Boyce Struggles In Second Start

RUSTON, La. -- Arkansas veteran pitcher Charley Boyce suffered his second sluggish outing in as many appearances during Saturday's 10-8 loss against Louisiana Tech at J.C. Love Field.

Boyce, a junior right-hander, fell victim to a tight strike zone and lasted just two-plus innings. He allowed six earned runs on seven hits while walking three and hitting another with a pitch.

It was his shortest outing since last May when Boyce gave up four earned runs on five hits in a 7-4 loss against Auburn.

"He didn't throw very good last week at Dallas Baptist either," said Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn. "And he got beat around pretty good (Saturday). I might give him another start, or I might go with somebody else next week.

"We'll wait and see."

Boyce looked like his usual self after retiring the first two batters of the game. He then gave up back-to-back singles before escaping the inning when catcher Brian Walker threw out a runner at second.

"He just didn't have his ‘A' stuff (Saturday)," Walker said. "He didn't have that good fastball, but he's an upperclassmen who'll learn from it and make the proper adjustments."

Then in the second, consecutive base hits were followed by a three-run homer by Gil Laird, who tattooed a belt-high Boyce fastball over the right-center field fence.

Boyce walked the next batter on four pitches and later allowed that runner to score on a single which gave the Bulldogs a 5-4 lead.

A single and a walk to start the third ended Boyce's outing. He threw 28 strikes on 52 pitches.

"I think he needs to gain some confidence, No. 1," Van Horn said. "And No. 2, stop trying to overthrow. He's not a 90-mph guy and he's trying to throw too hard which is causing him not to locate like he normally does.

"There were some calls he didn't get, but they didn't get some either and you've just got to play through it."



Nice Arm, Sore Thumb

Walker, a freshman who transferred from Arizona State, dislocated his thumb while trying to catch a Lee Land fastball, but returned without missing a pitch.

"The knuckle popped out of place and we just popped it back in," Walker said. "I did the same thing this summer and it's something that I've seen happen a lot with catchers.

"Unfortunately, if you catch a pitch in the wrong spot, it can really hurt."

Walker threw out two of three runners trying to steal second base Saturday and has thrown out two of five runners attempting stolen bases against him this season.

"I thought he threw another guy out, too," Van Horn said. "We didn't get the call there, but he threw the ball well and did a nice job of receiving."



Pickin' And Grinnin'

A confused mix of applause and laughter followed Saturday's national anthem, which featured a banjo.

Obviously, it wasn't the usual pregame music.

"We got the wrong CD," said Louisiana Tech sports information director Robby Lockwood. "It said: ‘national anthem' on it, but nothing about a banjo."

Saturday's attendance was 1,619.



Streaking

Arkansas' Clint Arnold and Casey Rowlett both singled in the first inning to extend their hitting streaks to seven games. Both had two hits.

They're the Razorbacks' top two spark plugs through seven games with Arnold hitting .417 and Rowlett leading the team with a .519 batting average.

Scott Bridges also had two hits Saturday after going hitless Friday night to end a five-game hitting streak. He's second on the team with a .471 batting average.

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