Like so many young players before him, Keuchel tried a little too hard his first time out on the field, only to have it backfire right in his face.
"Coming out that first time (at Louisiana Tech), trying to over pitch, I didn't do too well," Keuchel said. "Because I'm not an overpowering pitcher, I just try to make guys roll over on my pitches and spot my stuff up and let my infield and outfield work."
Monday, the true freshman from Tulsa Bishop Kelley got a second chance to show what he could do.
Keuchel didn't disappoint, either.
With those first-game jitters behind him, Keuchel -- making his first career start -- shut down Wisconsin-Milwaukee (0-3) for five innings, pitching two-hit baseball in leading Arkansas to an 8-1 win Monday in front of a nice-sized Presidents Day crowd of 3,245 in Baum Stadium as the Razorbacks completed the three-game sweep of the Panthers.
After giving up two runs and recording just one out in his first career appearance on Feb. 3 at Louisiana Tech, the 6-foot-2 left-hander returned to form Monday, allowing just two harmless singles, while walking only one batter and striking out three.
Keuchel also made a case for himself as a starting pitcher, something he said he prefers.
"I'd love to start," Keuchel said. "But I'll do whatever the team needs."
Monday, all No. 5 Arkansas (7-2) needed was for Keuchel to fire his fastball over the plate while mixing in the curve from time to time. The Razorbacks' defense did the rest.
"He threw the ball well," Arkansas catcher Brian Walker said. "He had a rough first outing which was to be expected from a freshman, with a different element.
"But he settled in and that's what we expect from him every time. He's a competitor, he was good in high school and I've caught him for a while and he's a good pitcher. He should help us out for a while."
Keuchel also drew praise from Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn.
But he wasn't the only one. In a series dominated by newcomers, Keuchel's performance just topped off what Van Horn had been preaching.
As far as the Razorbacks' future is concerned, things are looking good.
"(Dallas will) keep getting better and better," Van Horn said. "He's done it in high school and played in some good leagues and won some state championships, so I don't think it will affect him pitching in front of a lot of people.
"And I think a lot of the younger people stepped it up this weekend and proved that they're worthy of playing and they can help us out this year. I'm just really proud of some of these guys because this is what you need. If you're going to have a solid program, you've got to keep them coming in year in and year out with the freshman who can push the sophomores and juniors. It's just good. It's healthy."
Illinois State at Arkansas
WHEN: Friday through Sunday
WHERE: Baum Stadium, Fayetteville
RECORDS: Illinois State 1-2, 0-0; Arkansas 7-2, 0-0
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