Matt Jones is the online sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Northwest Arkansas Newspapers. He and his wife live in Fayetteville.
Killian to start Sunday
Arkansas starter Trey Killian delivers a pitch Friday, March 15, 2013, during the first inning of play against Ole Miss at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas pitcher Trey Killian will start Sunday against South Alabama.
Killian, a sophomore, was suspended for the Razorbacks' first six games of the season because of a NCAA compliance issue that occurred in high school but wasn't discovered until the preseason. He will replace freshman Alex Phillips in Arkansas' weekend rotation.
"He'll be limited in his pitches but we've been throwing him in the bullpen to simulate games and get his pitch count up," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "He'll throw 50, 60 pitches or maybe a little more depending on how it goes."
Killian started five games last year and appeared in 16 games, recording a 3.19 earned run average. The Mountain Home native was thought to be the Razorbacks' top candidate to start on Fridays in the preseason.
"Watching the way he's been practicing and his demeanor, he's hungry to get back out there," Van Horn said. "He was disappointed he couldn't help the team the first couple of weekends. There was a big build-up to opening day and he would have been a guy who would have been in the starting rotation opening weekend.
"I'm just looking forward to seeing him pitch against someone else and see how it goes."
Arkansas (6-0) will keep juniors Jalen Beeks and Chris Oliver as starting pitchers on Friday and Saturday against South Alabama. The pair has combined to throw 22 2/3 scoreless innings this season after spending last year in reliever roles.
Van Horn said sophomore left-hander Colin Poche's role will continue to expand this weekend. Poche could throw up to 50 pitches as he continues to rehab from inflammation in his throwing elbow.
"If he doesn't get in the rotation he would be a plus left-handed pitcher that comes out of the bullpen. You start figuring you need a lefty and you can keep Beeks in the rotation. Maybe (Colin) gets a weekend spot and we can move Killian to the pen, or maybe Oliver."
Friday's game against South Alabama will be the first of four in four days for the No. 24 Razorbacks, who will face IPFW on Monday. Phillips, who has pitched just five innings in two weekend starts, will start Monday's game.