FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas will take a break from SEC action to host Little Rock for a pair of games this week with the first one Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m.
The Trojans will bring a 12-11 record into Baum-Walker Stadium having been swept in a series in Jonesboro this past weekend. The Trojans do own a 12-6 victory over Auburn on March 13. Dave Van Horn talked about who Arkansas (22-4) will start on the mound Tuesday night.
“Tomorrow we’re going to start (Kole) Ramage,” Van Horn said. “And then we’ve got to see who all we use before we tell you who we’re going to start Wednesday. That’s what [Little Rock] is doing too. They are starting a left hander and they’re not sure Wednesday as well. We’re both in the same boat. We’ve got to go play a bunch of games. Three games on the weekend. Two games during the week. It all sounds good when you’re scheduling it, but it gets a little spooky when you get in the middle of it and then you’ve got to get on a bus and drive six hours early the next morning on a Thursday.”
Ramage has appeared in six games with one start. He is 1-1 with an ERA of 7.84. He has one save. In 10.1 innings, Ramage has allowed 12 hits, 10 runs (nine earned), nine strikeouts and four walks.
“He has made a couple of mistakes,” Van Horn said. “I think one of those home runs his last outing he gave up a home run early in the game and then pitched real well after that. It’s all about location. His fastball is anywhere from 88 to 92. He has got a good changeup and a good slider. Just pitch like we know he can. I don’t think it’s mechanical. I think it’s just about having confidence and going out there and doing it. I think if he could get off to a good start it would be big for him and us.”
Van Horn said he probably won’t rest as many starters against the Trojans as he did against Memphis.
“I will probably start a couple of different guys each day,” Van Horn said. “I don’t plan on not playing one of the starters both games unless maybe some pitchers and some of those bullpen guys. Guys want to play. If they’re healthy they want to play and stay short. As a coach you get concerned a little bit about fatigue and how they’re going to play on Saturday and Sunday.”
Jorden Hussein leads the Trojans with a batting average of .413, John Michael Russ is hitting .364 and Tyler Williams is at .341 with five home runs.
“I know they’ve beat some good people this year,” Van Horn said. “They had a tough weekend out in Jonesboro. A couple of close losses. They’re hitting .280 as a team and that’s what we’re hitting. I know what they did to us two year’s ago. That’s what I know.”
The Trojans came to Baum-Walker Stadium and defeated the Hogs 17-7 on April 2, 2019. Van Horn hasn’t mentioned that game.
“It was a game when you look back at it we didn’t do much when we had opportunities the first five or six innings,” Van Horn said. “It kinda got away from us. They came in here and beat us. That’s what they did. It’s not a rivalry at all. To me, it’s a really good matchup of in-state teams. I think it’s for the state. Been saying that for 10 years, but the first 10 years no one would listen. When Hunter (Yurachek) got here I think he started saying ‘maybe it would be.’ I think some of the guys on the board at the time thought it would be good for the state. They made a change. I think it was a good change. We’re going to get beat. We’re going to lose some games. That’s the way it is in baseball. It’s the middle of the week. I’m glad we’re playing them.”
The Trojans fell to Arkansas State 2-10, 0-4 and 6-10. The two teams will play on Wednesday beginning at 4 p.m.