One of the pitchers expected to take the mound during the Arkansas Fall Baseball Classic Friday night at 6 p.m. inside Baum Walker Stadium is looking to making a job change.
Instead of being the Razorbacks’ closer and getting the ball last, sophomore pitcher Brady Tygart wants to take it first and start his team’s contests.
He’s being doing that the past several weeks during Arkansas scrimmages, including a sparkling effort on Monday where he showed off all of his pitches.
“I’m just trying to mix it and throw everyone of my pitches rather than just one pitch,” Tygart said. “I want to do whatever I can to help the team win.”
Tygart, who shined at Lewisbigh High School in Olive Branch, Miss., was 3-4 with eight saves and a 3.82 ERA while appearing as a reliever in 24 games as a freshman.
Tygart was especially in SEC action with 40 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings with a 1.91 ERA and holding batters to a .160 average.
But he struggled late, giving up 8 runs in 2 2/3 innings of work in a three-game stretch against Florida and two appearances in the NCAA Regional against Oklahoma State.
He did have scoreless outings against North Carolina in the Super Regional and Ole Miss in the College World Series to end the season.
Tygart and follow Arkansas sophomore hurler Hagen Smith (7-2, 4.66 ERA) both participated in the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team Training Camp on June 30-July 4 before taking the rest of the summer off to rest what were termed dead arms.
“I think so, just a little bit,” Tygart said. “I have never had a season that long in my life. I am not trying to make excuses or anything, but I just kind of ran out of gas.”
The break was a much-needed one per Tygart, who pitched in 24 games and had 51 strikeouts while walking 21 with 8 of the 17 runs he allowed the season coming in the aforementioned three games.
“I think it was just what me and Hagen both needed,” Tygart said. “We both just had a little bit off a dead arm and neither one of us had seen our families in an awful long time.
“That was the longest I had ever been away from my family so it was good just to go home, get away from baseball for a second and spend some good family time.”
Tygart is excited about a whopping 28 new players – freshmen, junior college transfers and NCAA transfer portal additions – on this year’s roster.
“Coach DVH, they really know how to recruit around here,” Tygart said. “Of course, it is not hard to recruit around a place like this. But they are all so talented. It is going to be fun for sure.”
He believes this season’s team has bonded much quicker than last year’s squad.
“It is exciting,” Tygart said. Last year, it took us awhile, I’d say after Christmas break to really warm up to each other, But right now, we are all really tight already. We have good chemistry already and something that we were going to bring to the field.”
The Fall Classic is free and open to the public. No concessional stands will open, but fans can bring in their own refreshments.
Gates open at 5 p.m.