Short Knight: Ace lasts 4 innings in Hogs' loss

By: Matt Jones
Published: Thursday, April 12, 2018
Arkansas starter Blaine Knight delivers to the plate Thursday, April 12, 2018, during the first inning against South Carolina at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas starter Blaine Knight delivers to the plate Thursday, April 12, 2018, during the first inning against South Carolina at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.

— Arkansas pitcher Blaine Knight wasn't injured, just inefficient Thursday night against South Carolina.

Eyebrows raised when Knight didn't come out for the fifth inning of the Razorbacks' 3-2 loss to the Gamecocks at Baum Stadium. The right-hander, who had out-dueled potential first-round draft picks in his past three starts, threw only 70 pitches in his shortest outing since last April at Auburn.

"Blaine just really didn't have very good stuff tonight," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "I think you could kind of tell that they were on him pretty good and we just felt like there was no reason to send him back out for the fifth."

Knight needed 25 pitches to get through a scoreless first inning, but South Carolina singled and doubled in the second to take a 1-0 lead. Arkansas had taken the lead by the time Knight left the game before the fifth inning, but he took a no-decision after allowing 1 run on 6 hits. He struck out 4.

It was the first time the Razorbacks lost a game started by Knight since Feb. 23 against Cal Poly. Knight was one of 40 players on the midseason watch list for the Golden Spikes Award released earlier Thursday.

"He labored to get through that first inning and threw a lot of pitches," Van Horn said. "It happens every now and then, you know."

It was the second time in five weeks that Knight failed to make it past the fifth inning of an SEC start, but this one was different than his 4 2/3-inning start against Kentucky on March 16. In that game, Knight had taken a line drive off his shin in the third inning.

"He didn't want to come out," Van Horn said of the South Carolina game. Knight was requested for the postgame interview room but did not speak to reporters after the game.

Barrett Loseke was charged with the loss after he gave up two-run home run in the fifth inning to South Carolina two-hole hitter Carlos Cortes.

Four Arkansas relievers - Loseke, Evan Lee, Cody Scroggins and Kole Ramage - combined to give up 4 hits and 1 walk, and strike out 5 in the remaining 5 innings.

"We thought the best option was to get (Knight) out when they did," Arkansas catcher Grant Koch said. "That's up to (pitching) Coach (Wes) Johnson and Coach Van Horn, and they obviously know what they're doing.

"Blaine is healthy and Blaine is fine....That was the decision that was made and our bullpen did a great job."

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