Arkansas 9, Centenary 0

Arkansas pitchers Travis Hill and Evan Cox combine on two-hit shutout and Andy Wilkins drives home five runs as the Razorbacks blank Centenary 9-0 Tuesday night before 3,062 fans at Baum Stadium.

FAYETTEVILLE - Add one more name to the list of starting pitcher possibilities for Arkansas.

Making his first appearance in almost a week, senior Travis Hill was in top form Tuesday. In six innings of work, Hill limited Centenary to just two hits and combined with reliever Evan Cox on a 9-0 shutout win in front of 3,062 at Baum Stadium.

"I have had a couple of rough outings, and this was a great thing tonight to be able to come out and perform," Hill said. "The defense worked well behind me and it's real important to build that confidence up heading into a SEC series."

After beginning the season as the Arkansas closer, Hill's last two outings have come as a starter. But after an average effort at Nebraska last week, the senior righthander was at his best against the Gents (13-5).

"The first inning, you noticed (Travis) was just throwing the fastball and moving it around a little bit and mixing in a changeup," Razorbacks coach Dave Van Horn said. "Then around the third or fourth inning, he threw a few breaking balls.

"It really was just trying to get some work spotting his fastballs. And I think it gave the coaches a chance to relax a little bit and just let him work on his fastball and location."

Hill and Cox - who allowed no hits over the last three innings - combined on Arkansas' first two-hit shutout since May 23, 2007, when Nick Schmidt threw a complete-game two-hitter against Alabama at the SEC Tournament. Hill also notched a career-high six innings in the win and struck out a career-best four hitters.

Now, the question is whether or not Hill is a viable candidate to be a weekend starter for the Diamond Hogs.

"I think what we're really trying to do with him is give him some work so he'll be ready to pitch on the weekend," Van Horn said. "But yeah, he could pitch on a Tuesday or Wednesday, throw four or five innings in relief and still be ready to go on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, or whatever.

"He feels like if he works during the week, he'll be more effective. And he's got one of those arms it just seems like he's got a rubber arm."

While Hill and Cox were rolling along, Arkansas (15-8) also took care of business in a hurry at the plate. The Razorbacks scored eight of their nine runs in the first three innings, sparked by a five-RBI game from Andy Wilkins.

"I thought we did a really good job," Van Horn said. "They were 13-4 coming in here and the lefty (Johnny Noland) they threw against us had a tremendous season last year. He pitched well against us last year and pitched well against LSU, but he was a little wild and we got some timely hits and scored four runs with two outs in the big inning."

Arkansas and Centenary close out the two-game series at 3:05 p.m. today. The Razorbacks will pitch Sam Murphy, while the Gents are expected to counter with Dakota Robinson.

"Sam pitched well for us (at Nebraska), so he deserves a start," Van Horn said. "And we've got three or four other guys ready to go, too."


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