Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy, Biletnikoff Award and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt was awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2000 and 2015.
Razorback baseball report:
Vandy’s dandy up first
Tyler Beede. Vanderbilt hosts LSU at Hawkins Field on March 14, 2014. (Steve Green/Vanderbilt University)
FAYETTEVILLE - One first-round pick in the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft didn’t sign professionally.
Arkansas will face him for the first time tonight when Vanderbilt junior right hander Tyler Beede starts against the Razorbacks at Baum Stadium.
Beede, the No. 21 overall pick by the Toronto Blue Jays after his senior year at Lawrence Academy in Auburn, Mass., turned down a $2.5 million signing bonus according to the Worcester Telegram &Gazette.
“That’s pretty crazy,” sophomore right-hander Trey Killian, who is starting for Arkansas tonight, said with a laugh. “That’s a lot of money to turn down for sure, but I feel like he’s used that to his advantage.
“He’s got a great arm. He’s developed over the years.
VANDERBILT AT ARKANSAS
WHEN 6:35 p.m.
WHERE Baum Stadium, Fayetteville
RECORDS Arkansas 23-15, 7-8 SEC; Vanderbilt 28-10, 7-8 SEC
RANKINGS Vanderbilt is ranked No. 12 by USA Today, No. 16 by Collegiate Baseball and No. 18 by Baseball America. Arkansas is not ranked.
SERIES Arkansas leads 27-22
PITCHING MATCHUP Vanderbilt: Tyler Beede (RHP 5-4, 3.23 ERA). Arkansas: Trey Killian (1-6, 3.00 ERA).
SHORT HOPS Arkansas and Vanderbilt are playing for the first time since 2011, when the Commodores went 3-1 against the Razorbacks, winning 2 of 3 in Fayetteville and winning a matchup in the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala. … Jalen Beeks (5-2, 1.36 ERA) will start for Arkansas on Saturday and Chris Oliver (4-3, 2.41 ERA) will start Sunday. … Saturday’s game is being televised by Cox Sports and Sunday’s game is being televised by ESPN. … The Razorbacks will wear camouflage hats Saturday for Military Appreciation Day. The first 500 fans will receive camouflage hats.
I’ve kind of kept up with him. He’s got great stuff.”
Beede is 5-4 with a 3.23earned run average in 9 starts with 56 strikeouts in 53 innings this season after going 14-0 with a 2.10 ERA with 97 strikeouts in 94 1/3 innings in 15 starts last season.
In Beede’s start against Texas A&M last Friday, he went 5 innings as the Aggies won 10-4. He allowed 9 hits and 4 earned runs with 4 strikeouts and 4 walks.
“He was unbelievable last year,” Killian said. “I think he’s struggling a little bit this year, but he’s a great pitcher.
I feel like it’s going to be a good match up between me and him. Hopefully, our hitters can get on top of that.”
Beede has held hitters to a .203 average this season.
“He’s a great pitcher, he has good numbers in the league,” Arkansas designated hitter Blake Baxendale said.
“Yeah, he was a first-rounder out of high school, but we’re looking forward to facing him. We’re feeling really comfortable, really confident at the plate right now.”
Good to be home
The Razorbacks are 4-2 in SEC home games, winning 2 of 3 from Alabama and South Carolina.
It’s a trend Coach Dave Van Horn hopes Arkansas can continue over its next two SEC series at home against Vanderbilt and Auburn.
“It sure would take a lot of pressure off of us if we could play well the next two conference series at home and at minimum go .500,”he said. “It would be nice to go 4-2. I mean, obviously, it would be nice to go 6-0. In this league that’s rare.”
Shortstop Brett McAfee’s back injury is improving, Coach Dave Van Horn said, but he isn’t expected to play this weekend.
Michael Bernal has been the Razorbacks’ primary shortstop with McAfee sidelined after he started 15 games. The concern with McAfee is having him aggravate the back injury.
“We don’t want to bring him back too quick,” Van Horn said. “We have 18 games left on the schedule. If he misses eight more and then gets to play a little bit … and help us down the stretch, that would be big.”
McAfee, who hasn’t played against any SEC teams, is batting .277 with nine RBI.
Bernal is batting .245 with 1 home run and 12 RBI.
Vanderbilt sophomore third baseman Xavier Turner has a 23-game hitting streak that started March 4 against Tennessee Tech. During the streak he is batting .400 (37 for 95) with 14 RBI and 17 runs scored. Turner is batting .331 for the season.
Hey, I know you
Vanderbilt Coach Tim Corbin and Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long were teammates on Ohio Wesleyan’s baseball team in the 1980s.
Sports, Pages 23 on 04/18/2014