The Arkansas sophomore left-hander Smyly pitched a complete game, allowing no runs after the first inning as the No. 9 Razorbacks beat Georgia 10-2 in front of 8,273 fans and a national TV audience.
"In the first inning he left a couple of pitches up and when he threw the ball above the belt they hit it hard," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "He settled in the second inning-on and gave us the chance to settle in a little bit. It was kind of like in the first inning both teams got after it offensively, settled in for a couple of innings and we just started chipping away with two here and one there.
"We played well. We played a solid game, defense, pitching and slowly pulled away. The key to the game was Drew Smyly. He did a great job for us."
"It was definitely an experience getting to finish out a complete game," said Smyly, who came two outs away from a complete-game, no-hitter last year in an NCAA Regional at Oklahoma. "It was the first one I've had as a Razorback so it was definitely cool. To get the win was the most important thing."
Arkansas (29-6, 10-3 SEC) responded to Georgia's two-run first inning surge with one of its own in the bottom half of the inning. Andy Wilkins hit a three-run home run off the batter's eye in center field to give the Razorbacks a 3-2 lead they wouldn't relinquish.
"I think the home run was huge for confidence, not only for the team, but for me," Wilkins said. "I've been struggling of late. I'm happy I could help the team out but scoring in the first was motivation all around."
Wilkins finished the game 2-for-5 with four RBIs. Perhaps more impressively, he turned a pair of fantastic defensive plays in the sixth inning from his first base position, sliding for a ball in foul ground for the first out and fielding a hot shot two batters later, touching first and throwing out a runner at second.
It was one of three double plays on the night for the Razorback infield.
"It was awesome to make those plays," Wilkins said. "The one I slid for was just a right place at the right time. The ground ball was a rocket hit right at me. Fortunately enough I was able to put my glove down and make the play."
While the defense was rolling along the Arkansas offense continued its season-long prowess from the plate. The Razorbacks scored two in the fourth on a pair of two-out hits by Zack Cox and Wilkins to take a 5-2 lead.
The Hogs added at least one run in the final five innings, chasing Georgia (11-23, 3-10) starter Justin Grimm in the sixth inning. Arkansas capped its scoring with a Brett Eibner solo home run in the bottom of the eighth.
After struggling in the midweek and early Friday, Eibner finished the game 2-for-5 at the plate with a pair of RBIs.
"I'm sure that was good for his confidence," Van Horn said. "Hopefully that will lead him to put together a good game on the mound tomorrow, too."
The win was Arkansas' ninth straight and 16th in 17 games.
Around the Bases
Drew Smyly's complete game was the first for a Razorback since Brett Eibner pitched a complete game, one-hitter against Georgia last season…Monk Kreder went 1-for-4 Friday night and extended his team-leading hit streak to 17 games…Collin Kuhn stole his team-leading 14th base Friday night. Kuhn has done so in 14 attempts, ranking second in the Southeastern Conference in that category. Entering Friday, Kuhn was in the top 10 among conference players in eight statistical categories…Arkansas' win was its sixth straight in conference play. Over that span the Razorbacks have scored 66 runs and recorded 100 hits.