FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Probably should not have needed evidence, but for those who did, take a look at Arkansas baseball Tuesday night against Texas Tech.
The Diamond Hogs, straight off a 3-game sweep at the hands of Mississippi State in Starkville, dispatched the No. 4 team in the nation 5-1.
Yeah, Dave Van Horn’s team is still good.
Arkansas jumped on early, scoring 5 runs in the first two innings. When the hitting looked strong again to begin the third inning, Texas Tech yanked starter Ryan Sublette. All Arkansas starter Jackson Rutledge and his bullpen needed to do was hold the fort.
They did so just fine. Rutledge, Evan Lee and Barrett Loseke combined to give up 1 run on 4 hits and 3 walks. They struck out 17 among them, too.
Really, it was the most impressive part of the night, not the hitting. Sublette entered the game with a 8.62 earned-run average in five starts. He isn’t exactly ace material. On top of that Arkansas managed just 3 hits against the rest of the Texas Tech pitching staff, which included more regulars. Arkansas pitching, however, kept Tech’s regular lineup from doing much at all. Josh Jung and Grant Little both entered with batting averages above .400. The two went a combined 1 of 7 on Tuesday.
Most importantly for Arkansas, the victory snaps the three-game losing streak. Had it stretched to five games ahead of Arkansas’ set with Alabama on the weekend, the Razorbacks would have almost definitely required a sweep to avoid dropping in the national polls again. Polls don’t mean a lot, technically, but the more teams ahead of the Diamond Hogs, the harder it will be to host a regional and potentially a super regional come NCAA Tournament time.
Grading the Hogs
It wasn’t actually perfect, but given who pitched and the lineup they went up against, may as well have been.
Arkansas was helped by 4 Texas Tech errors. Still the Diamond Hogs had 10 hits, 4 walks and had a batter hit by a pitch.
The Big Stick + The Arm
He was perfect, actually. Loseke entered in the fifth inning for Lee and retired all 13 batters he faced. Ten of them were by strikeout.
Stick: Luke Bonfield
The senior was slumping a bit entering Tuesday. Bonfield reached three times against Texas Tech, with 2 hits and a walk.
The two teams are supposed to play another game Wednesday. BUt rain is in the forecast for the afternoon and evening. With the game on television, it can’t be moved up in the day. The weekend sees Alabama in Fayetteville for three games.