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.
UA coach eager to see how far Poche has come
Colin Poche pitches for Arkansas during the game against Eastern Illinois at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014.
FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn plans to add left-hander Colin Poche to the starting rotation during the No. 24 Razorbacks’ four-game appearance at the Cal Baseball Classic this weekend.
Arkansas (7-2) will open the tournament at Evans Diamond on the campus of Cal-Berkeley on Friday at 4:30 p.m. Central against the University of San Francisco (5-6) with left-hander Jalen Beeks (3-0, 0.51 ERA) on the mound.
“Jalen Beeks has been very good,” Van Horn said Tuesday. “His numbers are ridiculously good right now and we’ve made nice plays behind him.”
After Beeks, the Razorbacks will most likely throw junior right-hander Chris Oliver (1-1, 1.12), sophomore right-hander Trey Killian (0-1, 13.50) and the sophomore left-hander Poche (0-0, 1.93), although Van Horn said he is uncertain of the order.
Arkansas takes on Tulane (8-3) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, then has a doubleheader against the host Golden Bears (7-2) on Sunday with the first game scheduled for 3 p.m.
Poche, who battled soreness in his pitching arm part of the winter, has made three appearances out of the bullpen, one per weekend, adding to his pitch count each time.Although Poche’s ERA is good, he has allowed 4 walks and 2 hits while throwing 83 pitches in 4 2/3 innings. He threw a pair of wild pitches and gave up a hit that scored the last of South Alabama’s runs in its four-run third inning during last Saturday’s 5-3 loss in the second game of a doubleheader.
“He hasn’t thrown real well, and he’s supposed to be a weekend guy,” Van Horn said. “We need to see what he can do.
“We’ve got to get a couple of guys rolling a little bit. I’m worried about the bullpen, especially when you play four games, but the other teams will have to do the same thing as well.”
San Francisco is projected to start 6-2 senior right hander Abe Bobb (1-1, 4.95 ERA), who beat Sacramento State 9-1 in his last start. An All-West Coast Conference pitcher last year, Bobb had rough outings against California-Riverside and Cal State Fullerton to open the season.
The Razorbacks opened 7-0 after a 12-1 rout of South Alabama last Friday and were one of six unbeaten Division I teams at that point before losing a doubleheader by scores of 2-1 and 5-3 to South Alabama on Saturday.
“I think we learned a lot,” Van Horn said. “The coaching staff didn’t see it coming, you know. The way we played on Friday, a little momentum, playing pretty well, pitching well, got good pitchers going, pretty nice day.
“South Alabama just came out and outplayed us. They threw more strikes than we did. They didn’t make any mistakes in the field and they got some timely hitting, and we didn’t do a whole lot of that. That’s what cost us the ball games.”
Arkansas relievers did not allow an earned run in 13 1/3 innings against the Jaguars.
Up next ARKANSAS VS. SAN FRANCISCO
WHAT Cal Baseball Classic WHEN 4:30 p.m. Central Friday WHERE Evans Diamond, Berkeley, Calif. RECORDS Arkansas 7-2, San Francisco 5-6 RADIO Arkansas Sports Network stateside. Not all games carried by all affiliates. Check local listings.
Sports, Pages 24 on 03/05/2014