Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Razorback Baseball Notebook: Pallette strong in first start
Arkansas pitcher Peyton Pallette throws during a game against Texas on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Arlington, Texas.
If Arkansas right hander Peyton Pallette was nervous in his first career start, he didn’t show it early Sunday night against Texas.
Pallette was electric in his first two innings when he struck out five of the six Texas batters he faced, including all three during the second inning.
Pallette’s fastball was consistently at 95-96 mph, according to radar guns inside the stadium.
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“Pallette, he did a tremendous job for us, just coming out, throwing strikes and getting us in the dugout,” Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said.
Pallette typically would have earned the win despite throwing 4 1/3 innings because he was on a low pitch count. But wins are at the discretion of the scorekeeper, who gave it to Caden Monke because he pitched the Razorbacks through the end of the fifth inning.
Monke recorded two outs.
Pallette allowed 1 hit and 1 walk, and struck out 8. He also hit Texas catcher DJ Petrinsky on two occasions.
The second-year freshman Pallette was cruising until a call didn’t go his way with one out in the third inning. A 0-2 pitch was called a ball on the outside corner against Petrinsky, and Pallette hit him two pitches later.
Texas’ Murphy Stehly followed with a single through the left side and leadoff hitter Austin Todd walked in five pitches.
After Arkansas pitching coach Matt Hobbs visited with Pallette on the mound, he struck out Eric Kennedy and got Mike Anico to pop up on a 3-2 pitch to strand the bases loaded.
“Coach Hobbs took a mound visit there. He probably said, ‘Hey, you want to work out of the stretch here or you want to go out of the windup? It’s your choice,’” Van Horn said.
“He’d been out of the stretch for a couple hitters in a row and he decided to go out of the windup, and I think he had a strikeout and a fly out, and he got in the dugout.
“Once you do that once, you usually find a way of how to do that again and build some confidence there. That was the inning that he had to get through, and he did it.”
Pallette was strong again in an 11-pitch fourth inning when he got a pair of fly outs and struck out Trey Faltine.
"He's got a really good breaking ball, and he's developed a changeup as of late," Arkansas designated hitter Brady Slavens said. "He's not fun to hit against. He's a really good pitcher."
Better in Texas
Arkansas is breaking out of a slump in the Lone Star State.
Prior to beating Texas Tech in the season opener, the Razorbacks had lost five consecutive games in the state of Texas, including three during a similar event early last season, the Shriners College Classic in Houston.
Last year the Razorbacks lost to Oklahoma, Texas and Baylor by a combined five runs in Houston. Arkansas committed seven errors in those three games.
In 2019, Arkansas lost the final two games of a series at Texas A&M to close the regular season.
Texas has won 56 of 89 games all-time against Arkansas, but the Razorbacks have been making up ground of late.
Since 2018, Arkansas is 5-2 in games against the Longhorns. The Razorbacks have won eight of 13 meetings against Texas since joining the SEC.
Arkansas radio play-by-play announcer Phil Elson called two games from Globe Life Field on Sunday, but only one was played there.
Elson, who is the Razorbacks’ baseball and women’s basketball voice, called the Arkansas women’s basketball game from inside the baseball stadium via a video feed.
The No. 18 Arkansas women defeated LSU 74-64 in Baton Rouge, La. The women’s game ended around 7 p.m., about 45 minutes before the baseball game began.
Radio crews are not allowed to travel for SEC men’s or women’s basketball games this season and have been calling those games from TV feeds.
Perfect in Game 1
Dave Van Horn improved to 19-0 in season openers as the Razorbacks’ head coach with Arkansas 13-9 victory over Texas Tech early Sunday.
The Razorbacks have won 27 consecutive season openers dating to 1995.
Although this weekend’s College Baseball Showdown is not being billed as a challenge between the SEC and Big 12, fans are no doubt keeping score.
And with the wins Sunday by Arkansas over Texas and Ole Miss over Texas Tech, the three SEC teams in the event are ensured a winning cumulative record. SEC teams are 5-1 entering Monday’s games.
The only SEC loss came Sunday afternoon when TCU defeated Mississippi State 3-2.
Arkansas is scheduled to play TCU, Ole Miss is scheduled to play Texas, and Mississippi State is scheduled to play Texas Tech on Monday.
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