SEC Dispatches: Big Game Blaine ShinesNotebook
HOOVER, Ala. — When the season comes to a close in a few weeks, no pitcher will have more impressive wins than Arkansas righthander Blaine Knight.
Knight, a talented righthander who’s expected to be a first-rounder in the upcoming MLB draft, put together yet another strong start against Florida to guide the Razorbacks to an 8-2 win to move to the bracket championship at the SEC tournament. His mastery of the gauntlet continues.
Just as he has many times already this season, Knight had to outdo one of the best pitchers in the sport to get a win. Heading into Friday’s contest, he had beaten Florida’s Brady Singer, Kentucky’s Sean Hjelle, Ole Miss lefty Ryan Rolison and Auburn righthander Casey Mize.
He added Florida’s Jackson Kowar to the list of pitchers he’s mastered.
“I don’t know if he necessarily kept us off balance, but he executed some pitches down and away very well,” Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “I thought Blaine and Jackson both threw the ball very well today. I thought it was a really well-pitched game on both sides.”
It was obvious from the start that Knight was in a zone. Though he doesn’t show a lot of emotion on the mound, Knight has a consistent approach and never seems to deviate from a plan. So, it was a good sign in the first inning when Knight didn’t allow a run and tallied a pair of strikeouts. He punched out UF leadoff hitter Deacon Liput on a 90 mph fastball to start the game, while also retiring Jonathan India and striking out four-hole hitter Will Dalton on a 92 mph offering.