Arkansas right-handed pitcher Ryne Stanek pitches 6 2/3 innings Saturday in a 8-0 victory over Mississippi State Photo by: University of Arkansas
March 25, 2012 12:50:19 AM
STARKVILLE - A year from now Major League Baseball franchises are going to fall all over themselves trying to position for the opportunity to take Ryne Stanek in the 2013 first-year player draft.
The University of Arkansas sophomore right-hander spent Saturday afternoon proving why as he guided his team to a dominating 8-0 victory over Mississippi State University.
"We got whipped in every phase of the game (Friday) night and I think he took it as a personal challenge to even this series out," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "Stanek was just outstanding and people think he's a power guy but his best quality is the ability to throw strikes."
When he left after 6 2/3 innings, a majority of the 4,554 fans in the Dudy Noble Field stands gave Stanek a standing ovation for his performance in a road environment because even folks in Starkville can acknowledge a quality pitching performance when they see it. Stanek showcased the kind of stuff that made him a third-round pick out of high school by the Seattle Mariners in two years ago.
"It's all about confidence and being more solid mechanical for me," Stanek said. "I know I can come out here now and compete with the best teams in the country."
The shutout by Arkansas (20-3, 4-1 in Southeastern Conference play) marked the first time in 54 games where MSU (16-8, 2-3) failed to plate a run going back to an 18-0 loss to the University of Florida on April 9, 2011.
"It was just big to come out and try to kill all the momentum they had and take out way," Stanek said. "I wanted to attack all their hitters and make them beat me instead of letting them dictate what I was doing on the mound."
Stanek (6-0) pitched 6 2/3 innings without allowing a run in only the second scoreless outing of the season for the 6-foot-4 right-hander.
As a projected first-round prospect in the 2013 Major League Baseball draft, Stanek showcased four pro baseball quality pitches (a 93-to-97 miles-per-hour fastball), still sitting at 93-95, an 81-83 mph curveball, an 85-86 mph slider as well as an improved 84-86 mph changeup).
"I was talking with (Arkansas catcher) Jake Wise after the game and he said 'Coach he was throwing everything we called for strikes," Van Horn said. "We had no problem calling any pitch in any count with him today and that's the sign of a quality outing."
During a stretch of the middle of the game where the third-ranked Razorbacks jumped all over MSU relief pitching, Stanek retired 10 of 12 batters and never let a runner get further than second base during his outing. The right-hander finished by allowing just two hits and striking out six in a 107-pitch effort.
"I was able throw all of my pitches for a strike except curveball but that one was thrown out of the zone exactly where I needed it to be," Stanek said.
The off-balanced arsenal from Stanek was simply too much for an MSU lineup that is still trying to find its way through youth and injuries to key elements.
"We face probably one of the best guys in our league and just really didn't put our noses in there and fight," MSU coach John Cohen said. "To beat a guy like that, it has to be one or two runs and defend it to keep the score at that level."
No. 3 Arkansas (21-3, 4-1) 8,
Mississippi State (16-8, 2-3) 0
W - Ryne Stanek (6-0) 6.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K in 107 pitches
L - Nick Routt (1-3) 4.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 8 K in 91 pitches
Most Valuable Player: Arkansas right-handed pitcher Ryne Stanek
Turning Point: 6th inning - In the sixth inning, Arkansas had its first seven batters reach base starting with a walk to Wise given up by MSU sophomore reliever Evan Mitchell on a 0-2 count. A parade of hits, errors and mistakes produced a six-run, sixth frame for the third-ranked Razorbacks. The inning, where Mitchell and left-handed freshman Jacob Lindgren were both touched up by the Arkansas lineup, marked the first time an opponent batted around on MSU this season.
"We can not shove the ball in the strike zone enough to get a ball in play," Cohen said. "That really killed us."
Next game: Sunday, Noon vs. No. 3 Arkansas
MSU will try to win its first SEC series of the season when they send junior right-hander Kendall Graveman (2-0, 2.30) to the mound for the series finale at noon.
"We got a job finish," Graveman said. "I really feel comfortable with the plan Mitch (Slauter) and Coach Thompson have laid out for me so we'll go out and execute a plan."
All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.
4. He Out-Ponzied Ponzi BOOK REVIEWS