Early Pitchers' Duel

The two teammates this past summer on the Wareham Gatemen of the Cape Cod League followed through with the promise they each made to try and beat their friend.

Washington State senior left-hander Matt Way struck out 10 and left after six innings with a 3-1 lead. Arkansas junior left-hander Dallas Keuchel wasn't as overpowering, but he kept Arkansas in the game by stranding 11 runners in seven innings.

"I thought it was just a great pitchers' duel," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said.

Cougars coach Donnie Marbut reluctantly pulled Way before the seventh, citing Way's pitch count, as well as his complaints of a "sore forearm." Van Horn was pleased to see Way come out of the contest.

Van Horn knew from the moment the NCAA regionals were announced that Arkansas would likely struggle against its game 1 starting pitcher.

"When we saw we drew Washington State, we knew we were going to draw Way," Van Horn said. "There's probably not a better left-handed pitcher in the country. He has maybe the best changeup."

Keuchel commented afterward that his velocity "wasn't there." But the Tulsa native showed plenty of fight in his home state, constantly getting outs when he needed them most.

He even fielded his position well, sprinting off the mound for a two-out, fifth-inning bunt and narrowly throwing out Derek Jones at first to save a run.

"I was just trying to stick with it," Keuchel said. "I didn't have my best stuff. I had to rely on my offspeed more than I usually do. I just hung in there."



Welcome Back, Scott

Shortstop Scott Lyons finally returned to Arkansas' starting lineup Friday. Van Horn didn't put Lyons in the field, but he penciled in the 6-foot, 185-pound senior as the Razorbacks' designated hitter, batting third.

Lyons struggled in his first four at-bats, striking out twice and flying out twice, but smacked his eighth home run this season during the Hogs' nine-run eighth.

"Just to see my name again in the lineup, it almost felt like opening day," said Lyons, who hasn't started since May 15 because of a bruised shoulder. "I've been dying to get back in the there. Luckily, I got back in there and produced a little bit. I was rusty a little bit early on, though."

When Lyons hit his eighth-inning homer, he looked for a first-pitch fastball from new WSU pitcher James Wise and got it.

"I had a feeling he'd try to blow a fastball by me," Lyons said. "I was not going to get out twice in that inning. That would've been embarrassing."

Van Horn and Lyons both said they were unsure whether Lyons could return to the field for tonight's game.



Playing Time Earned

Van Horn had plenty of positive things to say after Friday's victory about freshman right fielder Jarrod McKinney.

Not only did McKinney save three runs with his diving catch with two outs in the seventh inning. He also laid down a perfectly-placed squeeze bunt to tie the game at 3 during Arkansas' eighth-inning explosion.

The decision to start McKinney, who entered Friday's game hitting .196, could be questioned by some. But Van Horn said the Hughes Springs, Texas, native had earned his playing time in recent weeks.

"He did well last weekend (at the SEC Tournament), and I think he deserved to play," Van Horn said. "He can beat you in a lot of ways.

"He's been playing good defense. He's got a great arm. He can throw people out. He can bunt. He's been swinging really well in practice. I just think he kind of earned it."



Kuhn's Drop

Freshman center fielder Collin Kuhn suffered an embarrassing moment in the seventh that cost Arkansas a run.

He simply dropped Jared Prince's fly ball with no outs in the seventh, letting Greg Lagreid score to put the Cougars up 3-1. Kuhn was so intent on trying to throw out a tagged-up Lagreid at the plate that he momentarily took his eyes off the ball.

Kuhn bounced back in the eighth when he gave Arkansas a 5-3 lead he bunted for a hit with two outs.



Short Hops

Junior right-hander Mike Bolsinger was flawless in relief. He struck out one during two perfect innings to close out Friday's victory. Bolsinger improved to 5-4 this season. ... Way struck out McKinney in the fourth for his eighth strikeout of the game and his 122nd of the season. That broke the Washington State single-season record for strikeouts, set by Aaron Sele in 1990. ... Sophomore first baseman Andy Wilkins entered Friday's game with only three hits in his previous 21 at-bats. Wilkins went 3-for-5 with two RBI against the Cougars. ... Sophomore Jacob House pinch hit in the eighth and dropped in a bloop single to left-center field, his first hit since May 3.





INSIDE PITCH

ARKANSAS VS. Oklahoma

WHEN: 7 p.m.

WHERE: L. Dale Mitchell Park, Norman, Okla.

ON THE AIR: KFAY-AM 1030; KURM-AM 790, FM 100.3; FM 103.1; KYNG-AM 1590; KHGG-AM 1580

VIDEO: Online at www.soonersports.com.

RECORDS: Arkansas 35-22; Oklahoma 42-18.

SERIES RECORD: Arkansas leads 12-9

LAST MEETING: Arkansas won 8-7 in 10 innings on April 28 in Fayetteville

TODAY'S PROBABLE STARTERS: Arkansas RHP Brett Eibner (7-3, 4.14); Oklahoma RHP Michael Rocha (5-2, 4.24)

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