Clutch Hitting Brings Arkansas Another Win
Arkansas has proven that over and over again this season. Because of their clutch two-out hitting, the Razorbacks are making this a long stay in the Southeastern Conference Tournament. Arkansas kept its reputation of being a tough out when the chips are down during its 6-0 win against South Carolina in Regions Park on Thursday. In retrospect, the Razorbacks needed only one run to knock off the Gamecocks because right-handed pitcher Jess Todd was magnificent again. He struck out a school-record 17 batters and allowed only two hits in eight full innings. "All we have to do is score a run with Jess pitching but we wanted to make sure he got enough," Razorbacks left fielder Casey Coon said. "Basically, it's just everyone battling on every pitch. "You do that and things will fall into place." Arkansas scored its first and second runs on two-out singles by third baseman Logan Forsythe and first baseman Danny Hamblin in the first inning. It scored three more runs on Forsythe's three-run home run in the third. Coon's RBI single in the sixth, again with two outs, brought the score to its final count. "After the (regular) season was over last Saturday ... on Sunday we talked a little bit," Arkansas catcher Brian Walker said. "When we were going good early in the season we were battling. We weren't an easy out, with two strikes, two outs. "I think that's shown the last two days. "Everyone has bought into the system and I think we've reaping the rewards of that, for sure. "I know when you get a lot of two-strike, two-out hits, it's a backbreaker. I know when get 'em against us, it's really bad." Coon Delivers Again Coon continued to be an RBI machine during Thursday's win against South Carolina. Coon drove in his 68th run of the season in the sixth inning with a single to right field. He went 3-for-4 and raised his batting average to .325. "I just tried to look for a chance to contribute," Coon said. "We had a lot of guys up there battling and trying to do something. We all tried to do that, we all wanted to try and put them away in the game. "I just happen to be part of it." Streak Finally Halted Arkansas designated hitter Jeff Nutt ended his long frustration at the plate Thursday, and it was a long time coming. Nutt snapped and 0-for-21 streak before he lined a one-out single to right field in the fifth inning against South Carolina. His hitless streak began during the Alabama series in mid-May when he went 0-for-14 for the weekend. In the two games following that, he went 0-for-6 and was 0-for-1 against South Carolina before his hit ended the slump. Nutt was 0-for-4 against Alabama in the SEC Tournament opener on Wednesday. He was 1-for-2 on Thursday. Tourney Tidbits Arkansas won its first two games of an SEC Tournament for just the third time. The Razorbacks also started 2-0 in the tournament back during the 1995 and 1998 seasons... The Razorbacks posted back-to-back shutout wins for the first time since March, 1989. That season, Arkansas defeated Western Michigan, 15-0 on March 4 before blanking Iowa State, 1-0, in the team's next contest on March 10. On Deck By going 2-0 and advancing to the tournament semifinals, Arkansas will get today off before playing again at 10 a.m. Saturday. The Razorbacks will play the winner of today's South Carolina-Florida game. The Gamecocks and Gators meet in an elimination game at 3 p.m. today.