Hogs blank Texas behind Slavens' bat, solid pitching
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Three pitchers combined for a two-hit shutout and Brady Slavens provided the offense in Arkansas’ second win of the season Sunday night.
A three-run home run by the junior college transfer broke the game open in the sixth inning, allowing the No. 12 Razorbacks to coast to a 4-0 win over No. 13 Texas at the State Farm College Baseball Showdown in Arlington, Texas.
In addition to making it 2-0 against a pair of ranked teams, it was Arkansas’ sixth win in eight tries against the Longhorns. Despite that recent success, the Razorbacks hadn’t shutout their former Southwest Conference rival since 1988, a span of 25 games.
“I don’t get all wound up about it, honestly,” head coach Dave Van Horn said about the rivalry. “It’s just another game to me. … It’s hard to say it’s just another win, because maybe some of our fans love it when we beat Texas in anything, but to me, it’s just a good win for our program.”
On the mound, right-handers Peyton Pallette and Caleb Bolden threw 4 1/3 and 4 scoreless innings, respectively, sandwiched around two-thirds of an inning by left-hander Caden Monke.
After its staff gave up nine earned runs on nine hits and 10 free passes - with all six pitchers being charged with at least one earned run - the night before, Arkansas’ trio was nearly unhittable Sunday. They scattered seven base runners and struck out 15 Longhorns.
It was the most strikeouts by the Razorbacks since they had 15 against Grambling State on April 30, 2019, and their most against a major opponent since opening up SEC play that season with 15 against Missouri.
“We just pitched well,” Van Horn said. “We pitched ahead in the count and kept them off balance a little bit. We didn’t give them the big inning, obviously. We didn’t give them anything.”
Here’s a recap of everything you need to know from Arkansas’ shutout win over Texas…
A second-year player out of Benton, Pallette has seen a significant jump in velocity since arriving in Fayetteville and showed enough during the offseason to earn a spot in the opening weekend rotation.
Making the first start of his collegiate career, the right-hander was electric Sunday night. He struck out five of the first six batters he faced, needing only 24 pitches to zip through the first two innings.
All five of his strikeouts came on 95 mph fastballs, according to D1Baseball’s Kendall Rogers, and none of his fastballs were slower than that.
“Pallette came out and did about as good as he could do, honestly,” Van Horn said. “I think the first breaking ball he threw was probably the best one he threw…so they knew he had it. Dropped it in for a strike and then obviously the fastball was sitting in the mid-90s for I think the first couple (innings) for sure.”
After retiring his seventh straight Texas batter to start the game, Pallette got into some trouble in the third inning. He plunked DJ Petrinsky on a pitch that got away from him, then Murphy Stehly hit a ground ball through the left side and Austin Todd drew a walk to load the bases.
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