By Tyler Hotz, Louisiana Tech Assistant Director of Athletic Communications
History at the Love Shack.
Right-hander Jarret Whorff delivered an all-time performance on Sunday, shutting out the No. 1 Arkansas Razorbacks for Louisiana Tech baseball’s first victory over a No. 1 opponent in program history.
Whorff struck out 10 Razorbacks and did not allow a hit over the final seven innings of the game to complete a masterful complete-game shutout of the previously undefeated Hogs.
Capping off the historic victory wouldn’t come easy. With 24 outs in his pocket, the right-hander had to navigate through the top of Arkansas’ order to record the final three outs.
Left fielder Adarius Myers, who entered the game in the fifth and scored the eventual game-winning run, made a stellar play in left field to rob Arkansas second baseman Robert Moore from a leadoff single.
With one down in the ninth, Whorff put two Razorbacks (12-1) on with an HBP and his first walk of the afternoon. Pitching coach Mike Silva knew his starting pitcher was nervous and trotted out to the mound to calm Whorff down.
“I was nervous,” Whorff said. “I was nervous in the ninth inning. I had jitters.
“I felt the most adrenaline I’ve probably felt, but I was able to calm myself down after the first three hitters and got that amazing catch from AD. We might not be sitting here if he didn’t make that great play.”
Whorff responded following the brief visit. He first retired cleanup batter Cayden Wallace with a flyout to center field before dropping in a 1-2 pitch to punch out Brady Slavens for the 27th out of the afternoon.
Whorff’s 106th pitch clinched the Bulldog victory and helped LA Tech hold the Razorbacks to two hits for the first time since Oregon State blanked the Hogs in the College World Series final on June 28, 2018.
“Jarret did it all,” head coach Lane Burroughs said. “He had all three pitches working.
“The fastball was coming out in the mid-90s, the changeup was working and the breaking ball was working, throwing them all for strikes. I just couldn’t be prouder of him. He’s the man of the hour.”
The Bulldogs pushed both of their runs across in a two-run fifth inning, marking the 29th time through just 14 games this season that Tech has tallied multiple runs in one team at-bat.
Myers entered the game as a pinch hitter to lead off the fifth, shooting a single up the middle on a 2-1 pitch. Designated hitter Manny Garcia moved Myers up two bags as his single sailed over the third baseman’s head into left field.
With runners on first and third, first baseman Ben Brantley lifted the Bulldogs’ third straight single to give LA Tech (9-5) the 1-0 lead.
The Bulldogs played some small ball to bring home their second run when catcher Kyle Hasler laid down an excellent sacrifice bunt to move Garcia and Brantley each up 90 feet to second and third. Leadoff batter Taylor Young then slapped a ball to the left side to bring home Brantley from third on the fielder’s choice.
Pitching with the lead didn’t phase Whorff the next three frames, sitting down the next nine Razorbacks in order for three swift innings.
Four of the nine outs Whorff recorded during the stretch from the sixth to eighth came via a strikeout, getting two Razorbacks in the eighth swinging to head to the ninth.
Whorff finished the day with 10 strikeouts while allowing just one walk. He retired the Razorbacks in order five out of the nine innings he pitched.
The Winnsboro, Texas, native’s brilliant pitching performance marked win No. 850 for LA Tech at the corner of West Alabama and Tech Drive. The Bulldogs are now 7-2 in the new Love Shack after tallying 843 victories at the previous stadium.
LA Tech’s victory over top-ranked Arkansas snapped a streak of 16 straight losses against No. 1 opponents.
The Bulldogs avenged their heartbreaking 10th-inning defeat to the Razorbacks from Friday to tally their first win over a top-five team since Feb. 3, 2007. The 9-2 triumph at the old J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park also came over Arkansas, who was ranked No. 4 at the time.
“This is a big win for our program,” Burroughs said. “I’m proud of our guys.
“We say Sunday is about toughness and championships are won on Sunday. They’re a really good team, and I’m proud of our guys for finishing off the weekend with a win.”
The Bulldogs will face No. 4 Ole Miss on Tuesday and Wednesday in the Love Shack to complete the stretch of five games in six days against top-five opponents.
— Featured photo by Tom Morris