Big Game Blaine lived up to his nickname once again.
Arkansas’ RHP Blaine Knight won his 13th game of the season, this time against hated rival Texas in the College World Series. He added UT ace Nolan Kingham to the list of vanquished opponents as the Omahogs cruised past the Longhorns, 11-5.
Knight has beaten almost all of the top pitchers in college baseball this year: Singer, Mize, Rolison, Kilkenny, Kowar, Hjelle, and now Kingham.
Knight battled without having his best stuff on Sunday. He wasn’t able to spot his fast ball but his slider was on point. Instead of trying to force the fastball he relied on what worked best, mainly a tight slider that was sitting at 82-85 MPH. He adjusted his strategy to spot the slider in the zone when needed and forced a few swings out of the zone.
Big Game worked 5 innings and gave up 4 hits and 2 runs on 81 pitches. Initially I thought head coach Dave Van Horn pulled him a little early but with reports that his tricep tightened up early in the game, it was definitely the right call.
If Arkansas can fight their way to the championship series, Knight will have had 7 days rest before he’s needed again.
Hog Bats Stay Hot
Before the CWS, I questioned if the Razorback bats would travel and the answer was a resounding yes. Arkansas got a run early on a lead off double by Cole and a single by Kjerstad in the first inning. WPS created lots of base traffic in the next 3 innings but couldn’t string anything together.
In the 5th, Dominic Fletcher hit a 2 run jack to take the lead. They got back after it in the 6th with a couple of singles and a walk parade that led to 2 more runs before the rain delay kicked in.
When play resumed the Hogs had a 5-2 lead with the bases loaded. Casey Martin singled to left on the 1st pitch he saw and the party was getting going. Kjersted drove in 2 with a single, Fletcher’s single drove in 2 more then Shaddy followed up with another RBI single. By the time UT’s 6th pitcher of the inning could end the carnage, the Omahogs led 11-2.
This was the ideal start for Arkansas. The Hogs are in a great position to make a title run in Omaha. They got yet another strong outing from Blaine Knight and scored 11 runs on 15 hits Big time players step up in big games and Knight and the Arkansas bats definitely answered the call.