Just minutes after pitching a complete-game, two-hit shutout Sunday to lead Louisiana Tech to a 2-0 win over No. 1 ranked Arkansas, Bulldog pitcher Jarrett Whorff talked via zoom with local media covering both programs.
Whorff (3-1) used only 106 pitches to blank the Razobacks (12-1), leading the Bulldogs (9-5) to the program’s first ever win over a No. 1 ranked team.
Tech will host its second straight top-5 ranked opponent tomorrow and Wednesday when No. 3 Ole Miss come to JC Love Field at Pat Patterson Park. Tuesday’s game starts at 6 p.m. and Wednesday is a 2 p.m. first pitch.
Whorff won’t be throwing any pitches against Ole Miss, but nearly all he threw Sunday were masterful, until the ninth inning.
When asked if he was starting to tire in the top of the ninth when he hit a batter and then walked another to put the tying runs on base with one out, Whorff didn’t shy away from the truth.
“I wasn’t tired at all,” said Whorff. “It was the situation. I was nervous. Absolutely. But I was able to calm myself down after the first three hitters. Obviously, I walked two of the first three batters. So yeah, I was nervous.”
Whorff responded by retiring the Hogs’ cleanup hitter Cayden Wallace on a long fly ball to centerfield for the second out. He then recorded his 10th strikeout of the day as Brady Slavens was rung up looking for the final out of the game.
“He did it all,” said Bulldog skipper Lane Burroughs. “Jarrett had all three pitches working. His fastball was coming out in the low to mid 90s. Change-up was working. Breaking ball was working. He threw them all for strikes.”
Arkansas saw a 16-game winning streak dating back to the COVID19-shortened 2020 season come to an end. It also marked the first time the Razorbacks had been shutout since falling 1-0 to Florida State in the 2019 College World Series, a span of 29 games.
“If you had told me two runs would win this game today, I would have put all my money on that,” said Burroughs. “I never in my wildest dreams thought if we just scored two runs, we would beat them.
“It is a big win for our program. We say Sunday is about toughness, and championships are won on Sunday. We lost a heartbreaker on Friday (8-7 in 10 innings) and they pretty much boat raced us yesterday (8-1 Arkansas). So I’m proud of our guys for the way they responded today.”
While Whorff was cruising on the mound – Arkansas’ only two hits were a Matt Goodheart double in the first and a Casey Opitz single in the second – the Bulldog offense was having just as tough a time through the first four innings against Razorback starter Lael Lockhart.
That is until Burroughs inserted Adarius Myers into the lineup in the bottom of the fifth inning. Myers promptly singled up the middle to jumpstart the only scoring in the ballgame.
Manny Garcia followed with a single to left field as Myers advanced to third and then Ben Brantley drove him home with a single to left field, giving Tech a 1-0 lead. Garcia scored the second run of the frame on a fielder’s choice groundout by Taylor Young.
“I’d love to sit and here and tell you it was a great managerial move and that I was thinking ahead of the game,” said Burroughs. “Truth is Phil (Matulia) is banged up from when he collided with Parker (Bates) yesterday. I just thought (in Phil’s first at bat) they threw three breakers and he swung right through them. His swings did not look good. I just felt like we needed to make a move.”
The move paid dividends in more ways than one.
In the top of the ninth inning with Tech holding onto a 2-0 lead against the Heart-Attack Hogs, Myers made a diving catch on a sinking line drive off the bat of leadoff hitter Robert Moore. It came right before the hit by pitch and walk issued by Whorff.
“Amazing catch by AD,” said Whorff. “I mean we wouldn’t be sitting here (talking) if AD didn’t catch that first ball honestly. Amazing catch in left field.”
And an amazing day by the Bulldogs.
Photo: by Tom Morris