Dave Van Horn Pleased With Team After Two Wins Including Shutout Against Texas Where Pitching Staff Dominated

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Photo Courtesy of Arkansas Communications

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas rallied Saturday night to beat No. 3 Texas Tech, but then didn’t need to come from behind to down No. 9 Texas 4-0 Sunday evening.

The Razorbacks defeated the Red Raiders 13-9 with a potent offense then got outstanding pitching in the victory over Texas. A trio of Arkansas pitchers combined to strike out 15 Longhorns and only allowed two hits. Peyton Pallette was the starter for the Hogs.

“Pallette came out and did about as good as he could do, honestly,” Van Horn said. “I think the first breaking ball he threw was probably the best one he threw…so they knew he had it. Dropped it in for a strike and then obviously the fastball was sitting in the mid-90s for I think the first couple for sure. Gave us two quick innings. Obviously their starter gave them two quick innings. You kind of get a sense that it was going to come down to a big hit or maybe a mistake. But Pallette, he did a tremendous job for us, just coming out, throwing strikes and getting us in the dugout.”

Caden Monke was the first pitcher out of the bullpen for the Hogs. He only faced three hitters as he did his job to get the Hogs out of the fifth inning. It was good enough to earn him the victory.

“We wanted to show him a little confidence,” Van Horn said. “That was good for him. Got us through that inning. We didn’t have to bring in (Caleb) Bolden with men on base, which is what we wanted. We wanted to start him fresh in an inning.”

Bolden pitched the final four innings and struck out seven Texas hitters while not allowing a hit. He thus saved the Arkansas bullpen that was heavily used on Saturday night.

“What I saw was a really good pitcher,” Van Horn said. “He was in and out with that fastball. He busted them in. He was throwing it anywhere from – I don’t look up all the time. I think I saw a 92, maybe 93 once or twice. The fastball moves and runs. He had a really good slider tonight. He threw a few changeups. 

“There were a couple of times that we felt like we just would have liked to see maybe might have seen him pitch a little more to contact and not get deep into counts. But his stuff was good. You know he did everything we wanted him to do. Obviously we throught about starting him and he was probably one that got left out of starting. He handled it real well and his start is coming.”

On Saturday night in the win over the Red Raiders, Arkansas’ pitchers allowed nine runs and walked seven hitters while hitting three others. The pitching was completely different on Sunday.

“Well, I would say our pitching today was a lot better, No. 1,” Van Horn said. “We didn’t walk people, hit people. Well we hit the same guy twice. We hit them three times actually come to think of it. Both times, or all three times we hit him there might have been two outs. We just pitched well. We pitched ahead in the count and kept them off balance a little bit. We didn’t get them the big inning, obviously. We didn’t give them anything.”

In the third inning, the Longhorns had the bases loaded with just one out. Pallette got a strikeout and then a pop up to Jalen Battles at shortstop to end in the inning and get out of the jam. Van Horn was pleased with how Pallette stepped up.

“He did,” Van Horn said. “Coach (Matt) 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.’

“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 flyout, 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.”

Since he considered starting Bolden this weekend, is there a chance he inserts into the four-game home series as a starter this week?

“Yeah, there’s a real good chance,” Van Horn said. “Here it is Sunday night and we play Thursday through Sunday. So he has time to recover and get out there. But yeah, get a couple days off. One’s going to be a travel day. Then we we play four days in a row. So it’s definitely going to stretch our pitching staff. It’s just good to see him go out and do what he did. I think it’s easy to put him out there to start.”

Van Horn has said he has 7-8 pitchers he feel could be starters for this team. He hasn’t even had to use Connor Noland and Patrick Wicklander yet in the first two games. Van Horn has talked about his potential starters being used in long relief such as Bolden on Sunday night.

“We call it bridging,” Van Horn said. “If one guy can go give us four or five [innings], the next guy can give us four and finish the game, that’s great. You’re going to use three pitchers in just about every game out anyway. 

“So, yeah, we plan on doing this some. But then it just depends on if some guys really take off and take those jobs, and they build their pitching arms up a little bit and they give us seven, eight innings before the season ends.”

Lael Lockhart gets the start tonight against No. 10 TCU. True freshman Jaxon Wiggins is someone who could see action tonight as well.

“Well, as far as Lockhart tomorrow, he’ll pitch until it’s time to take him out or he hits his pitch count,” Van Horn said Sunday night. “We’ve got three or four guys out there who are ready to go. I really don’t want to mention any names. We’re just going to do what we have to do to win the game. If a matchup is somebody who’s already pitched in the first two games, that’s who we’re going to put out there if they’re available. If not, we’ll go with a new arm. Wiggins is a guy that jumps out to me just a little bit. We want to get him on the mound before we leave here, if at all possible, but if it doesn’t work out that way, then we’ll probably give him the ball one of these games coming up.”

The game tonight is slated to start at 6 p.m.

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