While everyone anticipated Schmidt and Vanderbilt's David Price to put on the showdown of the season in last weekend's big series, the Arkansas ace paired up with Tennessee's James Adkins on Friday to put together quite a battle of their own.
One which was even better than Schmidt vs. Price, and one which Schmidt stood out in when it mattered the most.
Battling back and forth for most of the first seven innings, Schmidt outlasted Adkins when, of all things, Arkansas got its second two-run sacrifice fly in as many weeks. After that, the Razorbacks lefty coasted to his second complete game of the season as No. 7 Arkansas (20-8, 5-2 in the SEC) went onto a going-away, 6-2 win in front of a Lindsey Nelson Stadium season-high crowd of 3,987.
"I had a good feel in the bullpen," Schmidt said. "I just took it out there to the mound.
"Adkins is a great pitcher and it's always going to be a battle when you face him. But our hitters, they just stuck in there and they battled and they put the ball in play and made them field it."
Adkins looked every bit as good as Schmidt early on. Striking out the side in the first and giving up no hits through the first three innings, the Tennessee (17-10, 4-3) southpaw had Arkansas off balance until giving up a cheap fourth-inning run as the result of a hit batter.
Schmidt then had to battle back himself, giving up a solo homer in the fifth and another lone run in the sixth. But like he said, the Arkansas batters began to put the ball in the play. And in the top of the seventh, Adkins and the Volunteers' defense behind him began to wilt.
"I was real proud of the guys for knowing the situation," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "They knew what a good game Nick was throwing and they didn't want to waste it."
For Schmidt, it was his fifth complete game of his career, his second of the season and his second against Tennessee.
But to him and to the fans, it was probably just the pitchers duel they've been waiting on since last week.
"It was a great pitchers duel out there for about five or six innings," Van Horn said. "Nick had some pretty good stuff out there tonight."
Arkansas at Tennessee
WHEN: 3 p.m.
WHERE: Lindsey Nelson Stadium, Knoxville, Tenn.
RECORDS: Arkansas 20-8, 5-2; Tennessee 17-10, 4-3
Schmidt Gets His Pitchers Duel
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