FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas baseball team will begin its annual Cardinal-White series on Saturday morning, Oct. 16, at 11:05 a.m. at Baum Stadium.
The culmination of fall practices, the fall World Series splits the Razorbacks into two teams who play a series for bragging rights in the clubhouse. The World Series is usually extremely competitive, rarely short on enthusiasm and allows the Razorback coaches to see how their players, both new and old react in game situations.
"I just want to see the guys go out and play hard," Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. "The series caps off the fall and catapults us into the off season. We’ve seen a lot during fall practices and are young in some areas. I hope we get through this without any injuries and can get into the off season."
The Cardinal team is led by junior catcher James McCann and sophomore pitcher D.J. Baxendale. McCann batted .286 last season as Arkansas’ primary backstop, but his value behind the plate as a game caller and defensive presence far outweigh his abilities at the plate. Baxendale is coming off a tremendous freshman year in which he posted a 0-2 record but led the team with seven saves and had a 3.58 earned run average. Baxendale is Arkansas’ most experienced pitcher returning from last year’s Super Regional team with 60.1 innings of work under his belt.
Junior Collin Kuhn leads the White team in the series. A 15th-round pick by the Detroit Tigers in last year’s Major League Baseball first-year player draft, Kuhn chose to return to school and his .336 batting average and team high 17 stolen bases will be a huge asset to the Razorbacks this year. On the mound, the White squad will look for guidance from sophomore Geoffrey Davenport who was 2-2 a year ago with a 3.63 ERA over nearly 40 innings of work.
While the Cardinal-White series draws significant attention to what is going on between the lines, the Razorback coaching staff is eager to step away from the diamond and work on other aspects of the game.
"I’m really looking forward to individual and small group drills," Van Horn said. "We need to get our kids in the weight room to get stronger and they also need a rest from baseball. Some of them have been playing since February so to get off the field for a time will help them refocus."