Dirks Cuts Down Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE -- With curly brown hair falling out of the back of his cap, LSU pitcher Clay Dirks cut off Arkansas during Saturday's 7-0 Tigers win in front of a regular season record crowd of 9,012 in Baum Stadium.

The 6-foot-4 left-hander stayed ahead of the No. 14 Razorbacks' hitters by locating a 88-mph fastball for strikes early in the count. Once ahead, Dirks seemed to toy with the Hogs as they went diving after breaking balls in the dirt or fastballs out of the strike zone.

It led to a fourth straight Southeastern Conference loss for the Hogs (31-10, 8-9) and a fourth straight SEC win for the No. 20 Tigers (28-13, 9-8). The series finale is at 1:05 p.m. today.

"That was the story of the day ... That was the guy that shut us down," said Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn. "(Dirks) pitched both sides of the plate, threw strikes whenever he wanted to and just pitched a great game.

"He threw all his pitches for strikes and I've got to give him credit, his stuff was pretty good."

But Dirks didn't think he had his best stuff even though he allowed three hits, struck out eight and walked one. He threw 87 strikes in 124 pitches to record his second career complete-game shutout.

"I probably only threw four changeups," said Dirks, who doesn't plan on cutting his hair any time soon. "My curveball was working as my out pitch and I was just working both sides of the plate with my fastball. I probably threw 75-80 percent fastballs."

It was the well-placed fastballs, according to the Arkansas hitters, which made the difference as Dirks recorded the first three-hitter for the Tigers since Brian Wilson did it in an 8-0 win against Arkansas in 2003.

"(Dirks) came after us on the first pitch," said Hogs slugger Danny Hamblin, who had one of Arkansas' three hits. "We just had guys going up there looking at the first pitch instead of being ready to hit. We just need to be more aggressive, that's what it boils down to.

"I mean, he pitched a great game, when we were looking fastball, he was throwing a curveball and vice versa. But we've got to be ready to swing at that first pitch if it's (a strike)."

With Arkansas' offense cut off, all LSU had to do was score and they put up two runs in the first with Blake Gill and Clay Harris each picking up an RBI.

Arkansas reliever Shaun Seibert was solid for 6 1/3 innings and struck out a career-high seven batters. He did make a couple of mistakes in the fifth when he gave up solo homers to Derek Hebert and Clay Patterson, both coming with two strikes.

It was Patterson's third of the series and 16th this season, which leads the SEC.

"(Seibert) did a nice job," Van Horn said. "He just made a couple of mistakes, but he came in and gave us a chance."

Not that they needed it, but the Tigers added some cushion in the eighth when Jordan Mayer clubbed a three-run homer off Hogs pitcher Brian McClellan.

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