With the wind blowing in, Arkansas pitchers came with strike after strike. It was the kind of pitching that had been advertised for the last six months. Brigham Young couldn't cope.
Brandon Moore, Cade Lynch, Michael Gunn and Colby Suggs combined to three-hit the Cougars as the Razorbacks played nearly perfect in a 5-0 victory Tuesday at Baum Stadium. Those four threw 127 pitches in the two-hour, 14-minute game -- 82 of them strikes. Lynch gave up the only bases on balls.
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said the great focus may have been the result of not meeting expectations in Sunday's 10-9 loss.
"Our pitchers were outstanding," Van Horn said. "They took it personal Sunday. They got together and had a little talk. They decided to do what they were supposed to be doing.
"There had been a lot of hype (around the pitching). BYU is a big, physical team. We watched them in batting practice, but Brandon went out there and set the tone. We got a four-run lead early and with the wind blowing straight in at about 25, that's like a seven-run lead."
Moore was asked if the shutout came as a surprise. They are rare in college baseball.
"I can't say I'm surprised," he said. "They are a great team, but if we pitch our best, we expect shutouts."
Moore threw 49 pitches, 32 for strikes. Plate umpire Bill McGuire was not calling the pitch at the knees a strike and Moore adjusted quickly. It was mainly his sinking fast ball.
"I threw a couple of change ups, but mainly it was just my fast ball had a lot of sink to it," he said. "Sometimes my pitches flatten out but they weren't today. I was throwing a lot of strikes."
It wasn't just solid pitching. The Hogs played well behind Moore. They also played "small ball" well. A perfect indication was the play of three-hole hitter Dominic Ficociello, He moved two runners with a bunt in the first, then plated a run with a line shot sacrifice fly in the fourth. He also made a difficult play at first look easy on a wild throw.
"We had a ball in right that should have been caught in right that was an error and we had one mistake on the bases when we had a runner thrown out at the plate," Van Horn said. "But except for those two plays, it was our best game of the year. We did everything you are supposed to do as far as moving the runners."
Van Horn said the Hogs will use Wednesday's game against BYU to set its pitching for the weekend. Ace DJ Baxendale will start the game and probably pitch just one inning since he's the projected starter for Sunday's game with Texas.
"We are going to match up team by team," Van Horn said. "Texas is a bunt and take team. We'll go with Ryne Stanek on Friday night against Texas Tech and with Randall Fant on Saturday against Houston."
Baxendale may not be the only UA hurler to get just an inning on Wednesday. Van Horn said Barrett Astin, perhaps the weekend closer, will also get an inning.
"You may see everyone Wednesday," said Van Horn, who got several questions about the weekend. "First, we have to get past BYU."
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