Diamond Hogs Receive Early Wake-Up Call

RUSTON, La. -- Brian Walker tried to tell everyone who would listen.

When Arkansas received its highest preseason baseball ranking in school history, Walker -- the Razorbacks' co-captain and junior catcher -- preached again and again how the preseason polls were meaningless until the Diamond Hogs went on the field and backed it up.

Apparently, Louisiana Tech heard what Walker was trying to say.

Despite facing an Arkansas team ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation in one poll, the Bulldogs paid no attention to the Razorbacks' ranking and instead looked like the team more deserving of the high marks from the pollsters in a 9-2 runaway win in front of a crowd of 3,076 at J.C. Love Field.

"We're not that good," Walker said. "We're not. That ranking stuff, like I said before, doesn't mean a thing. It's just a number based on who is coming back and who came in and stuff like that and we're not that good right now.

"But there's just one thing to do and that's get better. So hopefully (today) we'll show up with more intensity and play baseball the way it's meant to be played and play the game better."

The only team playing the game even close to good Saturday was Louisiana Tech (1-1). With the Razorbacks (1-1) struggling for a second day in a row with the bats, the Bulldogs' pitching duo of Jericho Jones and Brandon Hudson feasted on Arkansas hitters, striking out 11 and limiting the UA lineup to eight hits.

The most frustrating point came when the Diamond Hogs still had a chance. Trailing 3-2 in the top of the sixth, Arkansas had runners on second and third base with no one out, only to have Brian Walker, Dylan Duren and Tim Smalling strike out in succession.

"That was just really disappointing," Razorbacks coach Dave Van Horn said. "We're not playing very well, obviously. Guys are pressing or guys are jumping at the baseball or whatever.

"Then we go back to that inning, we jump out and we've already scored two runs and we put two more on and we just need to put one more across to tie. And what do we do? We punch out three times. That was really disappointing, and we told them not to get used to this, because that's not the way it works around here."

After Arkansas failed to capitalize, the Bulldogs opened the floodgates, scoring five runs in the seventh off relief pitchers Travis Hill and Dallas Keuchel to close things out.

"You don't see a lot of jumping and celebrating because our guys know we're capable of being a good team," Bulldogs coach Wade Simoneaux said. "Arkansas is a heck of a good team, but you know what, we're going to be a heck of a good team, too, before the season is over."

For the Razorbacks, Sean Seibert (0-1) took the loss, giving up two earned runs in four innings. But Arkansas' problems were at the plate Saturday.

"There's no excuses," Walker said. "We hit in the cage, we hit in intersquad.

"I've got runners on second and third with nobody out and just don't get it done. I can't expect two freshmen behind me to get it done and it starts with the older players. You know, we're just not playing well."

Arkansas and Louisiana Tech conclude the three-game series at 1 p.m. today.



TODAY'S TICKET

Arkansas at Louisiana Tech

WHEN: 1 p.m., today

WHERE: J.C. Love Field, Ruston, La.

RECORDS: Arkansas 1-1, 0-0; Louisiana Tech 1-1, 0-0


Hawgs Daily Top Stories