Arkansas will take on Southwest Missouri State in Springfield at 5 p.m. Wednesday. The Razorbacks enter the game with a 14-11 overall record and will start RHP Scott Woods who is 2-0 with a 2.38 earned run average. SMS stands at 16-4 and has won four straight and eight of its last nine games. Following Wednesday’s game, the Razorbacks return to Baum Stadium for a weekend series against No. 4 South Carolina. Game one of the series begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday, with Saturday’s contest slated for a 2 p.m. start. Sunday’s series finale will begin at Noon.
Last Time Out
Arkansas endured two days of heavy rains in Nashville only to lose the only game of the weekend against Vanderbilt 4-3. The Razorbacks were held to a season-low four hits in the loss as Commodore starter Jeremy Sowers struck out eight in seven innings of work to earn the win. The game was halted after two and a half innings on Saturday due to heavy rains and completed Sunday afternoon.
Arkansas vs. SMS
The Razorbacks and Bears meet for the third time this season after each claimed a victory in the previous two contests. SMS came away with a 3-2 win over Arkansas at the UTA Invitational on Feb. 16. SMS starter Brad Ziegler fanned 12 Razorbacks in seven innings of work as Arkansas suffered its first loss of the season. In game two, Arkansas put up seven runs in the sixth inning, highlighted by back-to-back home runs by Ryan Fox and Michael Conner, to claim a 10-1 victory over the Bears. Gary Hogan, Jr., allowed one run on four hits in five innings of work to earn the victory. Arkansas leads the all-time series 32-15
Hode Finds Groove
After going 0-for-10 in his first three games, true freshman SS Scott Hode is hitting .412 (8-for-19) with four runs, five RBI and one home run over the five games. The Crystal Lake, Ill., has driven in a run in three straight games and has played near flawless defense. Hode saw his first action of the year at Missouri when he entered the game at third base and booted the first ball hit to him. Hode later moved to his natural position at shortstop and has not made an error in 31 chances.
Arkansas base runners have had a bullseye on their back this season as they have had nearly as many thrown out, 17, as stolen, 24. The Razorbacks have struggled even more in SEC games with two successful steals in nine attempts. Last season, Arkansas was 10-for-15 on the base paths in SEC contests through the same number of games and 32-for-42 overall.
Against Vandy on Sunday the Razorbacks were held to their lowest hit total of the season with four. The total was the lowest for Arkansas since being held to just three hits on March 25, last season against Florida in Gainesville. The Razorbacks were twice held to five hits this season, both coming in back-to-back games. McNeese State held the Hogs to five hits in the Sunday game on March 10, while Oklahoma followed suit on March 12. For the season, the Razorbacks have 13 single-digit hit totals.
Three Dot Notes……
Kirk McConnell is seventh in the SEC with a .490 on-base percentage, tied for second with three triples and sixth in walks with 18. . .RHP Charlie Isaacson is holding opponents to a .225 batting average which places him ninth in the conference. . .RHP Jarrett Gardner is tied for fifth in the SEC with three saves. . .Arkansas is hitting just .197 (37-for-188) in RHP Charlie Isaacson’s six decisions this season. . .Scott Hode has the longest current hitting streak at five games. . .RHP Scott Roehl has a 8.5-to-1 K/BB ratio. . .The Razorbacks are averaging 4.93 runs per game.
Hogan Named SEC Pitcher of the Week
RHP Gary Hogan, Jr., was named the Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Week after his complete game shutout against Alabama. The junior from North Little Rock, Ark., struck out a career-high eight batters and notched his first career complete game. The win also snapped a 13 game losing streak to the Crimson Tide and marked the first time Alabama had been shutout in 100 games. The win was also the first shutout of an SEC opponent since 1994, a span of 220 conference games.
With the exception of first base, the Razorback infield has been made up of a committee of players. Ten different players have been used in various combinations at second, third and shortstop. Scott Bridges, Brett Hagedorn and Luke Weatherford each have seven starts or more at second base this season. Four different Razorbacks have logged time at shortstop. Scott Bridges, Jeff Fletcher, Scott Hode and Tigger Lyles have all seen action at short, with Hode starting the last six games. Cody Clark and Brett Hagedorn have split time at third base since Clay Goodwin went out with an injury.
Goodwin Out Indefinitely
Redshirt freshman Clay Goodwin is out indefinitely with a sprained right shoulder. Goodwin sustained the injury March 16, at Georgia diving back to the bag. At the time of his injury, Goodwin was hitting .340 with 10 RBI and six doubles. Brett Hagedorn filled in at third against Alabama and went hit .273 with two doubles. Hagedorn was solid in the field picking up 14 assists and four putouts in the weekend series.
Looking for Support
Senior RHP Charlie Isaacson has had little run support in his six decisions this season. The Razorbacks have not collected more than seven hits in those games and have scored two or less runs three times. Arkansas tallied five runs in Isaacson’s only win of the season against McNeese State. The Razorbacks have produced only seven extra-base hits in those games, hitting five doubles and two home runs and is hitting .197 (37-for-188) in those games. Arkansas has stranded 38 base runners in Isaacson’s six decisions this season.