Take a whiff: Loseke, Hogs stifle Raiders with 17 strikeouts

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Arkansas pitcher Barrett Loseke throws during a game against Texas Tech on Tuesday, April 24, 2018, in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas pitcher Barrett Loseke throws during a game against Texas Tech on Tuesday, April 24, 2018, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Barrett Loseke brought his strikeout game to the mound Tuesday night for the No. 7 Arkansas Razorbacks.

Loseke posted 10 of the team's season-high 17 strikeouts, and the Razorbacks jumped on No. 4 Texas Tech early for a 5-1 victory before an estimated crowd of 6,871 at Baum Stadium.

Loseke, a junior right-hander from Tulsa, entered with one out in the fifth inning and got a double play ground out on his third pitch. He struck out the side in the sixth and ninth innings en route to his career high in strikeouts. He also didn't allow a hit or walk in 4⅔ innings.

"Personally, it was a step ahead of what I had been doing," said Loseke, who credited starter Jackson Rutledge and Evan Lee with establishing a pitching pattern against the Red Raiders. "They showed how to mix off speed and beat them with a fastball."

The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (29-13) notched its highest strikeout total since fanning a school-record-tying 18 against Grand Canyon on April 5, 2017. The Razorbacks did not allow a hit after the third inning.

"Just a super job by our bullpen," Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said. "They came in and located some pitches, especially Loseke down the stretch.

"They take healthy swings. They've got big numbers. You can see it in their batting practice."

Arkansas snapped a three-game losing streak but continued a recent trend of stranding lots of runners. The Razorbacks left 13 runners on base, including runners in scoring position in all eight innings they batted.

The Red Raiders, the nation's No. 4 team in batting average (.318), managed four hits off three Arkansas pitchers, the same number of errors they committed.

"We have to do a better job at recognizing the strike zone and adjusting," Texas Tech Coach Tim Tadlock said. "That's just part of baseball. Their pitchers really threw the ball well, especially the last guy who we didn't make a lot of contact against."

The Red Raiders had been shut out twice, 2-0 at Baylor and 1-0 vs. West Virginia. They matched their lowest hit total of the season.

"I didn't think we'd shut down Texas Tech and hold them to one run with that offense," Van Horn said. "It was great to see, and something we obviously needed to save some arms for the weekend."

Loseke picked up his first save of the year behind the winning pitcher Lee (3-2).

"Their approach was to do damage," Arkansas catcher Grant Koch said of the Red Raiders. "Our approach tonight was to just mix pitches basically. Mix pretty good and use the curveball and change-up, any secondary stuff the guys had."

Injuries to infielders Carson Shaddy (hand) and Casey Martin (hip) caused Van Horn to overhaul his lineup, and the new configuration gave Texas Tech starter Ryan Sublette (0-2) fits through the first two innings.

Eric Cole, batting leadoff for the first time this season, singled back through the box to open the bottom of the first. Heston Kjerstad hit a potential double play ball to first baseman Cameron Warren, but his high throw to second came out of the sun and shortstop Michael Davis could not field it.

Luke Bonfield drew a walk to load the bases, then Dominic Fletcher drove in the first run with a single to right. Jared Gates drove in another run while being hit by a pitch, and the Hogs made it 3-0 on Jordan McFarland's double play grounder.

Arkansas made it 5-0 in the second with a rally that all started with two outs. Cole was hit by a pitch on his right foot to get things going, then Kjerstad singled to center. Bonfield's single drove in Cole, then Fletcher's chopper single that second baseman Gabe Holt couldn't field cleanly brought in Kjerstad for the fifth run.

The Red Raiders, who stranded the bases loaded in the first inning, scratched out their first run against Rutledge in the third. Holt singled to open the frame, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Brian Klein's single. Another wild pitch and a passed ball moved Klein to third base, but the next two batters hit line drives to second baseman Hunter Wilson. Lee came on to strike out Zach Rheams to end the threat.

Both teams wasted chances to score in the next several innings. Nine-hole batter Zayne Williams and Klein drew walks for the Red Raiders in the fifth off Lee around a strikeout of Holt, but Loseke came on to induce a double play.

The Razorbacks left a runner at third base in four consecutive innings starting with the third while stranding six runners in those innings.

Their best chance came in the fifth after Biggers hit a one-out double. Grant Koch followed with a smash to the wall in left field, where Grant Little got a glove on it but could not hold on. Biggers had to hold at second on the play and only got to third. Texas Tech right-hander Dylan Dusek rallied to strike out Wilson and retire Cole on a line drive to shortstop.

Sports on 04/25/2018

SHORT HOPS

Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said infielder Casey Martin (hip) probably could have played Tuesday and could play tonight. … Arkansas RF Eric Cole took a pitch from Texas Tech starter Ryan Sublette off the inside of his right ankle in the second inning and was slowed the rest of the game. … Arkansas CF Dominic Fletcher pushed his average to .303 after opening 2 for 2, but finished 2 for 5 and dropped back to .297. Fletcher was last at .300 after Game 3 of the season. … Former Arkansas golfer Austin Cook (Jonesboro) threw out the first pitch and his evening was being detailed by a camera crew for a profile on Inside the PGA Tour. … Weather.com gives a 70 percent chance for light rain at game time at Baum Stadium tonight. … The Red Raiders committed four errors.

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