Would someone please comment...

if you were there, on how the pitching staff looks after one weekend, compared to last year?

I know we swept them, but how good was this Miami team?

Were there any surprises? Dominic maybe?

Thanks, in advance.

Not sure how good the competition was, but they were certainly effective this weekend.
The best thing was…they threw strikes. Only 1 walk in the first 2 games combined, then 5 today.
Also good velocity on pitches, with good change-ups.

Yes the main thing was the pitchers threw strikes and changed speeds. I do not think Miami was in any kind of offensive groove yet. It is the perfect example of a northern team that had not been able to get outside very much before the first series. This team is picked second in the MAC so they should pick it up. Hopefully they will win a lot of games to help our rpi.

I only saw Saturday’s game in person. Watched most of Sunday’s on SEC Network+. What I saw was lots of strikes, improved velocity and shrewd pitch selection. Miami is supposed to be pretty good in its conference, but their hitters on Saturday were getting tied in knots by sliders off the outside corner. They swung at a lot of pitches in the dirt and out of the zone. Part of that is early season rust; part of it seemed to me to be good location and pitch variance. Plus, no Arkansas pitcher threw long enough to get tired. I don’t remember anyone having a bad outing with control or location.

Here’s the big thing: There were no walks Friday or Saturday and only a couple on Sunday, a big change from last year when we seemed to walk a hitter every inning. Hard to keep teams from scoring when you’re giving away free bases.

Very encouraging.

The clear change in the pitching staff is depth. The best pitcher may be Isaiah Campbell. He didn’t pitch this weekend, and might not next weekend. He has a sore triceps muscle. They do not think it’s a big issue. But they are being cautious. That will set him behind as far as building up pitch count. He’s the stud of the staff.

There are a few more who might fill in some innings, too. No one was pushed very far this weekend. It’s expected that starters will be able to go six or seven innings, not three or four, as they build up their pitch count.

Temper everything with the opposition. Miami isn’t an SEC team, but they did have some talented hitters. Haffey, the three hole hitter, is probably going to be drafted. He looked the part.

If there was something to notice, it was the physical improvement of the staff. They are all bigger. I know Blaine Knight still looks skinny, but he’s added 15 pounds, mostly in his legs. It’s given him about 3-4 mph in his fast ball.

Dominic Taccolini looks huge now. I think he may have added 20 pounds, maybe more. But his legs are now massive.

What I was told about Wes Johnson’s coaching has proven to be true. And, I’m mainly talking about a chat I had with a pro scout in the fall. He said Wes calls a game much differently than Dave Jorn. It’s going to be off speed stuff on fast ball counts. It’s called “pitching backwards.” It’s something that really keeps hitters off balance. It’s not so much that you call a game like that, but that the pitchers can execute it. Anyone can call a game like that, but most times the pitchers are not going to hit the spots with off speed like they can with the fast ball.

What I saw over the weekend was that the pitchers were able to hit spots with their off speed pitches. I’m told that Wes emphasizes that they must throw their breaking pitches hard and he works with mechanics to get the late break.

Watching them live is a treat, but I think you’ll be able to see much more when you watch on TV to see the movement and the location of their pitches.

Knight was the Friday night starter. I was told before the holidays that there was a suspicion that Campbell might be the opening day pitcher. He had the triceps issue that ended the competition for that spot at least for a few more weeks.

The weekend went about like I thought it would. Miami was not a real good team last year and was without its best pitcher. Arkansas beat that team accordingly.

You can’t draw too many conclusions from the first weekend. You especially can’t compare a 56-game schedule to three games against an average team. Bryant should be a good gauge this weekend, but even last year the Razorbacks were pretty good in nonconference games. The real test will be when SEC play begins.

That said, the pitching surprised me from the standpoint of the first weekend almost never is that clean. The 6-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio was great, especially given that most of those walks came from back of the weekend pitchers. The fielding looked good, too. It seems like we’ve seen a lot fewer errors on opening weekend the past few years and I think that’s a result of having the indoor facility to take infield practice during the preseason. The weather in February the last couple of years has helped, too.

Nothing offensively surprised me, other than maybe that Arkansas struggled so much with that first relief pitcher Friday. Dominic Fletcher has shown the ability to hit since he got on campus and Grant Koch was the toughest out of everyone in the fall. It seemed like every practice he had a couple of extra-base hits.

This team should be quite a bit better than last year’s offensively. There are a lot more options to insert into the lineup if someone is struggling, and there are a lot more options as far as pinch-hitting, pinch-running, situational starts, etc.

There is no defense against the base on balls! The snapshot in this first series makes me believe the new pitching coach has. Even hard at work. There’s a defense behind the pitcher and it’s nice to play defense when you have several pitchers that are showing you they are going to attack the strike zone! No matter what your competition is the strike zone is the same. Once the radar gun is fixed we will see how much smoke they are throwing.
I thought we had positive signs from our at bats too! A few long balls and some solid hitting. A few too many long fly outs! When you put the ball in play you force the defense to make a play. We should know more about our hogs after the Bryant series! Van Horn is a great coach and even a better man our diamonhogs are in good shape. WPS!!