Arkansas Ace Fares Well On Mound

FAYETTEVILLE -- One doesn't become an All-American based solely on press clippings and reputation.And that hasn't always been the case for Arkansas sophomore left-hander Nick Schmidt, who's peformed, at times, like one of the best pitchers in the country this season.

At other times, he's been iffy.

Though he did not figure in the decision, Schmidt again pitched with the guts of a war hero against Oral Roberts in the first round of the NCAA Fayetteville in front of 7,467 in Baum Stadium on Friday night.

Schmidt's effort went for naught, however, as the Razorbacks lost 4-3 against the Golden Eagles in 11 innings.

"I battled as much as I could," Schmidt said. "The offense stepped up and saved me from recording a loss."

Schmidt, a 6-foot-5, 220-pounder, worked eight good-enough innings to keep Arkansas in the game.

He gave way to reliever Devin Collis in the ninth and left with the score tied at 3-3.

He scattered a season-high 10 hits, allowed three earned runs and struck out 10 while throwing 121 pitches.

His 10 strikeouts marked the eighth time he's had a double-digit strike out game this season.

Friday, he also allowed six extra-base hits, including a career-high five doubles. The other was a triple.

As a footnote, he gave up three doubles in a 6-3 loss at Florida in the Southeastern Conference opener on March 17.

Ironically, the last time Schmidt pitched in an NCAA regional, he also allowed 10 hits.

But ...

He beat Texas 9-2 in the second game of the NCAA Austin (Texas) Regional on June 4, 2005, while striking out eight.

Schmidt lost his last decision when he lasted only six innings in a 9-4 loss against Ole Miss in the opening round of the SEC Tournament on May 24. In that game, Schmidt gave up 6 hits, 4 runs, walked 4 and struck out 5.

Friday night, he had his shaky moments but seemed to escape his most difficult moments with his overpowering fastball at opportune times, like in the third when fanned Chad Rothford with two on and two out to end the inning.

Or like he did in the fifth when he did the same thing to the same batter with the same situation.

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