HOOVER, Ala. Alabama and Arkansas clashed Friday at the 2011 Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala. in a rematch of Wednesdays opening round game. The results were different this time, with the No. 2 seed Arkansas outlasting the seventh-seeded Alabama, 4-1.
Razorbacks freshman starting pitcher Ryne Stanek threw 7 23 innings of tough baseball, giving up just two hits and one run.
Alabama catcher Brock Bennett praised Staneks command Friday. He was throwing three pitches for strikes and we couldnt get any rhythm going, said Bennett. None of us could come up with a big hit."
Crimson Tide coach Mitch Gaspard said that a few of his experienced hitters, like outfielder Taylor Dugas, came back with an early report on Stanek, saying hes was extremely good.
We didnt have a lot of tape or anything on him, said Gaspard. But we knew that he had a big arm and that he had turned down a lot of money in the draft. I wasnt expecting his command to be what it was. He had a live arm and was really spotting up the fastball."
Stanek said that he stuck mostly with his fastball, curve ball, and slider Friday. He did try and mix in a change up late in the game, but it wasnt effective, so he abandoned the pitch.
The Razorbacks got all the offense they needed from left fielder Kyle Robinson, who Coach Dave Van Horn benched in Game 1 because of consistency issues. Robinson said that watching from the dugout on Wednesday was motivation when he finally got to play.
I think it played a factor, said Robinson. I was itching to play since it was my first SEC Tournament. I wanted to come out and really prove myself.
Robinson was 2-for-3 with a home run, a single, two RBI and a stolen base Friday, and attributes a few adjustments to his success.
I changed my swing up a little bit, said Robinson. My hands were dragging and the barrel was dropping on some of the pitches so I was late. I stopped trying to hit so many balls to left field and just went with where the pitches were.
Arkansas will play Vanderbilt on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. CT. If the Commodores win, Arkansas is eliminated from the tournament. If Arkansas wins, the two teams will play again for an opportunity to advance to the SEC Championship.