Stroup Makes Spot Start Count

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Will Stroup was nothing more than a bullpen specialist for Alabama before this weekend. After Sunday, though, Stroup is suddenly one of the Crimson Tide's top starters.

Making just his second pitching start of the season — compared to 20 relief appearances — Stroup saved some of his best stuff for Arkansas. While Tide coach Jim Wells was hoping for Stroup to give him four, five, maybe even six good innings, his junior left-hander from Birmingham, Ala., was willing to provide much more than that.

"He's a guy that's mainly been a bullpen guy, but he's got to where he's been throwing more strikes," Wells said. "That's probably the best he's pitched for us.

"You never know if a guy can throw that much, but we'll take it."

With Alabama providing plenty of offense against Arkansas' struggling Sunday staff, Stroup was ready to keep the Tide's own bullpen rested and ready for an important series next weekend at Mississippi State.

In nine innings, Stroup did allow five runs. But it was his gutsy 129-pitch performance and his ability to shut down Arkansas' bats in the final four innings which made this effort so special for Arkansas.

And all the more frustrating for the Razorbacks.

"It's never been anything he wasn't able to do," Alabama senior center fielder Emeel Salem said. "He just hasn't been given the chance to be a starter.

"Now that he's been given the chance to be a starter, I think you're going to see some of his best stuff."

Standings Update

While Arkansas sure didn't help itself in the Southeastern Conference race over the weekend, the Razorbacks actually weren't hurt all that much as far as the Western Division standings were concerned.

Despite losing two of three games against Alabama, the Diamond Hogs were able to maintain their two-game lead over Mississippi State in the SEC West after the Bulldogs were swept in a Sunday doubleheader at Georgia. Arkansas also stayed three games ahead of Ole Miss after the Rebels dropped two of three games at home against Kentucky.

The only place Arkansas lost ground was to Vanderbilt in the overall SEC race, where the Commodores moved to two games ahead of the Razorbacks after taking two of three games at Auburn.

Hamblin One Closer To Record

With his 20th home run of the season Sunday, Danny Hamblin moved within one of the school record for career dingers. The Arkansas senior first basemen — who smashed a towering shot some 400-plus feet over the left field wall Sunday — now has 55 career long balls as a Razorback, putting him within one of Ryan Lundquist's record mark of 56 set from 1996 to 1999.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories