FAYETTEVILLE – On the strength of his performance in game two of Arkansas’ weekend series against Kentucky, Drew Smyly has been recognized by the Southeastern Conference as the league’s Pitcher of the Week. This marks the first SEC weekly award for Smyly during his Razorback career.
Facing an offense that posted 12 runs and 17 hits the day before in the series opener, Smyly quieted the bats and held Kentucky to one run on four hits over seven innings of work. He struck out five Wildcats hitters along the way and kept the visitors off the scoreboard until the game’s seventh frame, his last of inning of work. Smyly worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the fourth by inducing an inning-ending groundball.
The seven-inning effort matches the longest outing of the season for Smyly. With the victory, he collected his third win of the season (3-0), and first during SEC play. The Little Rock, Ark., native pushed his season strikeout total to 41, the eighth-best mark in the conference, and lowered his SEC-leading ERA to 1.60. In seven appearances, and five starts, this season, opponents are hitting just .198 against Smyly. In conference play, the left-handed sophomore carries a 1.32 ERA.
Smyly’s win against the Wildcats was the first by an Arkansas starter since Mike Bolsinger beat LSU in the March 19 conference opener in Baton Rouge. Smyly heads up a Razorback pitching staff that has a 3.74 team ERA, the third-best figure in the SEC.
Arkansas has now won all three weekly honors presented by the SEC this season. Matt Vinson earned Freshman of the Week honors (March 15) and, last week, Zack Cox was the league’s selection for Player of the Week.
The tenth-ranked Hogs return to Baum Stadium Wednesday for a midweek contest against Saint Louis at 6:35 p.m. Arkansas will travel to Starkville, Miss., this weekend to resume conference play against Mississippi State.