FAYETTEVILLE — Florida’s pitching staff came to Baum Stadium widely regarded as one of the best in the nation, with a strong starting rotation and an abundance of talented relievers.
The Gators haven’t exactly disappointed during its series at Arkansas. But after two games, the Razorbacks’ staff has left its own impression.
Arkansas got a strong performance on the mound for the second straight night from starter Randall Fant and reliever Barrett Astin during a 5-3 win in front of an announced crowd of 9,286 on Friday. The two combined to hold Florida’s potent lineup to seven hits — none after the fifth inning — helping Arkansas (32-14, 12-11 in Southeastern Conference) secure an SEC series win against No. 5 Florida (35-12, 17-6).
“We’ve got a good staff,” Arkansas catcher James McCann said. “I’d put up our staff against almost anybody in the nation. I know we’ll compete harder than anybody in the nation.”
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said Fant (2-3) didn’t exactly have his best stuff Friday night, but the sophomore battled throughout his six-inning stint. Florida scored runs in the second, third and fifth inning. But each time the Gators looked for more, Fant worked out of the jam.
The biggest threat came in the fifth inning, when the Gators put runners on first and third with no outs. Florida scored one run when Mike Zunino hit a grounder to shortstop, but the Razorbacks turned a double play to clear the bases. Fant got the last out of the inning to help the Razorbacks hold onto a 4-3 lead and then retired Florida in order in the sixth. Read the rest…