Small Ball Works, Too

ARLINGTON, Texas -- After two games, Arkansas already has shown the ability to score runs in a variety of ways.

After using the long ball to blow by Dallas Baptist 13-3 on Friday, the Razorbacks were able to manufacture runs during an 8-1 rain-shortened win against the Patriots (2-2) on Saturday.

"That's what it's all about," said Arkansas third-year coach Dave Van Horn. "We've talked about it as a staff that we have a chance to beat people with a three-run homer, but also manufacture some runs because you're going to run into all different types of ballparks, weather, wind and you've got to be able to win all the time."

The Razorbacks (2-0) homered twice with the wind blowing out in Friday's win in DBU's Patriot Field, which was only 388 feet to straightaway center field.

In Saturday's game in Texas-Arlington's Clay Gould Field -- where the wind was blowing in and the power alleys were as deep as the center field fence in Patriot Field -- the Hogs had to scrap to score.

"We're very versatile," said freshman catcher Clint Arnold, who was 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. "(Friday) we just pounded it and coach Van Horn put us through a little small ball drill (Saturday) with all the hit and runs and bunts and stuff, but we've got to be able to do that.

"We've got to be versatile in our ability to score runs."

Heavy rain halted the game in the seventh inning, forcing the Hogs to play a doubleheader today against Texas-Arlington. The two teams were originally slated to play one game on Saturday and another today.

They'll now play two nine-inning games beginning at 11 a.m. today.

Eleven of the Razorbacks' 13 hits Saturday were to the opposite field as DBU starting pitcher Barrett Pliler, a left-hander, pitched the Hogs away most of the time.

"We did a good job of taking what they gave us (Saturday)," said second baseman Casey Rowlett, who also was 2-for-4. "We hit well with two strikes and kept the pressure on them. Our bats really lit it up (Friday) and for the first game, it was good to see that.

"But it was good to see us score in other ways, too."

Starting pitcher Nick Schmidt held the Patriots in check, scattering three hits in five scoreless innings. He walked two and struck out six while retiring 15 of the 17 batters he faced.

Van Horn said Schmidt had some solid outings the past few weeks during practices, but he didn't expect the 6-foot-4 freshman left-hander to pitch as well as he did Saturday.

"He's got kind of a downward plane on his fastball that's tough to pick up," Van Horn said. "He's got a good arm. He's confident and he just came out with an ‘I'm not scared' attitude and he did a tremendous job of just staying poised and got after them."

Seniors Clay Goodwin and Scott Hode, who was 3-for-3, got things started offensively with a double and a single, respectively, in the second inning. Sophomore Blake Parker then drove in Goodwin with a sacrifice fly to center to give the Hogs the early lead.

Arkansas put up seven runs in the fifth. Scott Bridges,pinch running at second base for Chris Hollensworth, got the inning started by stealing third and scoring on Arnold's RBI single. Hollensworth singled to lead off the inning, but has been slowed by a knee injury of late.

A two-run double down the left-field line by Jake Dugger was the biggest highlight of the inning and ended Pliler's outing.

In today's opener, Arkansas' offense will face its toughest test thus far as it goes up against Texas-Arlington right-hander Michael Gardner. He's a preseason All-American who's been named to the watch list for the Brooks Wallace and Clemens Awards, which recognizes college baseball's top player and pitcher.

"We're on the road against their ace and in their ballpark after they had a couple of days off," Van Horn said. "I'm anxious to see how we bounce back and see how we compete against him.

"But I'm sure we'll be fine."

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