Arkansas baseball is 15 days away and HawgBeat continues its lineup preview series for the 2023 Diamond Hogs.
The Razorbacks will return just two starters from last year’s lineup, so fans will quickly become familiar with all the new faces.
With coverage from scrimmage, weekly notebooks, position previews, the Diamond Hawgs podcast and more, HawgBeat offers the best Arkansas baseball coverage around.
We continue with the two holes, which sophomore Peyton Stovall is expected to fill…
So. | L/R | 5-11 | 195
Haughton, Louisiana. / Haughton HS
2022: 52 games, .295/.373/.425, 8 2Bs, 6 HR, 31 RBI, 19 BB/39K, 1 SB
All signs point to Stovall having a breakout season in his second campaign with Arkansas. After finishing the 2022 season on a streak, this year’s Diamond Hogs squad voted Stovall team captain.
During the 2022 postseason, Stovall hit a team-best .429/.451/.571 with two home runs and 13 RBI in 11 games. That cut from his .218/.322/.346 in SEC play just shows how much he’s improved late in the season.
Leading up to the June 21 game against Auburn in the College World Series, coach Dave Van Horn moved Stovall from eight holes to two holes and it worked out brilliantly. He had a season-high five hits, including a double, and drove in three runs. He became the first player with five hits in a College World Series game since North Carolina’s Dustin Ackley in 2009.
Although his finish in the postseason was great, Stovall had a break late in the regular season and missed two conference series. Van Horn said Stovall was just putting too much pressure on himself.
“You see a guy who really, the first three quarters of the season, was just uptight,” Van Horn said. “Trying to impress everyone, just trying to live up to the hype, and we finally talked to him, he just said, ‘Damn,’ then he let it go, and then you saw how good he was. He was probably our best hitter down the stretch.”
Stovall said he met with Van Horn during those two weeks to talk about the pressure he was putting on himself. He said he realized it was just a game and it’s at its best when he’s having fun and playing lighthearted.
“I told him I was going to keep working as hard as I could,” Stovall said. “He said he continued to believe in me and would still give me many opportunities. Luckily for me, I was able to have success along the way. I think a lot of that played into the encounter I had with l ‘Coach Van Horn’.
This season, Stovall is poised for a great second campaign. The former #1 shortstop in Louisiana State will move from first base, where he played last year, to second base, which is a much more familiar position to him.
“I’ve played second base for pretty much as long as I can remember,” Stovall said. “I’ve always played short or second. But second I feel more comfortable. I started three years there in high school. So I’m definitely comfortable there.”
Though only in his sophomore year, Stovall is a veteran of this year’s Razorback team. He and Brady Slavens are the only two starters returning from last year’s College World Series team, the main reason he was voted captain, along with LHP Zack Morris and OF Jace Bohrofen.
“I think being a sophomore and being young, I felt blessed and fulfilled,” Stovall said. “I think eventually the guys will look our way, because we’ve been here. We have so many new guys. So we’re all honored to be able to hold that title.”
Stovall hit a pair of homers either side of the field off the two holes in Friday’s scrimmage at Baum-Walker Stadium. He finished his outing with three hits in four at-bats, five RBIs, three runs, a walk and a strikeout. He also added a stolen base in the seventh inning.
With just over two weeks into the season, Stovall has plenty of time to make more hits against a very strong Arkansas pitching staff.
“We’re doing some live at-bats today, and we’ve got some guys we have to deal with,” Stovall said on Jan. 20. “It’s going to be tough, and it should be tough because that means it’s going to be tough for other hitters and teams.”
The Diamond Hogs will begin their season February 17 against the Texas Longhorns in the College Baseball Showdown at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
1. #12 – Tavian Josemberger – CF
2. #10 – Peyton Stovall – 2B (Today)
3. (Friday February 3)
4. (Saturday February 4th)
5. (Sunday February 5th)
6. (Monday February 6)
7. (Tuesday 7 February)
8. (Wednesday February 8)
9. (Thursday 9 February)
Players on the bench (Friday 10 February)