Hogs Pitcher Owns Up To Latest Performance

FAYETTEVILLE --Arkansas junior right-hander Charley Boyce stood with both hands shoved into the pockets of his jacket, knowing he was about to face a firing squad.

He knew the questions would be flying like bullets.

Still, Boyce didn't request a blindfold.

He took it like a man, and with more class than a lot of athletes, trying to answer probing questions.

Minutes after the Razorbacks beat Minnesota 12-3 in front of 6,783 fans in Baum Stadium on Saturday, Boyce braced himself for the obvious.

Dude, what gives?

A lot of Arkansas fans were wondering the same thing aloud.

"I'm sure they are," Boyce said. "I'm just trying to get it going a little bit, getting a couple of things to start going my way. Other than that, you just got to keep your nose to the grindstone, keeping battling."

Boyce, who became the ace of the staff last year, continued to struggle Saturday. He threw 62 pitches in 3 2/3 innings, allowed 6 hits and 3 runs, walked 1 and struck out 3.

Boyce, 10-3 as a sophomore last year, came into the game with a team-high 9.39 earned run average with a 1-1 record in two starts. In his previous 7 2/3 innings of work, Boyce had given up 12 hits, 9 runs and 3 homers.

Not impressive by any standards.

Was that too brutal?

"No, I understand, I understand," Boyce said. "That's just pretty much the story of how things are going for me right now. I don't know, I am just hurting myself.

"Things just didn't go my way today."

Still, Boyce refused to throw in the proverbial towel or run a white flag of surrender up the pole.

Neither did Razorbacks coach Dave Van Horn.

"He's as frustrated as anybody," Van Horn said. "I feel bad for him because he works hard, he deserves to do well because he works hard enough to earn that. I'm going to give him another shot.

"We'll start him next week."

And Boyce will try again.

"As long as I keep working hard and keep my same approach like the last couple of years ...," Boyce said. "Things will turn around."

Arkansas catcher Clint Arnold thinks so, too.

"You know, Charley's a great pitcher," Arnold said. "I think he just needs to relax a little bit. He's going to be fine. He's going to be there for us when we need him. He's going to be the guy that goes out there and throws seven or eight good ones (innings).

"I know he'll get it done."

In the meantime, what's wrong?

"Well, he's not making the type pitches he's capable of making right now," said UA pitching coach Dave Jorn. "He's just not locating his fastball enough. Charley is not an overpowering guy. He's just a guy who needs to change speeds, needs to be able to spot his fastball and he hasn't had the real good command of the fastball. His slider is big and sweepy and hasn't had a real good feeling of throwing over the plate, period, let alone just locating it.

"I think he's a little out of whack, I think with his mechanics, and maybe trying to press it a little bit, you know, trying to do a little bit too much because he had a real good year last year and he's trying to follow it up. We need to work on his mechanics.

"I think he'll be fine."

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