FAYETTEVILLE — The No. 10 Arkansas Razorbacks pitching staff collected 10 strikeouts in their 11-1 eight-inning rout of Western Illinois Wednesday night at Baum-Walker Stadium.
Right-hander Marshall Denton made his first career start and gave up two hits and produced three strikeouts in three scoreless frames. The redshirt sophomore has had just one earnedrun in his 10 innings on the mound in 2019 while striking out 15. Denton was efficient against Western Illinois as the three innings was the second-longest of his career while the strikeouts were also the second-most.
“I thought that Marshall Denton did a great job getting us off to a good start on a windy day,” said Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn. “He didn’t give them anything, no walks, just kept throwing strikes and we fielded the ball and got back in the dugout. Pretty much everyone we put out there did their job. I think we walked them one time on the day and gave up four or five hits, but we were never really in any danger of giving up a big inning, so that was good.”
Freshman reliever Evan Taylor threw for two hitless innings and gave up one walk while fanning four, a season-high. In 5.1 innings, Taylor has yet to give up a run and has walked just three batters.
Elijah Trest, Zebulon Vermillion, and Liam Henry, all freshmen, closed out the last two innings.
The Hogs were about to have their third straight shutout until Western Illinois managed a run in the sixth inning. The run broke a streak of 23 straight scoreless innings thrown by an Arkansas pitcher going back to its 11-0 shutout of Louisiana Tech last Sunday.
As the Razorbacks embark upon Southeastern Conference play, the strikeout-to-walk ratio increases. Through 16 games, the Hogs pitching staff have collected 183 strikeouts to 45 walks, a 4.07 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Wednesday night was the ninth time in the last 10 games the Hogs have struck out 10-plus and the ninth time they have walked two or fewer.
“We’ve played 16 games and the competition is varied,” said Van Horn. “I thought for the most part, you take away maybe four or five innings throughout the first 16 games, we’ve played pretty solid defense and made some really good plays in the field. We’ve thrown a lot of strikes. We don’t walk a lot of people. I think anytime you’re coaching a team in baseball and you feel like the team is going to make the other team beat you, because we haven’t been beating ourselves too much.”
Before the game, both coaches agreed to have a run-rule if either team had a 10-run lead after seven innings. Arkansas reached that limit in the bottom of the eighth with pinch hitter Matt Goodheart hitting a RBI single.
Arkansas commences SEC play with the Missouri Tigers Friday at Baum-Walker Stadium with a 6:30 p.m. first pitch. Pregame will start at 6:00 p.m. on Caddo Country 98.9 FM and 670 AM.