FAYETTEVILLE – Regarding the Razorbacks this weekend it seems they’ve become the University of Arkansas at Baton Rouge.
The Razorbacks men’s and women’s outdoor track teams. baseball team and women’s softball team all descend upon Baton Rouge, La. for competition against LSU.
The sprinters, hurdlers and field event folks for Coach Chris Bucknam’s Razorbacks men and Coach Lance Harter’s Razorbacks women compete in Friday’s LSU Invitational Outdoor Track meet.
Coach Dave Van Horn’s nationally No. 1/SEC West leading, baseball Razorbacks play LSU’s Tigers in a 3-game SEC West series starting at 6 Friday night on the SEC Network and 6:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, both Internet video available on SEC Network + at Alex Box Stadium.
And Coach Courtney Deifel’s nationally 10th-ranked SEC leading softball Razorbacks, conclude their regular season visiting LSU at 6 p.m. Saturday on ESPNU, 5 p.m. Sunday on the SEC Network and 6 p.m. Monday on the SEC Network.
Van Horn said Wednesday he wished Saturday’s softball’s series opener in Baton Rouge didn’t conflict with his Razorbacks playing their Game Two of the series Saturday night.
“If they were playing a day game, we’d probably run over and watch a couple innings just to get out of the hotel, and do something,” Van Horn said. “I knew track was down there, as well, on Saturday. So hopefully they do well. Big weekend for softball. They’re trying to win an outright championship. They need to win a couple of games and they might be in really good shape. So really pulling for Courtney (Deifel) and the young ladies. I went over and watched them play a couple times this (last) weekend (losing 2 of 3 to Missouri at Bogle Park) and they’re really good. They’re really good. Missouri’s really good, too, and they (Arkansas) struggled a little bit (losing Saturday and Sunday) but they bounced back Monday. That was a huge win.”
Asked the what ifs all could swing a big stick in Baton Rouge this weekend, Van Horn responded, “”It would be great. We pull for each other. We all text each other back and forth. Coach Bucknam and myself. Coach Harter, Courtney, all of us are pulling for each other. Like when Coach (Brad) McMakin’s golf team was so close (to repeating as SEC champion) this past weekend we were all following it. We’ve had a tremendous year with all the programs. You look at it. Soccer (winning the SEC regular season last fall and about to compete in the NCAA Tournament) and basketball and football got better and will continue to get better.”
Van Horn was asked how amazing to see both baseball and softball leading the SEC while 70-14 overall combined with softball, 38-7 and baseball, 32-7.
“”It is really,” Van Horn said. “Winning is not easy. I tell our players that all the time. It’s easy to be average at this level if you have good players but winning is tough. You don’t just show up and win. You’ve got to find a way to win and fight to win, and I think that our programs do that.”
Van Horn Patrick Wicklander and Benton’s Peyton Pallette, both with stellar starts through seven and five innings respectively in last weekend’s series at South Carolina, set as Friday and Saturday starters.
Depending on who is unused as a possible relief bridge between the starters and incredible seventh-inning on closer Kevin Kopps, 6-0, five saves and 0.97 earned run average, Lael Lockhart, Zebulon Vermillion or Caleb Bolden, all with SEC starts could start Sunday’s game, Van Horn said.
Former staff ace Connor Noland, shelved most of this season with injuries but pitching in practices this weekend, and Jaxon Wiggins, the freshman relievers with high 90s heat but unused last series with Kopps recording two saves for his two games, also come ready into Baton Rouge.