Smith Sharp As Starter

FAYETTEVILLE -- In his first collegiate start, Arkansas sophomore Josh Smith looked like a veteran for three perfect innings during Sunday's 4-3 win against Minnesota in Baum Stadium.

The 21-year-old from Lake Havusu City, Ariz., needed only 27 pitches --18 were strikes -- to retire the first nine batters in order before running out of 93-mph gas in the fourth inning.

Following a two-run single by Minnesota's Jake Elder and a hit batsman, Smith was relived by Sean Seibert with one out in the fourth. He still showed fans and, more importantly coaches, a glimpse of his promising future.

"He threw one or two curveballs for strikes in those first three innings, so he was mainly all fastball," said Razorbacks coach Dave Van Horn. "He throws kind of a heavy pitch and they were really struggling with it. He had already thrown more than 50 pitches and we weren't going to let him go more than 60, so it was time to get him out.

"But he did a heckuva job."

Smith attended Arizona State (2001-02) and Central Arizona College (2003) prior to enrolling at Arkansas and sat out last season to have Tommy John surgery.

Minnesota coach John Anderson was impressed with Smith's velocity, but said he's going to have to learn how to locate an off-speed pitch. Gophers pitcher Josh Krogman, who allowed one earned run in five innings against the Razorbacks on Friday, had Tommy John surgery two years ago.

"You have to be able to get more than a fastball over or hitters are going to get after you after a while," Anderson said. "Krogman is just starting to get his command back right now with more than one pitch. You just have to be patient with it because it's going to take some time."

Van Horn was uncertain whether he'd start Smith again next weekend when the Razorbacks host Illinois-Chicago for a three-game series.



Running On Empty

Arkansas freshman catcher Brian Walker threw out Matt Fornasiere attempting to steal second base in the eighth and has now nailed 5 of 8 runners attempting to steal.

Hogs catchers -- the other is freshman Clint Arnold -- have combined to throw out 9 of 16 runners (56 percent).

"Our catchers are very accurate," Van Horn said. "Walker is smooth and gets his feet into position well and Arnold is very quick with his release even though he doesn't have as much arm strength."

By comparison, Arkansas catchers threw out 34 of 84 runners (41 percent) last year with Brady Toops, a 10th-round draft pick by the St. Louis Cardinals, doing most of the damage.



Bridges Still Out

Senior speedster Scott Bridges missed his second straight start after getting hit with a pitch in his right (throwing) hand in Friday's game. Bridges continues to have numbness in his hand and will be reevaluated this week.

Junior college transfer John Marquardt started in Bridges' place at second base. He was 2-for-3 and drove in the game-winning run in the sixth inning.



Bull In The Bullpen

Brian Bull, a Minnesota relief pitcher, began getting loose in the bullpen after starter Josh Oslin walked three batters in the second inning. Bull finally got he call at the start of the fourth and absorbed the loss after allowing one earned run on 6 hits in 3 2/3 innings.



No Assist Needed

Arkansas third baseman Clay Goodwin helped the Hogs out of a sixth-inning jam with an unassisted double play. He caught a line drive off the bat of Andy Hunter and wisely raced over to step on the bag before Mike Mee could return.

Goodwin also took away a potential extra-base hit when he made a diving stab to his right for the second out of the seventh inning.



Back On Track

Four Razorbacks starters entered Sunday's game without a hit in this weekend series and all four were able to snap their minor slumps.

Arnold, Danny Hamblin, Scott Hode and Blake Parker each had a hit Sunday. Hamblin, who hadn't had a hit in four games, was 2-for-4 with an RBI.

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