Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll.
Van Horn calls on young arms for New Orleans
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn directs his players Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, during the third inning of the Hogs' win over Western Illinois at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn plans to throw a couple of freshmen in a midweek series against New Orleans today as the Razorbacks look to bounce back from their first loss over the weekend.
The Razorbacks (2-1) face an 0-3 New Orleans team that was swept by Southeast Missouri last weekend beginning at 2:05 p.m. today in a doubleheader at Baum Stadium.
Van Horn said he would likely turn to 6-3 left-hander Colin Poche’ in his college debut the opener, then call on fellow freshman, 6-2 right-hander Trey Killian, on Wednesday. The latter game was pushed ahead to today because of the threat of a winter storm.
Arkansas, which fell to No. 2 in the Collegiate Baseball poll Monday, played error free ball in taking the first two games of its opening series against Western Illinois. But the Razorbacks committed three errors in a three-run fourth inning by the Leathernecks on Sunday and ended up losing 7-5.
“We knew we weren’t going to win them all, but it is a disappointing loss,” Van Horn said.
Arkansas’ offense has been led by infielder Brian Anderson, who went 6 for 11 (.545) with four RBI, and freshman Tyler Spoon, who was 5 for 10 (.500) with three RBI against Western Illinois.
Designated hitter Joe Serrano leads the team with a .571 batting average (4 for 7), and lead off man Matt Vinson is hitting .385 with a team-high four runs scored.
Van Horn said he’s likely to move Serrano up to the No. 2 spot in the order after Jacob Morris struggled there last weekend.
The Razorbacks are hoping to get back three key players in the coming days: infielder Dominic Ficociello and pitchers Randall Fant and Colby Suggs. Ficociello and Suggs have strained oblique muscles, while Fant is nursing a hamstring injury.
Van Horn said he’d like to give Ficociello another 10 or 11 days to heal, but didn’t rule out a return late this weekend against Evansville. Suggs might be available by Wednesday, and Fant will not likely be available until the Razorbacks travel to Surprise, Ariz., for a tournament late next week.
New Orleans lost three games at home over the weekend to Southeast Missouri by a combined score of 24-7. The Privateers have had nothing but success against Arkansas, however, defeating the Razorbacks 3-2 in Shreveport in 1991 and taking a 13-6 decision in 1998 in their only two meetings.
Van Horn said he liked his team’s spirit after rallying from behind twice in Sunday’s loss to Western Illinois.
“I guess the only positive I take away from today is we keep fighting in the dugout, attitude was great,” he said. “Guys kept thinking they were going to win the game, and again, even though we were down, you could just sense that we thought we were going to come back, and we did make a good effort. We just didn’t put together that one big inning.”
Sports, Pages 21 on 02/19/2013