Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll.
Killian gets his support as UA puts away Vandy
Arkansas first baseman Eric Fisher rounds the bases after hitting a home run during the game against Vanderbilt on Friday April 18, 2014, at Baum Stadium.
FAYETTEVILLE - One by one, the Arkansas players came up and hugged Trey Killian in left field at Baum Stadium late Friday night.
The opportunity to show love, like the run support they supplied against No. 18 Vanderbilt, had been a long time coming for the sophomore right-hander.
Killian (2-6) outdueled Vanderbilt ace Tyler Beede, held the Commodores (28-11 overall, 7-9 SEC) without an earned run and was rewarded for his solid work for the first time in four starts with a 6-2 victory before a crowd of 6,157.
Killian had not pitched with a lead of more than one run all season before the Razorbacks (24-15, 8-8) scored four runs off Beede (5-5) in the bottom of the first inning Friday night.
“It was awesome,” Killian said, who pitched 6 2/3 innings. “It’s always easier pitching with the lead, especially early in the game. You feel like you can throw a lot more pitches just over the plate, pitch to contact because you know you have that little cushion.”
Arkansas first baseman Eric Fisher hit a three-run home run on the first pitch he saw from Beede to give the Hogs a 4-0 lead. It was Fisher’s fourth home run in his past four SEC games.
“I’m just kind of slowing it down a little bit and getting my pitch and putting a good swing on it,” said Fisher, who hit a change-up from Beede over the wall in right field and added a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning to make it 6-2.
Killian, who lowered his ERA to 2.35, won for the first time since a 2-1 decision over Alabama on March 22. The Razorbacks’ six runs matched the total they had given Killian in his first six starts.
“I just asked the team before the game to go out and find a way to score some runs for Trey,” Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said. “Because he laid everything out on the line about four or five weeks in a row and pitched into the sixth, seventh, eighth, sometimes finished the game and saved our bullpen for the weekend, and we didn’t get him a win.
“Tonight they came out and punched in some runs, and it was a good team win.”
Killian ran out of steam in the seventh when Vanderbilt loaded the bases with two outs on singles by Zander Wiel, John Norwood and Nolan Rogers.
Killian was visibly displeased when Van Horn came to pull him, but the move worked as freshman Zach Jackson struck out No. 9 hitter Jason Delay on a sharp 3-2breaking ball.
“I think once he handed me the ball, I think he realized it was the right move,” Van Horn said of Killian. “It ended up being the right move. Thank goodness Jackson got him out.
It makes us all look good.” Said Killian, “I’m never happy when I get pulled out of the game you know? … Coach Van Horn knows what he’s doing, obviously. Luckily we’ve got guys like Zach Jackson here.” Arkansas scored four runs in the first against Beede.
Benintendi slapped a one-out single to right and advanced to third on a hit-and-run single by Joe Serrano. Brian Anderson walked to load the bases and Blake Baxendale drove in a run with a groundout to shortstop.
Fisher went after Beede’s first offering and pulled it over the wall in right.
“It was just a tough start, and the rhythm was a little bit slow at first,” Vanderbilt Coach Tim Corbin said of Beede’s outing. “But the more he got into the game, I thought he pitched well. He gave us a chance at least to settle the game down enough. But their pitching just didn’t allow us to do it.
Today’s game VANDERBILT AT ARKANSAS
WHEN 6:05 p.m. today
WHERE Baum Stadium, Fayetteville
RECORDS Vanderbilt 28-11, 7-9; Arkansas 24-15, 8-8
RANKINGS Vanderbilt is No. 18/16/12 in Baseball America/Collegiate Baseball/USA Today
RADIO RSP statewide radio network. Not all games will be carried by affiliates.
Check local listings.
INTERNET arkansasrazorbacks.com and ESPN3
PITCHING MATCHUP Vanderbilt: TBA;
Arkansas: Jalen Beeks (LHP: 5-2, 1.36 ERA)
SHORT HOPS Eric Fisher’s first-inning home run Friday gave him one in each of the last four SEC games and six for the year, tying him for third in the SEC. … The Razorbacks are 5-4 in games started by Beeks. … Arkansas is 2-3 in the middle games of its SEC series; Vanderbilt is 3-2. … Vanderbilt’s Friday starter Tyler Beede lost for the fifth time in six SEC starts and his ERA in conference games rose to 5.66.
THE WEEK AHEAD
TODAY vs. Vanderbilt, 6:05 p.m. (CST)
SUNDAY vs. Vanderbilt, noon (ESPN)
TUESDAY vs. Northwestern (La.) State, 6:35 p.m.
WEDNESDAY vs. Northwestern (La.)
State, 3:05 p.m.
Sports, Pages 21 on 04/19/2014