Hogs Starter Deserved Better In Loss

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas freshman left-hander Nick Schmidt deserved a better fate.

It wasn't his fault the No. 8 Razorbacks lost 5-3 against No. 24 Mississippi State in front of 6,962 fans on a cold Friday night in Baum Stadium.

Schmidt pitched seven strong innings, allowed 4 hits, 1 run, walked 2 and struck out 4. He threw 103 pitches and lowered his earned run average to 2.04.

Yeah, Schmidt did all that and still didn't figure in the decision.

Go figure. Schmidt was in line for another win but the roof caved in on his chances when Mississippi State scored four runs in the ninth inning off reliever Charley Boyce.

"Yeah, It was kind of hard to watch, but things like that happen," Schmidt said. "We'll have better days. I thought Charley did a good job in the eighth inning but just got the ball up in the ninth.

"Things like that sometimes happen."

Schmidt clearly did his part in giving Arkansas an opportunity to take the first game of the series. Schmidt left with a 2-1 lead.

"Yeah, he threw a good game," said Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn. "His pitch count got right up to 100 and it was time to get him out of there, it was a cold night.

"They were taking some decent swings on him and we just felt like we don't need him to go through the top of that order again."

Schmidt didn't get into too many jams but when he did he found away to escape.

For instance, Schmidt stuck out right fielder Brad Corley with the bases loaded in the third inning. Before the strikeout, Razorbacks fans stood on their feet chanting for Schmidt to blow it past Corley.

When he did, the place went bonkers.

Really, the only major flaw in Schmidt's game came in the fifth inning. That's when he allowed a solo home run to left fielder Jeff Butts.

"It really wasn't a bad pitch," Schmidt said. "I left it out over the plate and he hammered it.

"You have to give him credit."

Schmidt finished in style. He polished off Mississippi State by throwing only six pitches in the seventh inning to retire the side.

"It's a tough loss, I thought I pitched pretty good," Schmidt said. "I just go after people and then I work on my other pitches. I didn't do anything different tonight than I usually do.

"I just stuck to the basics.

"I got cold a little bit but once you get out there and start pitching, you warm up pretty good.

"It was tough to lose one like this but I think we have the kind of team which can come back and rally back. We've done it several times this year. "I think we'll come back tomorrow (today)."

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