Lael Lockhart pitched like Kevin Kopps for over seven innings, the offense put up good numbers and Arkansas opened the SEC Tournament with an 11-2 win.
Georgia helped a lot, too.
“They walked a lot, gave us some things, made a couple errors,” Dave Van Horn said later, “and we took advantage of it.”
The Bulldogs threw the ball over just about everything but the plate, including a wild second inning where the Razorbacks drew four walks. Christian Franklin walked twice in the same inning.
Six runs crossed the plate and Georgia was off to walking a total of 14 batters in the game. Franklin walked three times in the game and Cayden Wallace duplicated that.
“We just kept chipping away after we scored the six,” Van Horn said.
He was wanted another big inning to put the game on ice, but never got it. Matt Goodheart somehow had six at-bats and didn’t draw a walk. He didn’t get a hit, either, and struck out four times.
“We never could really get that big hit in the middle of the game to put them away,” Van Horn said.
It never really mattered. The Hogs put up the six in the second inning, then one in the fourth, three in the fifth and another in the eighth.
Lockhart shut the Bulldogs down through six innings (giving up two hits and striking out 11 without walking anybody), then got into a little trouble in the seventh and Heston Tole came in and stopped any miracle rallies.
“Just a solid game by our team,” Van Horn said. “We didn’t really make any mistakes.”
And didn’t have to use much of the bullpen. Kopps probably wasn’t going in under just about any circumstances, but Van Horn didn’t have to use anybody other than Tole.
If the Hogs have a good run in this tournament, Lockhart’s outing will be something you can point to as getting it off to a good start.
“Lael Lockhart had a great game,” Van Horn said. Tthe key was keeping ahead and he was on a roll.”
The Hogs will play either Ole Miss or Vanderbilt on Thursday night at 8 p.m.