Hogs move weekend plans up a day

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Friday, March 1, 2019
Arkansas infielder Trevor Ezell looks toward the dugout during a game against Memphis on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas infielder Trevor Ezell looks toward the dugout during a game against Memphis on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — The fickle March weather in Northwest Arkansas has scrambled the No. 12 University of Arkansas’ baseball series at Baum-Walker Stadium this weekend.

Projected winter precipitation on Sunday caused school officials to set up a doubleheader today at 1 p.m., with the second game to follow about 30 minutes later. Both games are scheduled for nine innings.

Right-hander Isaiah Campbell (2-0, 5.23 ERA) is scheduled to take the ball for the Razorbacks (6-1) in the series opener, with right-hander Cody Scroggins (0-0, 7.71) on tap for Game 2.

Stony Brook (3-3) is expected to counter with 6-6 right-hander Greg Marino (1-1, 6.10 ERA) and 6-4 right-hander Brian Hermann (1-0, 7.45) in the double header.

The Sea Wolves, of Long Island, N.Y, made national news in 2012 by upsetting defending national champion LSU in an NCAA super regional in Baton Rouge and advancing to their first College World Series.

Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said he and director of operations Clay Goodwin scheduled the series with Stony Brook in 2015, with the Sea Wolves’ success in 2012 still resonating around the sport. It is the first meeting between the teams.

Campbell (2-0) won his start at Southern California last Friday in an 8-6 decision. The 6-4, 225-pounder had trouble in only one inning — a four-run third — partly due to defensive lapses.

Staked to a 6-0 lead through the top of the fourth, Scroggins made it through 3 2/3 innings before being lifted in the Razorbacks’ 6-3 victory at USC last Thursday. He hit two batters and walked another in the fourth before coming out, and all three of the runners eventually scored.

“He was really good last weekend,” Van Horn said. “I mean really good. … I felt there were a couple of pitches that were borderline that would have gotten him out of it that looked like they were strikes earlier and then they weren’t. They were knee-high or below, just really well-located pitches. Then he hit the wall, it looked like to us, after that. He really went almost through four innings and we would like to see him go five.”

Freshman right-hander Connor Noland (0-0, 2.08) is slated to start Saturday’s 3 p.m. game for Arkansas. The Sea Wolves have not named their projected starter.

Noland allowed 2 earned runs on 3 hits and 2 walks in 4 innings of a no-decision at USC on Saturday. The Trojans rallied for three runs in the bottom of the 10th inning for a 6-4 victory to salvage the final game of the series.

Shortstop Casey Martin (.355, 1 HR, 7 RBI) extended his hitting streak to seven games with a single off the first-base bag in the seven-run fifth inning of Wednesday’s 10-3 victory over Memphis. Martin, the Hogs’ leadoff batter, is the only player with a hit in all seven games.

Trevor Ezell leads Arkansas with a .423 average, 6 stolen bases, 7 walks and a sizzling .615 slugging percentage. He and Martin are tied for the team lead with eight runs scored.

Christian Franklin (.400, 1 HR) has a team-high 9 RBI and has been a spark with 6 walks and 4 of 4 stolen bases. Casey Opitz (.400, 4 RBI) has also drawn six walks, while Jack Kenley (.308, 1 HR, 7 RBI) has six walks and a series of clutch hits, including the go-ahead two-run single in the win over Memphis.

The Razorbacks are No. 11 in the NCAA with 2.86 stolen bases per game.

“I think it just shows the type of offense we have,” Ezell said. “When you continually put pressure on a team on the bases that’s just one extra thing they have to worry about and that gets in their mind for sure.”

The Razorbacks have turned eight double plays and are tied for 24th nationally with 1.14 per game.

Stony Brook has played all its games on the road, winning two of three at Florida International on the opening weekend, then falling in two of three at Southeastern Louisiana.

The top hitters for the Sea Wolves are Michael Wilson (.385, 3 HR, 9 RBI), Brandon Janofsky (.350, 1 RBI), Brandon Alamo (.350, 3 doubles), and Chris Hamilton (.318, 1 HR, 2 RBI). Preseason All-America shortstop Nick Grande has yet to get rolling with a .217 average, 1 home run and 2 RBI.

Stony Brook pitchers Brandon Bonanno (1-0, 3.60) and Adam Erickson (0-0, 3.60) have appeared in three games and each have one save, along with Connor Clark (0-0, 0.00).

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