Boyce Finally Finds Groove

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas starter Charley Boyce finally got into a groove during Saturday's 15-4 win against Illinois-Chicago in Baum Stadium.

Although erratic at times, Boyce displayed command of three pitches -- fastball, changeup and breaking ball -- in limiting the Flames to one hit in seven innings. He struck out three, walked three and allowed four runs, all unearned, by throwing 56 strikes in a season-high 93 pitches.

"That was big for our team and big for Charley mentally," said Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn. "To go out and have a good outing and gain confidence in himself is important because Charley is the kind of guy who gets on a roll when he's confident so hopefully, that picked him up."

It was Boyce's best outing in four starts. He lowered his ERA from 7.94 to 4.91, which made the fourth-year junior from Broken Arrow, Okla., crack a smile, his first in weeks.

"It's been a rough couple of weeks for me," Boyce said. "But it was great to get out and get a little momentum going into next weekend (when the Hogs host Eastern Illinois)."

When Boyce was able to locate his breaking pitch, he was superb. He had it working in both the second and fifth innings, when he retired the side in order.

"Getting that third pitch across is definitely important," Boyce said. "When you can do that, it makes your fastball and your changeup look that much better.

"I struggled with (the curveball) early on, but as it started working, I was able to get in a little groove."

Bridges Back

After missing two games last weekend, Scott Bridges has figured out how to play without any feeling in two fingers in his right hand. The injury is a result of Bridges being hit in the elbow by a pitch during a 5-4 win against Minnesota on Feb. 25.

The senior from White Hall bunted for a base hit, stole second and scored on Danny Hamblin's three-run triple in first inning Saturday. He then smashed a solo homer down the right-field line with two outs in the fifth inning to give the Razorbacks a 10-1 lead.

The first-inning stolen base gives Bridges 11, which leads the Southeastern Conference. He's on pace to steal 51 bases in the regular season, which would shatter the school record of 42 set by Scott Loseke in 1983.

Bridges has had at least one hit in nine of the 10 games he's played. He's hitting .484 with two homers and is leading the Razorbacks in slugging percentage (.806) and on-base percentage (.590).

Still Streaking

Arkansas senior Casey Rowlett almost saw his 11-game hitting streak come to an end Saturday.

Rowlett, who walked and scored in the first, reached on what was originally ruled a throwing error in the third. The ruling was change to a single after some debate as third baseman Nick Rainwater had to bare hand the slow roller before throwing it wide to first.

In his other at-bats, Rowlett popped up to short for the second out in the fourth inning and struck out for the final out of the fifth.

With at least one hit in all 12 games, Rowlett is leading the team in batting average (.490), hits (24), total bases (32) and RBIs (12).

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