Kjerstad, McFarland won't make Diamond Hogs' trip to Little Rock

By: Bob Holt
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2018
Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad runs the bases during an exhibition game against Wichita State on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018, in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad runs the bases during an exhibition game against Wichita State on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas baseball team will be without two starting position players — sophomore right fielder Heston Kjerstad and junior first baseman Jordan McFarland — when the Razorbacks face the University of Arkansas-Little Rock in an exhibition game at 4:30 p.m. Friday at the Trojans’ Gary Hogan Field.

Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said Kjerstad, who has the flu, and McFarland, who has mononucleosis, won’t make the trip to Little Rock.

Kjerstad hit a two-run home run in Arkansas’ 10-1 exhibition game victory over Wichita State last Friday night at Baum Stadium.

As a freshman last season Kjerstad started all 69 games in left field and hit .332 with 14 home runs and 58 runs batted in. He moved to right field this fall.

Freshman Christin Franklin, who started in left field against Wichita State, will start in right field against UALR, Van Horn said.

Matt Goodheart, a sophomore from Magnolia who transferred from San Jacinto (Texas) Junior College, will start in left field, Van Horn said.

Goodheart was a designated hitter and also played at first base and in left field against Wichita State and went 2 for 5 with 4 RBI, including a three-run home run.

Van Horn said sophomore Casey Opitz, who started at catcher last week, will start at first base against UALR.

“Casey’s a good first baseman,” Van Horn said. “He really can play anywhere to be honest with you.”

Razorbacks senior Zack Plunkett will start at catcher.

Freshman pitchers Patrick Wicklander and Caleb Bolden — who each had a shutout inning against Wichita State — won’t make the trip to Little Rock, Van Horn said, because they’ll start in Arkansas’ Red-White intrasquad World Series opener on Monday.

UALR Coach Chris Curry, an Arkansas assistant coach in 2009 and 2010, said he is holding out his top two starting pitchers — junior Chandler Fidel and Jose Torres — and starting junior catcher Kale Emshoff against the Razorbacks.

Curry said Fidel is being rested after throwing 96 1/3 innings last season and another 30 innings in the Cape Cod League. Emshoff has elbow soreness, Curry said. Torres won’t be eligible to play until the regular season after transferring in January from Trinidad State (Colo.) Junior College.

Junior right-hander Isaiah Campbell, who allowed 1 run and 4 hits in 4 innings against Wichita State, will start for the Razorbacks at UALR. Van Horn said Campbell likely won’t go more than three innings.

Hayden Arnold, a sophomore right-hander from Rison who played at Watson Chapel High School, will be UALR’s starting pitcher, Curry said.

Arnold was 1-3 with a 3.53 earned run average in 51 innings last season.

UALR is playing its first exhibition game. The Trojans will play their second exhibition at Ole Miss on Oct. 27.

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