Mound Makeover

Arkansas starter Ryne Stanek rebounds from a shaky start and he and three relievers combine to give their team a chance to rally as the Razorbacks come back to down Valparaiso 4-3 on Saturday at Baum Stadium

After a first inning that left him and his infielders frustrated and his team down 3-0, Arkansas starting pitcher Ryne Stanek just decided to calm down.

That was after Valparaiso used three hits, two errors and a wild pitch to jump out to a comfortable lead at Baum Stadium before the Razorbacks had even come to bat.

It worked as Stanek put up five consecutive scoreless innings and combined with three relievers to lift the ubeaten Razorbacks over the Crusaders 4-3 Saturday afternoon before 6,103 fans.

"It was a lot of just getting under control," Stanek said. "I made some bad pitches and some good pitches, and things just didn't bounce our way. I tried to keep going and fight through that inning. Once I got through that, it was a lot smoother the rest of the game."

Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn has seen Stanek (2-0) pitched better, but appreciate he gave the Razorbacks (7-0) a chance to rally against Valparaiso (2-3), who they play again on Sunday at 1:05 p.m.

"It was better after the first," Van Horn said. "He still didn't have great command. He was better, probably, in the fourth and fifth were pretty good innings. The sixth was ok. I've seen him a lot better. I can tell you that."

Shortstop Tim Carver and Bo Bigham both had errors in that opening inning, but came back to have big swings late in the game.

Bigham's sacrifice fly cut it to 3-2 in the fifth and then Jacob Morris tied it with another sac fly an inning later.

Carver then drove home what turned into the game-winner later in the sixth.

"It's always big," Stanek said. "It might shake confidence a little bit, but I know they're going to be there the rest of the year. To come up with big hits at the end, that helps build the confidence a little quicker."

Carver had three of his team's four errors on the day, but Stanek was not worried about his defenders making big plays late in the field.

"I had faith in my defense," Stanek said. " I just kept trying to pound the zone and get groundballs, and try to make inning as quick as possible. I was trying to avoid innings where I had to throw a bunch of pitches."

He ended up pitching six innings while allowing three runs, only one of which was earned. He also gave up seven hits, walked a pair and fanned four.

Stanek was followed to the mound by Brandon Moore, who got two outs and then turned it over to lefty Michael Gunn, who fanned the only batter he faced to close out the seventh.

Barrett Astin then picked up the save by going the final two innings, working out of a two on, nobody out situation in the ninth.

"We just have great confidence in our bullpen," Stanek said. "I know the guys who come in behind me are going to do the job. That's their job and they do a really good job of it. I just have faith they're going to continue to get the job done the rest of the year."


Hawgs Daily Top Stories