Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A two-time graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Biletnikoff Award.
TBA to Oliver: Arkansas tabs Sunday starter
Arkansas pitcher Chris Oliver delivers the ball during game two of the series against Appalachian State on Saturday Feb. 15, 2014 at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas won't be reserving its Sunday spot in the rotation after all.
The Razorbacks will throw right-hander Chris Oliver in their series finale against Alabama at Baum Stadium. Arkansas had listed Sunday's starter as TBA in the Southeastern Conference's list of starting pitchers released Thursday.
Jalen Beeks will start Friday and Trey Killian on Saturday. Razorbacks coach Dave Van Horn indicated Wednesday that Oliver, who has started the last two Sundays, could be used in a relief role this weekend.
"If we have to use him out of the pen we might," Van Horn said. "If we have to use him to win a game Friday or Saturday, we might."
Oliver has started five games this season and has a 2.25 ERA in 24 innings pitched. He was used primarily as a relief pitcher last season and Van Horn said throughout the nonconfernece season he might move Oliver back to the bullpen to add depth.
"Our bullpen has done a good job," Van Horn said. "You just never know how it’s going to go."
Arkansas and Alabama enter their conference series boasting the fifth and sixth best team ERAs, respectively, in college baseball. The Razorbacks are 11-7 overall and 1-2 following their conference opener at Florida last week. The Crimson Tide are 14-6 overall and won two of three in their conference opener against Kentucky.
Beeks will start his sixth consecutive Friday game. The left-hander is 3-2 this season with a 1.15 ERA in 31 1/3 innings pitched. He has lost two straight 2-1 decisions.
Killian is getting his second straight start on a Saturday. He pitched a complete game last week at Florida, but the Razorbacks lost 1-0.