When located, it can cause batters fits as pitches that appear headed for the sweet spot of the bat turn into pop-ups off the handle or weak grounders off the top of the barrel.
Georgia's Brooks Brown, a hard throwing right-hander, used a nasty running fastball to outduel Nick Schmidt during a 2-0 Arkansas loss in front of 3,531 in Baum Stadium on Friday.
"We got beat by a good pitcher," said Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn. "(Brown's fastball) was moving. It was moving good and it was definitely running in on the right handers and away from the lefties. He's a quality pitcher that I would suspect will get drafted pretty high at the end of the year."
Brown limited the No. 11 Razorbacks (19-4, 1-3 in Southeastern Conference play) to two hits, both soft singles, through seven innings for the No. 25 Bulldogs (16-4, 2-2). One was a grounder that deflected off of second base on a ball hit by David Hum in the fourth. The other came when Craig Gentry legged out an infield single on a slow roller in the third inning.
It was the fewest hits the Hogs have put up all season. They haven't been held to two hits since 2002.
"It's all about taking away a guy's fastball and we couldn't do that," said Arkansas' Danny Hamblin, who hit a ball off the handle to the warning track in left that was caught. "We needed to set the tempo early because we had Schmidt going against their ace and you know it's not going to be 10-0.
"If you've got an opportunity to score some runs, you've got to do it."
The Hogs put the lead runner on in four of the first six innings, but failed to capitalize each time. They even loaded the bases with one out in the first when Gentry reached on a two-base throwing error before Hum and Hamblin walked. But Brown escaped the threat by getting Clint Arnold to pop up behind home plate and Brian Walker to fly out to right.
"We talked about it as a team before the game, when we get a chance to drive in a run, you've got to get it done," Van Horn said. "(Arnold) went 3-0 in the count and we had a chance to walk a run in and we hadn't even got a hit yet.
"You've got to give (Brown) credit, he pitched his way out of a jam and really never had any trouble after that."
That's because Brown (3-1) was throwing a different fastball, a straighter four-seamer, in the first inning. But once he began throwing a two-seam, running fastball instead, he started cruising.
"I think he's one of the most underrated pitchers in the league," said Georgia coach David Perno. "In the first inning, he was pushed under the gun a little bit and he went to his two-seam and pretty much stuck with that all night and that's why he got the action and some of the quick outs that he did."
Schmidt (4-2) struck out a career-high 13, but with no run support, suffered a second straight loss for the first time in his career. It was the most strikeouts for an Arkansas pitcher since David Walling had 14 in a 13-5 win against South Carolina in 1999.
A problem with fanning so many is it takes more pitches to strike a guy out than getting him to pop up. Schmidt's pitch total began climbing quickly through the middle innings and he matched a career-high with 127 pitches for the second consecutive outing.
"Last Friday night, we only struck out four times and we got a (complete game) thrown against us," Perno said. "So sometimes the strikeouts get pitch count up and allow you to get into the bullpen a little quicker. I think we gave (Schmidt) maybe one easy inning, but for the most part, you do the best you can against that guy. He's tremendous."
A rare inside-the-park home run by Bobby Felmy put the Bulldogs on the board in the fourth. Gentry, the UA center fielder, crashed into the wall trying to make the catch, but managed to come to his feet to make a throw home that was a few steps too late, giving Felmy the school's first inside-the-park homer in two years.
"That was a good effort all the way around," Perno said. "Gentry got a good break on it and I thought he was going to make a great play, but Bobby was running right out of the box. If he's not hustling right out of the box, he doesn't make that happen."
Georgia added another run in the fifth to take a 2-0 lead. Nine-hole batter Matthew Dunn led off the inning by slicing a double down the left-field line before scoring on Joey Side's triple off the center-field wall.
Brown was replaced by Joshua Fields, one of the SEC's top closers, in the bottom of the eighth. Fields never gave Arkansas a chance as he struck out five of the final six batters.
Georgia 2, UA 0
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