FAYETTEVILLE — No. 1 Arkansas will play three more games in Baum-Walker Stadium this weekend before hitting the road next week for a series at Louisiana Tech.
Arkansas (7-0) will host Murray State (5-3) with today’s game slated to begin at 3 p.m. Dave Van Horn realizes though it’s early in the year, teams will be fired up to play the nation’s top-ranked team.
“I don’t know,” Van Horn said. “I guess it could if you’re maybe in the other dugout. I know when we’re playing a team that’s ranked really high and we’re not it jump starts you a little bit. Really it just gives you something to talk about to the team but you know I don’t think it’s going to affect the way we play. If we go out and play well, we have a good chance to win. But I’m sure they’re talking about it all the way down here. Playing an SEC school that’s ranked in the top five would be big for them to win a game or two.”
Murray State left-handed pitcher Shane Burns (0-1, 6.23) will get the start today against Arkansas’ Peyton Pallette.
“Obviously we try to look at them as much as we can on video and scouting reports,” Van Horn said. “The lefty we’ll see [Friday], he’s not a real hard thrower. About 88. He’s gonna pitch anywhere from 86 to 88, moves it in and out, has a changeup and a slow curveball. So we’ll try to prepare for that because we haven’t really seen too much of that. We’ve seen a lot of good velocity. I think the second pitcher we saw this last weekend might be a little more of what we’re going to see. He was more of an upper 80s lefty with a pretty good breaking ball. This one’s going to be a little bit slower breaking ball.
“He’s an older kid. We’re facing teams that are 22 and 23 years old all around the diamond. And a lot of those kids that are pitching are the same age. He’s probably not going to be intimidated. He’s going to come in here and do what he does, and hopefully we can hit him.”
Murray State second baseman Jordan Cozart is hitting .387 with three home runs and eight RBIs on the season. He has 12 hits in 31 at bats.
“They’re a confident team,” Van Horn said. “They are a very old team for college baseball. They’ve got older kids out there. They got after Arkansas State the other day and put together a couple of good innings. They’re winning right now, so they’re feeling pretty confident rolling into Fayetteville, that’s for sure. If there’s a situation when you have a hot hitter like that, where you can pitch around him a little bit, that’s what we’ll do. We’ll try to be smart there. Again, we have to watch them in person, watch them hit when they do their pregame work and obviously how they swing it in a game, try to figure some things out. That’s why you hope your first pitcher on the weekend can get you into the game a little bit so we can evaluate what we need to do to get those guys out.”
The Racers defeated Arkansas State 9-6 on Tuesday night in Murray. The game was originally slated for Jonesboro, but field conditions caused the game to be moved to a home game for them. Van Horn had hoped this would be a four-game series like last weekend. As it stands now, Arkansas won’t have a mid-week game for the second week in a row. They will begin a three-game series at Louisiana Tech next Friday.
“I’ve looked for some games,” Van Horn said. “Seems like the games that are open are on the weekend. Our weekends, we were fortunate there. I feel like that if we could find one next Tuesday, I would love it. If you find one, let me know. I’d be willing to work that in, I think. As of now, we don’t have any. We actually called Murray State before the season and asked them if they’d play us four. He didn’t feel good about it with the travel and different things. That’s how we got Southeast Missouri State to up us one game. We’d definitely take a game or two if we could find it, but it’s just tough when you have midweek games. They don’t want to travel in the midweek too much.”
Both games, Saturday and Sunday, this weekend after today will begin at 1 p.m.
Arkansas RHP Peyton Pallette (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Murray State LHP Shane Burns (0-1, 6.23 ERA)
Arkansas RHP Caleb Bolden (0-0, 6.23ERA) vs. Murray State RHP Sam Gardner (0-1, 12.00 ERA)
Arkansas LHP Lael Lockhart (0-0, 4.50 ERA) vs. Murray State RHP Jack Wenninger (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
All three of the Razorbacks’ games this weekend will stream live on SEC Network+ with Steven Davis and Troy Eklund on the call. Catch all the action through the ESPN app on smartphones, computers and tablets or via Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
The games can also be heard on the Razorback Sports Network from Learfield/IMG, including locally in Fayetteville on 92.1 FM. Phil Elson and Bubba Carpenter will have the call all weekend long.
Conway – KASR-FM 92.7
El Dorado – KELD-AM 107.1 (FM Translator)
Fayetteville – KQSM-FM 92.1
Forrest City – KXJK-AM 950
Forrest City – KXJK-FM 106.5
Fort Smith – KERX-FM 95.3
Little Rock – KABZ-FM 103.7
Marshall – KBCN-FM 104.3
Mena – KTTG-FM 96.3
Rogers – KURM-AM 790
Rogers – KURM-FM 100.3
Stuttgart – KWAK-FM 105.5
Texarkana, TX – KKTK-AM 1400