Razorbacks Ride Momentum

FAYETTEVILLE — Building on the momentum from a huge comeback Friday, Arkansas jumped on Kentucky early during a 10-6 win in front of 8,166 in Baum Stadium on Friday.

The Razorbacks did a nice job of kicking the Wildcats while they were down.

"That's what we said after (Friday) night's deal," said catcher Brian Walker, referring to the six-run ninth inning that upended Kentucky 10-9. "We wanted to show up and get to them early and put them on the ropes before they had a chance to get comfortable."

The Hogs did exactly that by scoring first for the first time in nine games. They're 18-2 when scoring first and they put up four runs in their first two at-bats before adding four more in the fifth to take a commanding 8-1 lead at the midway point.

Starting pitcher Trey Holloway poured more salt on Kentucky's wounds by retiring the first 10 batters in order. Defense was solid behind him, committing just one error while turning a pair of double plays, including one that ended a Wildcats' rally attempt in the eight.

Arkansas' Dave Van Horn called it the most "complete" game he has coached in a while. After a slow start in Southeastern Conference play, the No. 12 Razorbacks (27-9, 8-6 in the SEC) only trail Western Division leader Alabama by a single game.

The Hogs will try to complete their first SEC sweep of the season when they play Kentucky (25-10, 7-7) in the series finale at 12:35 p.m. today.

"The players knew that it would be great if we come out and got off to a good start after what happened (Friday) night," Van Horn said. "But what we really did good was that every time they scored, we scored. Even though it was one run, we slowed them down a little bit."

Most of Kentucky coach Joe Cohen's postgame comments were about Friday's loss as he clearly still was dwelling on what could've been. After Saturday's game, he sat with his arms and legs crossed while hiding his blank stare behind a pair of dark shades in the corner of the dugout.

"It just wasn't our day," Cohen said. "We have (two) unassisted line drives hit to the shortstop in a five-pitch span. When that happens to your club, you know it ain't going very good.

"That's the way it goes. Flares dropped for them and line drives are caught by them when we hit them."

Holloway (4-0) did a superb job of keeping the most powerful offense in the league in check. He kept the ball low and away during the first four innings to get most of his outs on soft grounders and weak pop-ups.

Holloway left the mound with one out in the eighth to a standing ovation, something he called "priceless" for a kid from Booneville.

"They're a good fastball hitting team," Holloway said. " The wind was blowing in from right, so I knew that if I stayed away, away, away, we could get some easy outs."

The senior left-hander worked a career-high 7 1/3 innings while allowing four earned runs on five hits. All four runs came on homers when he left changeups high in the zone to John Shelby (a solo shot in the fifth) and Ryan Strieby (a three-run homer in the sixth).

"He did a super job and made one or two mistakes and when he did, they hit it out of the park," Van Horn said. "For a guy that's not throwing 90 mph, you've got to be able to pitch and he really pitched."

With Holloway on cruise control, the offense took care of the rest. Only two starters did not record a hit or score a run. The 14 hits were the most Arkansas has put up since a 15-7 win against Stephen F. Austin in the fifth game of the season.

With the wind blowing in and left-hander Craig Snipp (4-3) keeping the ball down in the zone, Arkansas' plan was to hit the ball up the middle or the opposite way. Eight of the Hogs' hits were either line drives or grounders through the infield.

Only two hits were for extra bases: Chris Hollensworth's RBI double in the first and Clint Arnold's three-run homer in the fifth.

"We put up some runs pretty quick with that approach," Van Horn said. "It was a good job by our offense of executing. We took some good at-bats and got some walks and were able to move runners up with some hit and runs."

Arkansas' defense also deserves credit, especially the aggressive play of third baseman Blake Parker (4 assists) attacking several sharp grounders.

The key defensive play came in the eighth with Kentucky trying to mount a rally against Hogs relievers Chris Rhoads and Devin Collis. Two runs into the inning, shortstop Matt Willard fielded a grounder behind second base and flipped it to Logan Forsythe, who bare-handed the ball before throwing a bullet to first to end the threat.

"They turned a great double play," Van Horn said. "Forsythe showed some arm strength there and that was huge. It may have won us the ball game.

"But we're going to have to play really good again (today) because I know they're going to come out here battling."


Hawgs Daily Top Stories