Arms of the Game: Strong outings by Noland, Ramage save bullpen for future

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When it comes to regional play, where a team can play between three and five games over a four-day stretch, the team that has healthier pitchers and more reliable arms is usually the team that gets out alive.

For Arkansas, the key to future success become clearer after they were able to defeat Grand Canyon, 7-1, in game one of the Stillwater Regional by only using two pitchers.

Grand Canyon, who entered the game with seven players hitting over .300, were limited in production Friday thanks to the strong start by ace Connor Noland, and by Kole Ramage slamming the door over the final three frames.

The Antelopes nearly matched Arkansas in hits, only trailing the Razorbacks 9-8 in the column, but were not able to make those hits count over the stretch of nine innings. The only run of the game scored by Grand Canyon came with one swing of the bat, a solo blast by Tayler Aguilar to put the Antelopes on the board, 5-1 in the 4th inning.

Head coach Dave Van Horn says that being able to grab a regional win by not using many pitchers was very important for the future:

To be able to just beat a quality team like Grand Canyon with two pitchers, that was big.

Noland, who tossed his longest outing since throwing for 8.0 innings against Ole Miss on April 29, struck out four batters while allowing just six hits in 7.0 innings of work today in the win. Catcher Michael Turner explains what made Noland’s start so successful:

“I thought he worked ahead in the count and when he does that he’s super effective,” says Turner. “I thought he did a good job today.”

Van Horn also says that he was proud of the way Noland attacked Grand Canyon’s lethal lineup, saying that he was proud of Noland for not letting them frustrate him.

After a solid seven innings on the mound, Arkansas turned the keys over to Kole Ramage. Ramage, who pitched for the first time since the loss to Alabama on May 25 at the SEC Tournament, extending his streak of not allowing a run in now five of his last six outings by tossing three innings of two-hit baseball to close the game.

What is in store for Arkansas on the mound tomorrow? Van Horn says that he is going to wait on the result of the Oklahoma State-Missouri State game, as Arkansas will face the winner of that contest on Saturday at 6 p.m. CDT.

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