Touched Up Early

ATHENS, Ga. -- Nick Schmidt threw 107 pitches Friday night in Arkansas' 6-1 loss at Georgia.

Only five of them, all delivered in the second inning, will haunt the 6-foot-5 left-hander when he decides to reflect on his first defeat this season. But those five pitches were all costly. Schmidt hit two batters, served up two home runs and gave up a triple, resulting in five second-inning runs. The brief, yet abrupt, scoring surge by Georgia left Schmidt stunned after the Bulldogs snapped Arkansas' six-game winning streak before 1,542 fans at Foley Field. "It's frustrating," Schmidt said. "I left a few pitches up and they hammered them out of the ballpark. I also didn't help things by hitting guys." Though he was outdueled by Georgia sophomore Stephen Dodson, Schmidt did look like his All-American self for most of the evening. Seventy-seven of his 107 pitches went for strikes. He finished with four strikeouts and didn't walk anyone. In fact, starting in the fifth inning, Schmidt retired 11 consecutive batters. But the Razorbacks, who fell to 30-11 overall and 11-5 in the Southeastern Conference, couldn't overcome that dreaded second inning and those fatal five pitches. "He didn't have real good stuff, and he'll tell you that," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "He's a bulldog, and he hung in there. We were down five runs, and he just kept pitching away. We just needed to score a run here or there, and we never did." The Bulldogs (14-24, 6-10), occupiers of last place in the SEC Eastern Division, knew they had only one chance at defeating Schmidt. "You've got to hit him early," Georgia shortstop Gordon Beckham said. Georgia did just that. In the first inning, the Bulldogs lined two singles off Schmidt but didn't score. They broke through in the next inning, though. Joey Lewis led off by mashing a Schmidt fastball over the 40-foot pine trees behind the left-field fence. Then, Schmidt helped Georgia out by plunking the Bulldogs' No. 7 and No. 9 hitters. "He gave us a couple of favors when he hit those guys at the bottom of the order," Georgia coach David Perno said. Georgia leadoff hitter Ryan Peisel followed with a two-run triple down the left-field line. Beckham then capped the five-run frame with another towering blast over the tall pines on a first-pitch fastball. "My first at-bat, I got up there, looked at a couple fastballs and struck out," Beckham said. "The next at-bat, I said to myself, 'If he's going to throw me a fastball, I'm going to hit it,' and he threw one in there." In the end, it didn't matter that Schmidt recovered to baffle Georgia for the remainder of Friday's contest. He gave up just two more hits and one unearned run in his final six innings. "I felt fine (during warm-ups)," Schmidt said. "I guess I just wasn't emotionally into the game."

Hawgs Daily Top Stories