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.
Killian gets Sunday start in return
Trey Killian, Arkansas sophomore pitcher, talks with the media Friday, Feb. 7, 2014 at the University of Arkansas baseball media day at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE - Trey Killian will come off suspension and go right into Arkansas’ weekend pitching rotation, Coach Dave Van Horn said Wednesday.
Killian missed the first six games for the Razorbacks (6-0) while on NCAA suspension for having inappropriate contact with an adviser while he was still playing at Mountain Home High School.
The 6-2, 190-pound sophomore will start Sunday’s series finale against South Alabama at Baum Stadium and will be on a pitch count, Van Horn said.
Arkansas vs. South Alabama
WHEN 3:05 p.m. Friday
WHERE Baum Stadium, Fayetteville
RECORDS Arkansas 6-0, South Alabama 3-4
RANKINGS Arkansas No. 22 in National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll, No. 24 in Baseball America poll
RADIO RSP statewide radio network. Not all games will be carried by affiliates. Check local listings.
PITCHING MATCHUP South Alabama: TBA; Arkansas: Jalen Beeks (LHP, 2-0, 0.00 ERA)
“We’ve been continuing to work him in the bullpen and throwing him in simulated type scrimmages to get his pitch count up,” said Van Horn said, who speculated Killian could throw 60 or so pitches.
Killian is ready to go.
“I enjoyed being in the dugout and encouraging the guys, being a cheerleader kind of, but I can’t even tell you how excited I am to be on the field,” Killian said. “We’re just getting my pitch count up there, getting me back in the starting feel, kind of getting my arm back in shape.”
Killian said not being able to chip in was the toughest part of his suspension.
“All the guys on the team were so helpful,” he said. “They were positive and the coaches were positive. We handled it quickly. I’m just thankful for the NCAA and compliance and our coaches and also the rest of the guys on the team just handling it so well and being so supportive.”
Killian, who started the Razorbacks’ SEC opener against Mississippi last season and wound up in the bullpen, finished with a 3-3 record and 3.19 earned run average, the highest on a staff that led the NCAA with a 1.89 ERA.
“Just watching the way he’s practicing and his demeanor, I know that he’s really hungry to get back out there,” Van Horn said. “He was disappointed that he couldn’t help the team the first couple of weekends. … He was a guy who would’ve been in the rotation the first weekend. He had some experience from last year and had a good summer.”
Catcher Jake Wise said having a competitor like Killian available again will help Arkansas.
“I’ve caught him a few times, and he’s as sharp as he’s ever been,” Wise said. “I think it’s been just eating at him, being on the bench and not being able to get out there. He’s a huge competitor, a big-game guy.”
Van Horn said he will stay with the Friday-Saturday combination of left-hander Jalen Beeks (2-0, 0.00 ERA) and right-hander Chris Oliver (1-0, 0.82) in the first two games against South Alabama.
Freshman Alex Phillips (0-0, 3.60), who drew Sunday starts the first two weeks, is penciled in as the starter for Monday’s game against Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.
Sports, Pages 19 on 02/27/2014