FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas is finally going to play a game in Baum-Walker Stadium today at 3 p.m. against Southeast Missouri State.
The Razorbacks are fresh off a 3-0 start to the season being three former Southwest Conference foes in the State Farm College Baseball Showdown in Arlington, Texas. Dave Van Horn talked about No. 2 Arkansas’ opponent this weekend.
“I know they’re that a little bit older,” Van Horn said. “The lefty we’re going to see tomorrow has got good stuff, 90-94, older kid. He held South Alabama down and they’re one of the projected teams to win their division and league. So I know we’re going to have our hands full. I know Coach (Andy) Sawyers very well. He was a senior at Nebraska my first year there. He has coached at Texas A&M, Kansas State and he’s got some good players. Good recruiter and works hard. I don’t think he would have added another game with us if he didn’t feel they could come down here and compete with a chance to win.
“Our focus is for us to continue to get better and hopefully we’re going to try to win every game. I am going to mix it up a little bit here and there, but you know next week we don’t have a mid-week game. Because of Nebraska, we had to shift around some things. So we don’t play after this weekend for a full week, unless we can find a game. So we’ll try to use some people. But bottom line we’re going to try to get better and hopefully win them all.”
The lefty for SEMO is Dylan Dodd (1-0, 1.50). SEMO went 2-1 against South Alabama to open its season. As noted, Van Horn has a good relationship with the coaches at SEMO including a former player of his. Did that help get this series put together?
“It probably helped,” Van Horn said. “We needed an extra game and we got that. I can’t remember exactly when we scheduled this series. I think it was maybe last fall because someone out of California was supposed to come in here and they were worried about being able to get out of state. I think it was Cal-Northridge. Andy lost a series to somebody, so it worked out for us. We both had the same weekend looking for a team. Then we added the four game a month ago or so. I’d say it definitely helped. It made it easier, for sure.”
While the Redhawks don’t put fear into the fans, but the truth is this series has been very equal in past years. Arkansas and SEMO have played 11 times, all in Fayetteville, and the Hogs only lead the series 6-5. What makes them so tough for the Hogs?
“I just think they do a good job recruiting,” Van Horn said. “They play in a good league and they play a good non-conference schedule, so I don’t feel like they’re intimidated. Some schools might come in that are mid-majors that are a little nervous. I don’t sense this when they’re on the field with us. We’re going to have to play really good baseball to win games. If we do, we’ll win some games. If we don’t, we’ll get beat. It’s a credit to their coaching staff and the mindset that they’ve instilled in these kids.”
Since last season was limited to 16 games due to COVID it has to feel good for Van Horn and the Hogs to be back at Baum-Walker Stadium. Van Horn is expecting a lot of support this weekend.
“I think the crowd will be as big as it can be,” Van Horn said. “I think whatever the max they’re going to let in, I think that many people are going to show up. Our fans are amazing. You look at how many people showed up in Arlington and a lot of those faces I recognize as living around here or in this state, so they traveled. I think there’s a lot of excitement to play our first game here at Baum-Walker Stadium.
“The new expansion’s going on, obviously. It’s not complete. But a lot of times… We’ve already got the first-game, so to speak, jitters out of the way. But so has Southeast Missouri State. They’ve already been on the road, so it’s not like they’re going to be all stressed out coming in here. Buy yeah, definitely, Opening Day is always special. It looks like the weather’s going to be okay. Got a little spoiled yesterday with that 70-plus degree weather and today’s been a little bit more down to normal. Then tomorrow I think it’s going to be mid-50s, so hey, we’re just glad we’re home and getting to play at home for a while.”
The Friday and Saturday games are also slated to start at 3 p.m. and then 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Arkansas RHP Caleb Bolden (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. SEMO LHP Dylan Dodd (1-0, 1.50 ERA)
Arkansas RHP Zebulon Vermillion (0-0, 4.50 ERA) vs. SEMO LHP Noah Niznik (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Arkansas RHP Peyton Pallette (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. SEMO RHP Ryan Vogt (0-0, 6.00 ERA)
Arkansas LHP Lael Lockhart (0-0, 2.08 ERA) vs. SEMO TBA
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