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Oliver, Beeks earn co-SEC pitcher of week
FAYETTEVILLE – After leading the Arkansas baseball team to a series victory over top-ranked South Carolina over the weekend, juniors Jalen Beeks and Chris Oliver were honored as the Southeastern Conference Pitchers of the Week as announced by the league office Monday morning.
Beeks and Oliver turned in career performances as the Razorbacks knocked off the No. 1 team in the country in consecutive games and helped Arkansas win its fourth straight SEC series at Baum Stadium.
“Getting one pitcher of the week honor is pretty special, but getting two is amazing,” said Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn. “Those were two outstanding performances and I’m glad they didn’t have to choose between them because they are both very deserving of the honor.”
Beeks threw his second complete game of the season Friday evening, allowing just four hits and one unearned run, while striking out a career-high nine batters. He became just the fourth player in the SEC to throw multiple complete games as he lowered his earned run average to 1.05 in 51.2 innings of work on the season.
Oliver rose to the challenge in the rubber game of the series, throwing 8.0 shutout innings and baffling the Gamecock hitters. He recorded a career-high 10 strikeouts and became the first Arkansas pitcher since Ryne Stanek in 2012 against No. 15 LSU to record double-digit strikeouts in a contest. Oliver struck out the side in the eighth inning to put an exclamation mark on his third win of the season. He surrendered four hits and never allowed a South Carolina player to reach third base.
Arkansas handed South Carolina just its fifth and sixth losses of the season and allowed two runs or less in all three games.
The Razorbacks return to action Tuesday, April 8 for the first of two straight games against No. 25 UNLV at Baum Stadium. First pitch is slated for Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. and Wednesday at 6:05 p.m. in the nonconference midweek series.