Diamond Hogs nip UCA to move to 10-2, Hoop Hogs host LSU in final home game

The Central Arkansas Bears did their best to pull off an upset of the No. 2 Arkansas Razorbacks with a ninth-inning rally Tuesday, but right-handed freshman Gabe Gaeckle picked up his second save of the year thanks to a bases-loaded, three-pitch strikeout after he walked in a batter.

The 9-7 victory didn’t come easy for the Hogs (10-2), but every win is sweet in its own way.

Next up for the Razorbacks

Opponent: McNeese State
When: 3 p.m. Friday, March 8
Where: Baum-Walker Stadium, Fayetteville
TV: SEC Network +

Next 3 games

March 9 – McNeese State, 2 p.m. (SEC+)
March 10 – McNeese State, 1 p.m. (SEC+)
March 12 – Oral Roberts, 6 p.m. (SEC+)

Freshman lefty Colin Fisher threw three innings to gain the victory, thanks to a seven-run outburst by the Razorbacks in the third to take a 7-2 lead. Razorback shortstop Wehiwa Aloy swatted a grand slam in the inning followed by a three-run jack by first baseman Ben McLaughlin.

UCA rallied in the top of the fifth to score four runs to pull within 7-6, but the Hogs added two key insurance runs in the eighth inning, before the theatrics of the ninth.

The Razorbacks host McNeese State for a three-game series this weekend at Baum-Walker Stadium. First pitch Friday is at 3 p.m. Saturday’s game starts at 2 p.m., and Sunday’s is at 1 p.m.

Hoop Hogs host LSU in final home game

Arkansas’ Khalif Battle (0), Tramon Mark (12), Trevon Brazile, center, Makhi Mitchell (15) and Davonte Davis (4) look on while a Kentucky player shoots a free throw after a technical was called during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Lexington, Ky. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

The Arkansas Razorback basketball team plays host to the LSU Tigers in their final home game of the regular season at 6 p.m. in Bud Walton Arena.

Unlike in the past when seniors were honored prior to tipoff, a ceremony will be held after the game, according to Arkansas Media relations.

Next up for the Razorbacks

Opponent: LSU
When: 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 6
Where: Bud Walton Arena, Fayetteville
TV: SEC Network

Upcoming games

March 9 – at Alabama, 11 a.m. (ESPN)
March 13 – SEC Tournament in Nashville

The Tigers (16-13, 8-8 SEC) routed the Razorbacks, 95-74, in the previous meeting between the two squads in Baton Rouge, La.

The Hogs (14-15, 5-11) will attempt to turn the table on LSU in hopes of regaining a measure of self-respect before heading to Tuscaloosa, Ala. to face the Crimson Tide (20-10, 12-5) in their regular-season finale.

If the Razorbacks hope to have a chance to finish .500 or above on the season, a victory over the Tigers is critical.

The Razorbacks would need to pull off a minor miracle over the next two weeks to earn a postseason berth. Nothing short of winning the SEC Basketball Tournament will merit the Hogs a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

The NIT is unlikely, as well, with the SEC guaranteed only two spots in the tournament.

So one could argue tonight’s final home game is THE highlight remaining for the Razorbacks this season.

Khalif Battle has been on a scoring spree of late, becoming just the second Razorback in history along with Mason Jones to score 30 or more points in three consecutive games. He scored his career high and a Razorback SEC high of 42 points last week against Missouri. He tallied 36 against Vanderbilt and 34 against Kentucky. During that span, he nailed 45 of 49 free throws (91.8%).

Can he go for 30 against LSU to extend his streak to four?

Tune in to the SEC Network Wednesday at 6 p.m. to find out.