FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The No. 7 Arkansas Razorbacks jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first two innings on No. 4 Texas Tech and, then, was able to quiet the powerful Red Raider offense Tuesday night to earn a 5-1 win at Baum Stadium, their sixth top-five win of the year.
With three runs in the first and two in the second, the Arkansas (29-13) pitching and defense took over the remainder of the way, holding Texas Tech to no hits and only walked one over the final six innings. It's the 33rd game this year that Arkansas has walked four or less batters as a staff and 10th game they've held opponents to one run or less.
The win is also the sixth-straight midweek win for Arkansas and 24th win at home. The Hogs have been quite comfortable when playing at home as the pitching staff has racked up a 2.52 ERA, while the offense is hitting a combined .334 inside the friendly confines.
Four different Razorbacks recorded two hits in Tuesday night's game, while the team, combined, had 10 hits. It was the 25th game this year that the Razorback offense has recorded 10 or more hits in a game and the Hogs are 19-6 in those games.
Arkansas got up on Texas Tech starting pitcher Ryan Sublette early in the first inning, reaching its first five batters before recording the first out. Dominic Fletcher got the first RBI of the game when he singled home Eric Cole with the bases loaded. The next batter, Jared Gates, was hit by a pitch to drive in the second run. Then, Jordan McFarland hit into a bases-loaded double play, but was still able to get the third run home.
Fletcher finished the game 2-for-5 with two RBIs. It's his first multi-RBI game since March 17 against No. 4 Kentucky and sixth multi-hit performances in his last 11 games.
The Hogs added two more runs in the second after Fletcher came up big again with his second RBI of the night on a hard-hit single up the middle. His knock was preceded by a Luke Bonfield RBI single that helped spell the end for Sublette.
Junior Barrett Loseke was lights out from the bullpen, earning his first victory of the year after throwing 4.2 perfect innings, while striking out a career-high 10 batters. It's the second appearance that Loseke has made this year where he's struck out eight or more. Against Charlotte on March 21, Loseke struck out eight over three innings in his second start of the year. He's currently only allowed one run and two hits in appearances (3) that have lasted longer than three innings.
Overall, it was a strong night for the Razorback pitching staff as the Red Raiders were held to four hits, tying their lowest total in a game this season. As a team, Arkansas struck out 17 batters, its highest in a game this year and highest since striking out 18 against Grand Canyon on April 5 of last season.
Freshman Jackson Rutledge, who got the call for the start, was strong over 2.2 innings, as he scattered four hits and gave up just one earned run. He faced 13 batters and struck out three while throwing 48 pitches in his second start of the year.
After Rutledge, sophomore Evan Lee came in and began the shutdown of the Texas Tech offense. Lee struck out four over 1.2 innings, and didn't give up a hit, while walking only two. It's the fifth outing that Lee has had last longer than an inning this year, but it's his first no-hit outing of the season.
"A super job by our bullpen. They came in and located some pitches and pitched ahead in the count. Especially (Barrett) Loseke down the stretch. He might throw ball one, very rarely did he go 2-0, when he did he came back and threw a strike and worked the count back even and ended up getting a lot of strikeouts." – Head coach Dave Van Horn on the bullpen
"In baseball, you're going to win some games a lot of different ways. We've scored a lot of runs, we had two shutouts in one day. I didn't think we would shut down Texas Tech and hold them to one run with that offense but sometimes you get on a little bit of a roll and it happens. But hey, it's great, it's good for the pitchers. The confidence of the pitching staff. Our bullpen didn't do a great job this past weekend and it's really nice to see them come out and finish a game off for us." – Head coach Dave Van Horn on importance of win
"I told him after the game that's probably the best I've ever seen him pitch. I think what separated this one from other outings was his ability to make adjustments quickly on the fly. If you saw him miss with an off-speed or miss with a fastball, you saw him make adjustments really quickly. It was a great outing by him and it's good to see because I think he figured some stuff out tonight." – Grant Koch on Barrett Loseke's performance
"Personally, I was a little nervous, but I wouldn't say nervous as in scared, nervous as in anxious and excited and ready to pitch against them. Like I said, Jackson (Rutledge) came out there and Evan (Lee) came out there and absolutely dominated them, so by the time I came in I felt like they already established that we were going to pitch, we were going to throw off-speed and they already had the hitters timing off. So, it just made it even easier for me, they were the ones that really had the tough challenge of starting the game off." – Barrett Loseke on his nerves facing Texas Tech