FAYETTEVILLE – After taking two of three games during opening weekend, the No. 16 University of Arkansas baseball team returns to the field Friday for the beginning of a three-game series against Troy at Baum Stadium. First pitch of the series opener is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. with games two and three on Saturday and Sunday set for a 1:05 p.m. start.
Through three games, Arkansas (2-1) is hitting .327 as a team with seven players carrying a batting average of .300 or higher. The Razorbacks are led at the plate by Monk Kreder who posted a .625 batting average during the team’s first three games of the season. The Razorbacks’ designated hitter reached base eight times, with a team-high five hits and three walks, and had three RBI during the Ball State series.
Leadoff hitter Jarrod McKinney reached base safely at least twice in all three games of the season-opening series. James McCann leads the team with five RBI during the young season. He and Andy Wilkins each had a home run against the Cardinals. Wilkins’ solo shot in the season opener was his 28th career home run, four shy of cracking the program’s top-10 list.
On the mound, the Razorback arms were solid against Ball State and posted a 2.33 ERA in season’s first three games. Mike Bolsinger and Brett Eibner each picked up a win last weekend and will return to the mound for a start against Troy. Bolsinger is penciled in to start Friday, while Eibner will get the nod for Sunday’s series finale. Drew Smyly will make his first start of the season Saturday in game two.
The Razorback pitchers showed great control last weekend, tallying 35 strikeouts to just five walks in three games. Geoffrey Davenport fanned seven hitters in four innings of work, while Bolsinger had six strikeouts on his way to a win in the season opener. TJ Forrest picked up his first career save last weekend with a four-inning relief effort against Ball State.
This weekend will mark the second series meeting between Arkansas and Troy. The two programs’ only previous meetings came during the 2007 season when the Razorbacks took two of three on the Trojans’ home field. The teams split the first two games of the set before Arkansas downed Troy, 16-2, in the finale to clinch the series victory.
Troy (3-1) comes in to Fayetteville off a 9-7 loss to Samford in its last outing. During opening weekend, the Trojans scored 48 runs en route to a sweep of Hofstra. As a team, Troy is hitting .383 through four games. Adam Bryant paces the club with .643 batting average, two home runs and seven RBI. On the mound, the Trojans are expected to start Shane McCain, Tyler Ray and Andrew Dickinson. The trio is a combined 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA.
Fans can listen to this weekend’s action on the Razorback Sports Network from ISP. Chuck Barrett will be in the booth as the network’s play-by-play announcer. There will also be an audio and video stream available at the online home of Razorback athletics, ArkansasRazorbacks.com.