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Jameson McCausland

What you need to know: Arkansas

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On March 14th, Arkansas completed a 2-game midweek sweep against Texas with a 7-5 victory after winning the opener the night before, 13-4. The Razorbacks pounded out 23 hits between the two games and sent the Longhorns back to Austin with a 9-9 record. It was after those two games in Fayetteville that the switch flipped for Texas, as the Longhorns have gone 32-12 since.

Now, the two teams will meet again the opening round of the College World Series. Arkansas entered the NCAA Tournament as the #5 overall seed. The Razorbacks went 3-0 in the Fayetteville regional before welcoming South Carolina last weekend for the best-of-three Super Regional. After splitting the first two games, Arkansas dominated the Gamecocks, 14-4, in the decisive third game.

Here are some things to know about Arkansas:

  • 6’3 junior RHP Blaine Knight will likely take the ball for Arkansas. Knight is 12-0 with a 2.84 ERA this season and was drafted last week by the Baltimore Orioles in the 3rd round. He will utilize a fastball, slider/cutter, curveball and changeup. His fastball will sit in the low 90’s, but he has touched 95-96 at times this season.
    • The slider/cutter is his best secondary offering.
    • His command is superb, having only walked 23 in 101.1 innings.
  • In the bullpen, Arkansas has a very reliable closer in LHP Matt Cronin, who has a team leading 12 saves
    • Cronin recorded a save against Texas on March 14th, throwing 1 ⅔ scoreless innings and striking out 2. He will use a mid-90’s fastball with a good curveball.
  • RHP Jake Reindi is another weapon in the bullpen. Reindi was picked in the 17th round of the MLB draft by the Chicago Cubs and has compiled a 2.96 ERA on the season, notching 5 saves.
  • Arkansas finished the season with the top offense in the SEC, hitting .301 as a team
    • 3B Casey Martin leads the team with a .344 average and has 13 home runs.
  • 2B Carson Shaddy is hitting 3 points less than Martin (.341) but has also hit 13 home runs.
  • Freshman Heston Kjerstad and junior Eric Cole are the only two players to start all 63 games for the Razorbacks. Both players are tied for the team lead with 14 home runs.

 

Overall Thoughts

Blaine Knight will be one of the top pitchers Texas has faced this season. His ability to command all 4 of pitches will be a tough test for Texas. As David Pierce pointed out in his press conference yesterday, his undefeated record in SEC play should speak for itself. The best scenario for Texas would be a getting a couple runs early in the game and shifting the pressure to Arkansas. Nolan Kingham will have to effectively use his sinker and put hitters away more efficiently than his last start against Tennessee Tech.

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1. How do you think we respond to such a high quality pitcher? Have we faced someone like this before?

2. Will they pitch to Clemens?

3. What do you think caused such a shift in our season after that Arkansas trip? What happened on that trip to cause change?

Great write up, thanks!

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I am only going to mention this, then I must jet. The OSU starter in the 2 pm game yesterday was considered virtually anhittable. He was knocked out of the game after 2 1/2 innings, having hit 3 batters, allowing runs, and loading the bases. 

Omaha is a different animal. Go in, play your game, and have fun!

Hook ‘em!

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8 hours ago, Sirhornsalot said:

2. Will they pitch to Clemens? 

 

On the news here in Austin, they had the kid who will be starting for the Hogs on and he said he was going to throw his best stuff and if Clemens can hit it, so be it.

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8 hours ago, Sirhornsalot said:

1. How do you think we respond to such a high quality pitcher? Have we faced someone like this before?

2. Will they pitch to Clemens?

3. What do you think caused such a shift in our season after that Arkansas trip? What happened on that trip to cause change?

Great write up, thanks!

1. Texas has faced several high quality starters this season, and just last week they beat Travis Moths of Tennessee Tech, who entered the contest 13-2 and was an 8th round round selection in the MLB draft. Offensively, Texas will need to keep the ball out of the air (which probably needs to be the gameplan all week), and look to attack early in counts so Knight doesn't get in favorable counts where he can attack with any of his 4 pitches.

2. Like @tejasrulz mentioned above, Arkansas will attack Clemens if the situation calls for it. Now, if runners are on base and first base is open, you may see the Razorbacks approach him a little more cautiously. 

3. I'm not sure there was a big shift or change you can point at. Texas never stopped believing they were a good team, even after they started 9-9. You have to remember that prior to the Arkansas trip, Texas had just lost 3 of 4 to Stanford, who was the number 2 overall national seed in the tournament. After their trip to Fayetteville, the Longhorns won 7 of their next 8 games, and once the results began to show, the season took off.

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6 hours ago, java said:

I am only going to mention this, then I must jet. The OSU starter in the 2 pm game yesterday was considered virtually anhittable. He was knocked out of the game after 2 1/2 innings, having hit 3 batters, allowing runs, and loading the bases. 

Omaha is a different animal. Go in, play your game, and have fun!

Hook ‘em!

It happens. It happened to me. As a senior in HS, I was 12-0 with a 1-hitter on the resume. I also had three wins on three consecutive days. My fastball hit the 93-94 range consistently. The Reds and Phillies showed up at a game to clock me on the gun.

So we win our district and face Hallsville in the first round. I started game 1 at their place.

Everything was working. My fastball velocity was there. My breaking pitch was there. I thought I was going to have another good game.

Then the third inning happened. Three consecutive hitters. Three consecutive homers. I wanted to crawl into a hole. They hit everything I threw at them.

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