back-to-back scoreless outings against Texas A&M and Georgia, but his strike rate has generally decreased in SEC play and walk rate has increased.

Christian Little is one of the main options for the Commodores to eat up innings out of the bullpen. A regular starter during his freshman season in 2021, he has been relegated to the stable for much of 2022. He made his first and only start of this year in Vanderbilt’s last series against Georgia, going a season high four innings and allowing a season high three runs on 70 pitches, which were also the most he’s thrown in 2022.

Standing on the mound with a physical 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame, he comes over the top in a high-effort delivery that is reminiscent of his former teammate Kumar Rocker. His fastball sits in the low- to mid-90s with great late life that has rising action. He mixes that with a very high spin rate downer curveball and an infrequently used changeup.

In what could be his most notable appearance of 2022, he threw the final two innings of a combined no-hitter with McElvain on April 22 at Kentucky. It was the Commodores’ first combined no-no since 2003 and first overall since Jack Leiter tossed one unassisted last year against South Carolina.

Thomas Schultz is the preferred closer for Corbin. His seven saves are tied with Brady Tygart for third most in the SEC and 16 games finished are also top three.

Outside of him, the Commodores feel comfortable with several options, as they don’t have a single pitcher in the top 15 for total relief appearances in the conference.

Two pitchers that have made starts in 2022 and can toss multi-inning appearances are right-handers Patrick Reilly and Nick Maldonado. Reilly has thrown by far the most innings of anyone out of the pen, tossing 43 frames with a 3.14 ERA and 60 strikeouts to 28 walks. Maldonado has thrown about half the innings, but his 3.47 ERA is solid.

Nelson Berkwich is the lefty the Hogs are most likely to see, as he’s made an appearance in nearly every SEC series. He has a nearly flawless 0.84 ERA, only allowing an earned run in one of 13 appearances this season. That run came last weekend against Georgia, who also put up three unearned on top of it.

Similar to Berkwich, Donye Evans has allowed runs in only one outing this year. He’s allowed five runs, all of which were earned and came in the Georgia series, as well.

Vanderbilt has plenty of arms to throw at the Hogs in a very effective staff that leads Arkansas in overall ERA by 0.08 on the season. Its staff narrowly edges out the Razorbacks’ in several team categories, including opposing batting average, strikeouts, hits allowed and walks allowed.

Fans who appreciate excellent pitching from a variety of arms and styles should find the series in Fayetteville this weekend to be quite entertaining as it’s two of the best in the nation squaring off.

Projected Starting Lineups

Projected Lineups
POS Arkansas Vanderbilt

C

S-Sr. Michael Turner (L/R)

.328/.404/.517, 6 HR, 35 RBI

So. Jack Bulger (R/R)

.283/.382/.377, 3 HR, 21 RBI

1B

Sr. Brady Slavens (L/R)

.259/.328/.548, 11 HR, 44 RBI

Sr. Dominic Keegan (R/R)

.392/.471/.682, 11 HR, 51 RBI

2B

Jr. Robert Moore (S/R)

.236/.374/.425, 5 HR, 36 RBI

Sr. Tate Kolwyck (R/R)

.269/.327/.455, 6 HR, 26 RBI

3B

So. Cayden Wallace (R/R)

.304/.398/.490, 6 HR, 39 RBI

Fr. Davis Diaz (R/R)

.239/.387/.338, 2 HR, 19 RBI

SS

Sr. Jalen Battles (R/R)

.275/.337/.455, 7 HR, 30 RBI

Jr. Carter Young (S/R)

.208/.339/.390, 6 HR, 23 RBI

LF

So. Jace Bohrofen (L/R)

.238/.333/.463, 3 HR, 14 RBI

So. Calvin Hewett (R/L)

.393/.513/.574, 3 HR, 13 RBI

CF

S-Sr. Braydon Webb (R/R)

.285/.417/.569, 12 HR, 32 RBI

So. Enrique Bradfield (L/L)

.297/.402/.495, 6 HR, 24 RBI

RF

S-Sr. Chris Lanzilli (R/R)

.314/.423/.471, 6 HR, 22 RBI

Jr. Spencer Jones (L/L)

.386/.475/.637, 7 HR, 41 RBI

DH

Fr. Kendall Diggs (L/R)

.250/.413/.458, 3 HR, 14 RBI

Sr. Javier Vaz (L/R)

.270/.373/.468, 4 HR, 25 RBI

(NOTE: Redshirt junior Zack Gregory and freshman Peyton Stovall could also make starts. Their slash lines are .260/.266/.479 and .263/.365/.372, respectively.)

Know the Foe

2022 Record: 32-15 (12-12 SEC)
Head Coach: Tim Corbin (20th season, 834-392-1 record)
Conference Standings: 3rd in SEC East, 7th in SEC overall

~The Commodores are coming off of one of their best seasons since the team started playing in 1886, as 49 wins were seventh-most by any Vanderbilt team. Reaching the College World Series finals, they took the first game of the series from Mississippi State and dropped the final two, finishing as the national runners-up for the second time in program history.

~Prior to his tenure in Nashville, Tenn., Tim Corbin was a head coach for Presbyterian and an assistant at Clemson before he became the 22nd head coach of the Vanderbilt baseball team. His .680 winning percentage is second best among its managers, trailing only T.W. Davis who coached the Commodores for the 1904 season. He holds a wide lead in all-time wins among Vanderbilt head coaches, though. Corbin’s predecessor, Roy Mewbourne, is second with 655 victories.

~During Corbin’s time with Vanderbilt, the Commodores have only finished below a .500 winning percentage in SEC play three times and have not done so since 2009. Coming into Fayetteville with a 12-12 conference record, they have a tough road to keep that streak alive as they host LSU at home in the following weekend.

~The Razorbacks and Commodores don’t have a rich history in baseball, even though the foes have shared a the same conference since 1991. In 16 all-time meetings, Arkansas holds a healthy lead over Vanderbilt with an 11-5 record. The last time the programs met was in the 2021 SEC Tournament, when the Hogs put up five runs on Kumar Rocker in 3 1/3 innings and took the victory 6-4.

~The Vanderbilt lineup as a whole hasn’t been superb in 2022, sitting in the middle of the pack in most SEC offensive categories. It is an excellent base running team, though, as its 70 stolen bases are best in the conference, leading Tennessee by five. When the Commodores attempt to swipe bags, they are among the most successful. Their 88.6% success rate trails only Kentucky for tops in the SEC. They also tend to move runners with sacrifice bunts, as 22 of those are most in the conference.

~Although the Commodores possess the best team fielding percentage during conference play, fielding at a .981 clip, their .979 fielding percentage over the course of the whole season is seventh. While opposing teams have had success swiping bags against them, as 39 stolen bases against is third most in the SEC, they have also thrown out 17, which is one more than Arkansas for best in the conference.

~Dominic Keegan poses the biggest individual threat to Arkansas pitchers in the Vanderbilt lineup. He leads the team in batting average, hits, home runs, RBIs, total bases, slugging percentage and OPS. Those numbers stand out among the SEC’s best, too, as his .392 batting average is second only to Auburn’s Sonny DiChiara for best in the conference and .682 slugging percentage is fourth best. Considered one of the leaders of the team by Corbin, he was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 19th round of the 2021 MLB Draft, but elected to return for his senior season.

~Enrique Bradfield Jr. could be the biggest game breaker on the squad and is the “best leadoff man in the country,” according to Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn. Converting all 34 steal attempts this season, he has twice as many swiped bags as anyone else in the SEC. Those 34 swipes are sixth best in the nation and he’s the only player with more than 30 to not be caught yet in 2022. The center fielder also leads the conference with five triples, so Arkansas will have its hands full attempting to curb his speed all weekend.

~In some ways, Vanderbilt’s offensive profile is very similar to Arkansas. Its batting average with runners on base is .283, which is tied with the Hogs for second-worst in the SEC. Leading off innings, the Commodores reach base 42.1% of the time, which only trails Arkansas. Batting with runners in scoring position, their .286 average trails the Hogs by .003. Their 377 runners left on base is tied with the Razorbacks for sixth in the conference. They also struggle to hit left-handed pitching, as their .271 average is fifth worst.

Quotable

“I’m sure they’re preparing him mentally for that. I mean, he’s pitching for one of the top programs in the country. His numbers are great. What is he, like 8-1?. The game he lost, they got beat 1-0 last week. He can pitch. He’s left-handed and he’s awfully talented. Who’s to say what’s going on on that end. Our job is just to try to prepare to play good baseball and take on what’s in front of us.” — DVH on Devin Futrell making his first SEC start

“He’s the best leadoff man in the country. He just continues to get better and better as far as base-running, stealing. He hasn’t been thrown out this year, 30-plus stolen bases.He can bunt, he can work a walk. He’s also showing power this year. I think he’s got six home runs (yes). He’s just a really, really good player. Then he’s a top-notch center fielder too. He can cover a lot of ground. He can put a lot of pressure on your defense. I think that showed up in their game the other night against Indiana State when he hit a three-hopper to the second baseman in like, the 11th inning, or whatever inning they ended up winning the game. And he booted it on turf. And it was just a ball that I think he rushed it a little bit, watching it. And he immediately stole second, they threw the ball into center field, and then they got a base hit and won the game. You’ve got to play the game right and a clock in your head when he’s up, that’s for sure.” — DVH on Enrique Bradfield Jr.

"Really good. You know, one hits right, one hits left. They both have power. They hit back to back in the order. Jones got six hits the other night. He hit a couple of them really hard. He’s also a big kid but he can run. He beat out an infield hit at a crucial time. You know, you’ve got two guys in the middle of your lineup hitting almost .400. That’s a weapon. You just hope when those guys are up you don’t have too many on base or nobody on base." -- DVH on Dominic Keegan and Spencer Jones

"I think sometimes when you’ve got really good pitching, it doesn’t matter where you play. You’re going to have a chance to win every game. I know they had a game that got away from them in game two against Georgia after winning game one, and then they got after it on Sunday. It showed a lot about their team because I know they made some errors, and they don’t make many errors. The game got away from them, but they fought back and won. Obviously once you’ve done it, you feel like you can do it again. That’s probably the way they feel. They probably looked at the schedule a few weeks ago, rallied the troops and said ‘hey, we’re going to Georgia. We’re going to Arkansas, then we finish with LSU. You guys ready?’ That’s what you do. You go play baseball." -- DVH on Vanderbilt's success on the road

Stat Comparison

Arkansas-Vanderbilt Stat Comparison
Stat Vanderbilt Arkansas

Batting average

.289

.277

Slugging percentage

.469

.480

On-base percentage

.390

.384

Home runs

57

71

Runs/game

6.94

7.10

ERA

3.30

3.38

WHIP

1.16

1.26

Strikeouts/9 innings

11.02

10.60

Strikeout-to-walk ratio

3.04

2.54

Fielding percentage

.979

.982

Stolen bases/game

1.49

0.79

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