Chris Murray: Trey Killian Sharp for Hogs; UCA At It Again


trey killian

Trey Killian looks to be fulfilling the promise of his talent. The sophomore right-hander from Mountain Home served as the stopper for the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday, tossing his second straight complete game in a 2-1 win over Alabama.

That came one day after a disastrous 17-9 loss, where the Crimson Tide score 15 of its runs in the middle innings. Faced with the prospect of losing a second straight SEC series, Killian answered the bell in a major way. He struck out seven while allowing just four hits, good enough to earn SEC Pitcher of the Week honors. Killian made just one SEC start in 2013 and struggled. That seemed to shake his confidence for the rest of the season. Through two SEC starts this season, Killian doesn’t seem to be lacking in any area.

Chris Oliver was nearly as impressive on Sunday, firing seven shutout innings of four-hit baseball. Krisjon Wilkerson tripled and scored in the second inning for the game’s only run, as the Hogs took the series win from ‘Bama. Michael Gunn worked two scoreless innings for the save. He now has four saves and has yet to allow a run in 12 innings.

So, pair those conference wins five mid-week wins over Grambling State and Mississippi Valley State (including Wednesday’s victory in the Hogs’ annual trip to Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock) and suddenly the Razorbacks have won eight out of nine. They are 16-8 overall and sit at .500 in SEC play, 3-3.

The Hogs head to Starkville, Miss., for a three-game set starting tonight with Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are ranked 16th nationally, with a record of 18-9 overall and 4-2 in the SEC, having won series against Georgia and Vanderbilt. MSU’s Friday night starter, Preston Brown, is 3-0 with a 1.12 ERA in 32 innings.

Like the Razorbacks, the Bulldogs have struggled to score at times, batting just .268 as a team. Slugging first baseman Wes Rea has driven in 23 runs already, and has an OPS of .854. Demarcus Henderson’s on-base percentage is near .500 and he been successful on all nine of his stolen base attempts.

Jalen Beeks returns to the bump tonight (6:30 p.m. start), despite a shaky performance against Alabama. Dave Van Horn went to his bullpen early, but it supplied little relief. Beeks gave up two earned runs in three-plus innings, while Zach Jackson, Jackson Lowery, Dominic Taccolini and Landon Simpson all got hit hard.

Killlian matches up with lefty Ross Mitchell on Saturday (2 p.m.), while it’s Oliver and MSU’s Trevor Fitts in Sunday’s finale (1:30 p.m.).

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Allen Gum’s UCA Bears are at it again. UCA treated the No. 16 Sam Houston State Bearkats to a three-game sweep last weekend in Conway.

Connor Gilmore oddly went the distance in the Bears’ 9-7 win on Friday. Wesley Hoover homered, and Justin Treece drove in three runs and scored twice. Chris Caudle notched UCA’s second straight complete game on Saturday, scattering seven hits in a 4-2 win. On Sunday, UCA built a 6-0 lead and held on to win 6-4. Nick Rougeau and Scott Zimmerle drove in two runs each.

The Bears travel to Nacogdoches, Texas, for a three-gamer with Stephen F. Austin starting tonight. The Lumberjacks are 10-13 overall, 2-4 in the Southland.

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Arkansas State improved to 5-1 in the Sun Belt Conference by winning a road series at UT-Arlington last weekend. The Red Wolves followed that up with a win Tuesday over Memphis before falling to Missouri State on Wednesday in Springfield, Mo. ASU (14-11 overall) is one game back of league-leading UL-Lafayette and plays at Western Kentucky this weekend.

UALR dropped two out of three to South Alabama last weekend at home. The Trojans are 1-5 in conference play and 11-10 overall, and they play at UL-Monroe this weekend.

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