With the news coming down Friday that Arkansas starter Shaun Seibert will be lost for the season to Tommy John surgery, Keuchel could be an important cog in the Diamond Hogs' rotation as the season wears on. But Friday, it was the freshman's work out of the bullpen that made the difference in helping No. 9 Arkansas start off Southeastern Conference play with a bang.
Taking over for Razorbacks ace Nick Schmidt in a tough spot in the sixth inning, Keuchel — a true freshman from Tulsa, Okla. — handled the pressure well and worked four masterful innings of shutout relief, helping Arkansas (15-5, 1-0 in the SEC) to an impressive, 10-2 win against 24th-ranked Kentucky (19-1, 0-1) in front of an announced crowd of 2,026 in Cliff Hagan Stadium.
"Dallas really did do a tremendous job," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "He came in there in a jam and was a little wild to the first guy, but he settled down and then he really got it going."
After being staked to a 5-2 lead — thanks in part to a Logan Forsythe three-run home run in the first inning — Keuchel got out of the bases loaded, one-out jam in the sixth by forcing a line out, double play to end the inning.
From there, the freshman cruised.
"I was a little nervous at first," Keuchel said. "But I just hung in there.
"I think it helps us a lot having a strong bullpen. It gives the starters a good feeling. I know when I've started there's been guys I didn't have faith in who came in after me, but hopefully now they trust me when I'm in there."
They sure should trust Keuchel.
Arkansas at Kentucky
WHEN: Noon, today
WHERE: Cliff Hagan Stadium, Lexington, Ky.
RECORDS: Arkansas 15-5, 1-0; Kentucky 19-1, 0-1
Keuchel To The Rescue For Razorbacks
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