Washington Hands Hogs First Loss

HONOLULU, Hawaii -- Arkansas knew coming into Tuesday's 5-2 loss against Washington it was going to have its hands full with Huskies' flame-thrower Tim Lincecum in the first round of the Rainbow Tournament here Tuesday.

In an effort to emulate the preseason All-American's 95-plus mph fastball, three Arkansas coaches wore out their right arms throwing as hard as they could from 40 feet away during Monday's batting practice, which was reportedly one of the Hogs' best this spring.

Evidently, mirroring that type of speed is tougher than moving the pitching screen up a few feet as the offense struggled for the first time since the season opener. Arkansas didn't score on three hits through the first five innings after entering the tournament averaging more than 12 runs in each of the last five games.

Lincecum limited the Hogs to season lows in hits (4) and runs (2). Still, Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn was pleased with his offense's performance as several balls were hit hard, but right at defenders. Lincecum had struck out 28 in his last two appearances, but only fanned eight Hogs in seven innings on Tuesday.

No. 11 Arkansas (9-1) returns to action against Texas-Arlington at 6:30 p.m. today. It then plays Hawaii at 10:35 p.m. on Thursday. While Friday's opponent has yet to be determined, it has been decided that the Hogs will play Texas-Arlington at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.

"As far as facing Lincecum, we weren't late," Van Horn said. "We were right on his fastball and I know he's throwing in the 90s. We actually made him go to his second and third pitch with a changeup and breaking ball midway through the game, so I felt good about our offense.

"We had some guys put some good swings on the ball. We just never got that big hit."

With Lincecum's pitch count approaching 100 in the sixth inning, Arkansas was finally able to crack the scoring column. Two-out walks to James Ewing and Jake Dugger set up Danny Hamblin's two-run double down the left-field line that trimmed the lead to 5-2. It was Hamblin's team-leading 12th RBI and extended his hitting streak to eight games.

But Arkansas would squander its best opportunity to turn it into a close game after a pair of walks and a hit batsman by Lincecum loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh. Bearing down, Lincecum struck out James Ewing with his 129th pitch to escape the threat.

It would be Lincecum's last pitch as relievers Nick Hagadone and Elliott Cribby shut the Hogs down in the final two innings to complete the win.

"This was a big win for us," said Washington coach Ken Knutson. "It's pretty easy to see why (Arkansas) has such a good record with that offense, but I thought we got some good pitching even though Lincecum didn't have his best stuff.

"We got the big first (inning) and got some confidence, which we all seem to have when Lincecum is on the mound."

Washington (8-2) came out swinging to knock Hogs starter Chris Rhoads out of the game with a four-run first inning. A throwing error by Hogs' third baseman Blake Parker led to another run in the third and a 5-0 Huskies' lead.

Van Horn was upset about the error, but even more ticked with left fielder Ben Tschepikow's effort on a looping line drive in the first inning. The ball short-hopped into his glove for the first hit of the game.

"You can't spot a guy like Lincecum four runs in the first," Van Horn said. "What really hurt there is we were not aggressive on a one-out fly to left that really got them going. That ball should've been caught.

"But a four-run lead with that guy throwing, that was a big hill to climb."

Razorbacks' reliever Trey Holloway ensured the lead wouldn't get out of hand by allowing only one unearned run in 4 1/3 innings after taking over for Rhoads. Lee Land took pitched the final three innings and allowed no runs on two hits.


Hawgs Daily Top Stories