Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy, Biletnikoff Award and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt was awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2000 and 2015.
Hogs eye sweep of 1-20 foe
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn talks with Michael Bernal after he was thrown out at home plate during a game Saturday, March 1, 2014 at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE - Doubleheaders haven’t been much fun for the Arkansas baseball team lately.
The Razorbacks are 6-8 in seven doubleheaders since 2013. They swept their first two doubleheaders last season against New Orleans and San Diego State, but since then they’re 2-8.
Last season Arkansas was swept at Nebraska -including being no-hit by the Cornhuskers in the opener - and split against New Mexico at home and at Kentucky.
This season the Razorbacks (13-8) were swept at home by South Alabama and swept at California, and they scored a combined eight runs in the four losses.
“That’s horrible,” Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said. “We’re going to have to turn that around.”
The Razorbacks probably don’t have to worry about being swept when they play a doubleheader against Mississippi Valley State at 3 p.m. today in Baum Stadium.
It’s difficult to imagine the Delta Devils (1-20) winning two games in one day when they haven’t won two all season. They lost their first 19 games before beating Alcorn State 8-4 on Saturday.
Alabama, which lost two of three games at Arkansas over the weekend, beat Mississippi Valley State 8-0, 7-0 and 3-0 earlier this season. It was the first time the Crimson Tide swept a three-game series with shutouts since 1912 against Marion Institute.
“I would say yes, I like Arkansas’ chances,” Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said when asked if he expects a Razorbacks sweep today.
Arkansas will play a third game against Mississippi Valley State on Wednesday night at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock.Last season the Razorbacks beat the Delta Devils 6-0 in Fayetteville and 2-1 in North Little Rock.
“They’re struggling, obviously,” Van Horn said. “It is it what it is. Alabama played them on a weekend, so that’s a little different. I think this will be a good midweek [opponent] for us at this time.
“Hopefully, we can play a lot of people and play good enough to win.”
Arkansas’ remaining nonconference games are against Nebraska, UNLV, Stephen F. Austin, Northwestern (La.) State and Missouri State.
“You look at our midweek games, they get pretty tough,” Van Horn said. “So it might be a chance for some guys to play a little more than they might get to for the rest of the season.”
Arkansas’ projected starting pitchers today are sophomore left-hander Colin Poche (1-0, 0.77 ERA in 11 2/3 innings) and junior right-hander Alex Phillips 1-0, 2.25 ERA in 8 innings). Van Horn said he hopes both can work five or six innings.
The Razorbacks likely will use several pitchers in Wednesday’s game, depending on who works today and who is being saved for a weekend series at Mississippi State.
Van Horn said he likeshow the schedule sets up with six games the next six days.
“I’m excited about it because it’s spring break,” he said.
“I don’t want these guys having too much time. They need to be thinking about playing baseball.
“We’ve got to win some games. We’ve got to climb up that ladder on the Ws. Hopefully, our guys will come out focused.”Today’s game MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE AT ARKANSAS WHEN 3:05 p.m. today (DH) WHERE Baum Stadium, Fayetteville RECORDS Arkansas 13-8. Mississippi Valley State 1-20.
TICKETS Reserved $12. General admission $10 RADIO RSP statewide radio network. Not all games will be carried by affiliates. Check local listings.
INTERNET www.arkansasrazorbacks.com and ESPN3 PITCHING MATCHUP For Arkansas LHP Colin Poche (1-0, 0.77 ERA) and RHP Alex Phillips (1-0, 2.25). TBA for Mississippi Valley State.
SHORT HOPS Arkansas is 3-0 all-time against Mississippi Valley State … Razorbacks junior first baseman Eric Fisherhit .467 with 7 hits, 4 RBI and 3 runs in 5 games last week against Grambling State and Alabama … Arkansas is 4-6 in one-run games, but has won its last three … the Razorbacks are 11-0 when leading after six innings.
THE WEEK AHEAD TODAY vs Mississippi Valley State 3:05 p.m. (DH) WEDNESDAY vs Mississippi Valley State 6:35 p.m.# THURSDAY Off FRIDAY at Mississippi State, 6:30 p.m.
SATURDAY at Mississppi State, 2 p.m.
SUNDAY at Mississippi State 1:30 p.m.
MONDAY Off #At Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock
TODAY’S GAMES Mississippi Valley State at Arkansas,2, 3:05 p.m.
Florida at Florida State, 5 p.m.
Clemson at Georgia, 6 p.m.
College of Charleston at South Carolina, 6 p.m. Kennesaw State at Auburn, 6 p.m.
LSU at Tulane, 6:30 p.m.
Ole Miss at Southern Miss, 6:30 p.m.
Troy at Alabama, 6:30 p.m.
Belmont at Vanderbilt, 6:30 p.m.
Sam Houston State at Texas A&M, 6:30 p.m.
Southeast Missouri State at Mississippi State, 6:30 p.m.
Mississippi Valley State at Arkansas (DH) WHEN 3:05 p.m. today WHERE Baum Stadium, Fayetteville RECORDS Arkansas 13-8, Mississippi Valley State 1-20 RADIO RSP statewide radio network. Not all games will be carried by affiliates. Check local listings.
Sports, Pages 17 on 03/25/2014