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Andy Hodges

Van Horn knows February win over Texas means nothing in May

Arkansas shut out Texas, 4-0, on Sunday night at the State Farm Showdown and while some fans will celebrate, Dave Van Horn probably won’t.

Arkansas shut out Texas, 4-0, on Sunday night at the State Farm College Baseball Showdown and while some fans will celebrate, Dave Van Horn probably won’t.

“It’s just another game to me,” he said later when the question that always gets asked when the Razorbacks meet the Longhorns.

Exactly why it’s a big deal in any sport to Hog fans remains a mystery to me. It’s been just another game for the last 30 years.

Van Horn was more interested in Ole Miss and Mississippi State, who are also in Arlington playing games and the SEC is 5-1 (the Bulldogs lost to TCU on Sunday).

“There’s two other teams from the western division (of the SEC) that are here right now that are every bit as good as we are,” Van Horn said. “We’ve got our hands full with league play.”

Texas has been good in baseball before it became popular to be good in college baseball. Arkansas didn’t get around to having a whole lot of interest in the sport until the mid-1970’s.

“I have a lot of respect for their program and what they’ve done over the last 75 years,” Van Horn said. “It’s hard to say it’s just another win because some of our fans love it when we beat Texas in anything but to me it’s just a good win for our program.”

Still, getting a shutout win over the Longhorns in a showcase college baseball series that wasn’t television is a big deal to a lot of fans.

“It’s hard to say it’s just another win because some of our fans love it when we beat Texas in anything,” Van Horn said to acknowledge he’s aware some of the fans get worked up over it. “To me it’s just a good win for our program.”

And it was a good win.

Peyton Pallette allowed only one hit over 4.1 innings of work, retiring the first six Longhorn batters he faced.

He struck out two in the first before striking out the side in the top of the second.

Pallette, from Benton, worked around a base-loaded jam in the third, collecting another punch-out along the way, and then set down the Longhorns in order in the fourth, grabbing his seventh strikeout in the frame.

He struck out the very first batter he faced in the fifth before he was pulled for pitch count, finishing the outing with eight strikeouts.

Pallette departed the ballgame with a one-run lead thanks to designated hitter Brady Slavens, who single-handedly powered the Hog offense on Sunday night.

The Olathe, Kansas, product drove in all four runs in the win, starting with his RBI single in the bottom of the fourth that put Arkansas up, 1-0.

Slavens then broke the game open in the sixth inning, launching a three-run homer to right center and putting the Hogs ahead by four.

Left-hander Caden Monke and right-hander Caleb Bolden came on in relief of Pallette and did their jobs in protecting the lead.

Bolden tossed four scoreless frames out of the bullpen, closing out the game and striking out seven to lock down Arkansas’ second consecutive win over a Top 10 opponent.

Sunday’s win was Arkansas’ sixth all-time shutout victory against Texas. The Razorbacks last did so during the 1988 campaign, taking down the Longhorns, 5-0, in Austin, Texas in 1988.

The State Farm College Baseball Showdown concludes Monday night.

Arkansas will look to continue its undefeated start, facing its third nationally ranked opponent of the year, squaring off against No. 10 TCU at 6 p.m. Monday at Globe Life Field.

Information from Arkansas Communications is included in this story.

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