Schmidt Becomes Arkansas Strikeout King

FAYETTEVILLE -- As soon as Nick Schmidt fired one of his fiery fastballs past Florida's Austin Pride, every one of the 3,249 fans braving the cold in Baum Stadium knew what had just taken place.

Schmidt also knew. At the time, he just didn't seem to care. With the second-inning strikeout on Pride, Arkansas' flamethrowing left-hander became Arkansas' all-time strikeout king. But while his record -- which broke the old mark of 300 set by Matt Carnes from 1995 to 1997 -- got everybody else's attention, Schmidt just went about his business. The same way he's done for the past three seasons -- for the past 307 strikeouts. "It really hasn't settled in," Schmidt said. "I talked to Matt Carnes after the game and he congratulated me and he was just a real nice guy. But it hasn't settled in "I think after my time here, I'll look back on this and say, wow." While Schmidt drew most of the praise from the Baum Stadium crowd Saturday, the Razorbacks (28-10, 10-4 in the SEC) also got plenty of applause as a team. Behind their All-American southpaw, Arkansas drilled Florida, 14-3, in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader and then got another super pitching effort from Duke Welker in the 7-1 nightcap win to complete the sweep. On this day, though, the two wins against SEC Eastern Division-leading Florida (20-18, 8-6) were clearly overshadowed by one pitcher's clearly dominating career. "I'm glad that he (broke the record early)," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "Nick will tell you he was thinking about it a little bit and I'm glad he did it so he doesn't have to think about it anymore. "It was just a tremendous job by Nick. What he's done over the years, he bends and doesn't break. He might have an inning here or there but he never gets in too much trouble. That has allowed him to throw a lot of innings and get a lot of strikeouts." With seven more Ks Saturday, the total is up to 307. Not that Schmidt is counting. "The big thing for Nick was getting it over with," Arkansas catcher Brian Walker said. "He doesn't care about the numbers, he just wants us to win. And he knows the accolades will come if we keep winning." Saturday, Arkansas kept winning thanks to an offensive explosion at just the right time, great defense as usual and of course, a special pitcher who refused to let the attention stand in his way. "It was just a lot of hard work, coming out here and working every day (to get the record)," Schmidt. "That's all." TODAY'S TICKET Florida at No. 9 Arkansas WHEN: 12:05 p.m., today WHERE: Baum Stadium, Fayetteville RECORDS: Florida 20-18, 8-6; Arkansas 28-10, 10-4

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