Diamond Hogs Blank Missouri State

FAYETTEVILLE — Consider this one a pitching gem by committee. With Arkansas saving more often-used pitchers for this weekend's pivotal Southeastern Conference series against Florida, it was up to the other guys to deliver a win Wednesday.

And deliver they did, as Chris Rhoads, Dallas Keuchel, Brian McLelland and Travis Hill combined on a four-hit shutout in a 2-0 win against Missouri State in front of a crowd of 1,273 in Baum Stadium.

"I thought all four pitchers did a tremendous job," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "Chris got it started off with three good innings, Dallas came in and gave up a quick hit but got it together. And then McLelland in the sixth and seventh and Hill in the eighth and ninth.

"Just a tremendous job and we needed it because we didn't hit the ball that well tonight. But the story of the game was definitely the pitching."

While Arkansas (26-10) has raced out to the early lead in the SEC Western Division, its bullpen has been suspect at times. But with an effort like Wednesday — getting nine near-perfect innings out of the foursome on the mound — suddenly the bullpen is looking a whole lot better.

"We've been struggling a bit as a group out there," said Rhoads, who allowed just two hits in three innings. "We've been waiting for someone to step up and I think we showed some progression out there tonight.

"By no means was this just a chance to get in a couple of innings. This was an important game and we wanted to win."

Arkansas' pitching might have been solid, but the Diamond Hogs' bats were not. Limited to just four hits, the Razorbacks needed an RBI groundout from Jake Dugger and another RBI single from Casey Coon to edge past the Bears (19-14).

To Missouri State coach Keith Guttin, though, Arkansas' offense was plenty good enough.

"They did a good job and we didn't," Guttin said. "We just didn't hit the ball at all."

They sure didn't hit it. And all credit for this pitching gem goes to four guys who were ready to prove there's still plenty left in the Razorbacks' bullpen tank."

"It's a big lift and a big pride thing with the guys in the bullpen," Hill said. "We want to do well and we know we have to do better if we want to achieve what we hope to this season."

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