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.
Hogs move Killian up in rotation
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 - Stumbling into SEC play with five losses in their past six games, the Arkansas Razorbacks will travel to Gainesville, Fla., this weekend with a slightly altered pitching rotation.
Coach Dave Van Horn said Wednesday that left-hander Jalen Beeks (3-1, 0.68 ERA) will make his fifth consecutive Friday night start, but right-hander Trey Killian (0-2, 4.66) will likely move into the Saturday slot, pushing right-hander Chris Oliver (1-2, 2.45) to Sunday.
“We have to go with Beeks,” Van Horn said. “We’ve got to keep pitching him. He’s done a tremendous job and saved our bullpen. He’s gone the max every outing.”
The Razorbacks (8-5) went 1-3 at the Cal Baseball Classic last weekend, losing 2-1 to San Francisco on Friday as Beeks threw a complete-game four-hitter on 110 pitches, allowing one earned run while taking the loss.
Killian lost a 2-1 decision to host California in the Sunday finale, walking none and allowing 5 hits on 88 pitches in 7 innings in his second start.
“That was big for me,” Killian said. “Coming out of that last outing, I felt a lot better about myself.”
Killian said he was up for whatever role the coaches presented him.
“Saturday, Sunday, Friday, whatever, it’s not a big deal to me,” Killian said. “I just want to be able to contribute to the team and do some good.”
The rotation shuffle will put left-hander Colin Poche back in the bullpen against the Gators (10-6) after making his first start in California. Poche allowed 1 hit while throwing 39 pitches, but he walked 4 in 3 innings of Arkansas’ 4-0 victory over Tulane in which Zach Jackson (1-0) picked up the win with 32/3 innings of three-hit relief.
Poche has a 1.17 ERA but is working to regain his command while coming off a sore pitching arm from over the semester break.
“We talked about some of the position players who need to elevate, Well, pitching-wise, he’s the guy who’s got to elevate,” Van Horn said. “It’d be nice to have another left-hander in the rotation.”
Van Horn pointed out Poche’s eight walks in 7 2/3 innings.
“That won’t make it,” he said. “That’s a walk an inning. That’s not winning baseball. We need him. He’s working. Blame it on the setback with the injury or just a sore arm after the holidays, but it definitely threw him back.”
Beeks, of Prairie Grove, said the Razorbacks went into the Cal tournament a little too lackadaisical.
“We’ve got to come out more focused,” Beeks said. “We kind of came in like, ‘We’re SEC, we can come in there and do pretty good.’ We have to stay concentrated and move on to next weekend.”
Up next ARKANSAS AT FLORIDA WHEN 6 p.m. Central Friday WHERE McKethan Stadium, Gainesville, Fla.
RECORDS Arkansas 8-5, Florida 10-6 RANKINGS Neither team is ranked RADIO RSP statewide radio network. Not all games will be carried by affiliates. Check local listings.
INTERNET arkansasrazorbacks.com and ESPN3
Sports, Pages 21 on 03/13/2014