UA baseball coach Van Horn happy about all involved

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Arkansas Bucknell Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, during the inning at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas Bucknell Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, during the inning at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas Razorbacks baseball Coach Dave Van Horn considered the opening weekend a rousing success for his club, which swept Bucknell by the scores of 14-2, 32-4 and 3-1 in varying weather conditions at Baum Stadium.

The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville put up SEC-best numbers with a .398 team batting average, 8 home runs and 49 runs scored.

Senior second baseman Carson Shaddy earned SEC Player of the Week honors for hitting .571 with 2 home runs, 4 walks and an SEC-best 9 RBI.

Shaddy's .750 on-base percentage is third in the SEC, behind freshman teammate Heston Kjerstad's .769 and the .765 put up by Missouri's Kameron Misner. Kjerstad leads the league with a .667 batting average, while Arkansas outfielder Eric Cole is tied for third (.600), Shaddy is sixth and Jared Gates is tied for ninth (.500).

"Overall, I thought it was a great weekend for our team because we got to play every player that I'm going to play," Van Horn said. "Seventeen different hitters got to hit.

"We threw every pitcher that we have, and they got the chance to at least get their feet wet and maybe hopefully get a little bit of the nervousness out and be ready for their next opportunity."

The Razorbacks posted a team ERA of 1.67, which tied for fourth in the SEC.

Of the 15 pitchers employed by Van Horn and pitching coach Wes Johnson, 11 of them allowed no earned runs. Only freshman Zebulon Vermillion was touched for more than one earned run among all pitchers.

Leading the way was ace right-hander Blaine Knight, who gave up no hits and walked two in his five innings. Knight was one of eight SEC pitchers to throw at least five innings without allowing a run, but he was the only one not to allow a hit.

Freshman right-hander Caleb Bolden, a potential starter, gave up 2 hits and no runs in his 3 innings, and fellow freshmen Jackson Rutledge and Kole Ramage threw 2 innings each, allowing 1 hit and no runs.

Sophomore Isaiah Campbell had to battle through a 31-pitch first inning, but the big right-hander settled down and permitted just 1 earned run on 3 hits in 4 innings for a 2.25 ERA.

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The group posted 31 strikeouts, 15 hits and 10 walks in 27 innings against the outmanned Bison.

Sunday starter Keaton McKinney lasted just 2 innings in his first start after Tommy John surgery, but the combination of Matt Cronin, Bolden, Rutledge and Jake Reindl (1 save) held Bucknell off the board on 5 hits and a pair of walks in 7 innings.

"It was a full team effort from them," Arkansas catcher Grant Koch said. "So many guys came in and got the job done, did what they were supposed to do, threw strikes.

"Even if guys gave up hits, walks, they kept their composure. So many guys threw. For a lot of guys, it was their first time to throw, so it was really good to see a lot of composure out of those young guys, too."

Van Horn said Koch signaled in many of the pitches, particularly for McKinney.

"Grant called a lot of the game early and then I would say it was probably 50/50 from the middle of the game on, coach Johnson and Grant," Van Horn said.

The Razorbacks will face Arizona (3-0) on Wednesday in San Diego before playing Cal Poly, San Diego State and San Diego in the Tony Gwynn Legacy Tournament on the weekend.

Sports on 02/20/2018

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