FAYETTEVILLE – With 37 degree temperatures predicted Friday through Sunday nights in Round Rock, Texas, the Arkansas Razorbacks’ three baseball games at the Karbach Round Rock Classic will start at 4 p.m. instead of the originally scheduled 7 p.m.
At Dell Diamond, home of the Texas Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate Round Rock Express and on the Razorbacks Radio Network and video via FloBaseball streaming, defending SEC champion Arkansas meets the Indiana Hoosiers of the Big Ten on Friday, plsuds the Stanford Cardinal of the Pac 12 Saturday and the University of Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Sunday.
The Razorbacks, 2-1, and still nationally ranked No. 2 by D-1 Baseball after their opening 3-game series last weekend at their Baum-Walker Stadium vs. Illinois State, play a Hoosiers team 0-3 routed twice last weekend at Clemson before taking the Tigers to 10 innings losing, 5-4.
Stanford, ranked No. 6 by D-1 Baseball, was 2-1 after hosting Cal State-Fullerton in a 3-game series in Stanford, Calif. and scheduled Tuesday night to host Santa Clara University.
The Ragin Cajuns of Lafayette, La. and the Sun Belt Conference and coached by former Van Horn Arkansas assistant Matt Deggs, stood 2-1 after winning 2 of 3 in Lafayette over California-Irvine. They were scheduled Tuesday night in Lafayette vs. Southeastern Louisiana.
Between solid Illinois State pitching and the wind blowing in all last weekend at Baum-Walker the Razorbacks didn’t charge the “electric” offense that Van Horn banked upon last weekend.
Van Horn anticipates Indiana, Stanford and Louisiana to come well armed and the wind blowing in again at Round Rock.
“ Our guys played all weekend with the wind blowing in,” Van Horn said. “It was frustrating at times for our hitters because they hit some balls hard that would have left the field, left the yard, and it changed the game a little obviously, And now three days in a row we’re going to get the same wind. So we need to go there with the mindset that when we get a chance to score we’ve got to score. And we have to pitch well and play really good defense.”
Right fielder-DH Brady Slavens, 4 singles in 10 at bats against Illinois State, said power hitters had to readjust against the wind last weekend.
“When the wind blows in sometimes have you may have to play a little small ball even though that may not be your game,” Slavens said. “Sometimes you just have to hit the pitcher’s pitch.”
Competitively the Illinois State series “100 percent” readies his Hogs for Round Rock, Van Horn said.
“Us playing a good, veteran team with a staff that threw strikes I think should keep us on our toes,” Van Horn said. “We’re not overconfident, that’s for sure. We know we’ve got to continue to get better, and that’s what we’re going to try to do this weekend against some more really good teams.”
Senior right-hander Connor Noland, four shutout innings after Illinois State’s 2-run in the season-opener that Arkansas lost, 3-2, freshman left-hander Hagen Smith, six shutout innings in the 5-1 victory over Illinois State, an sophomore right-hander Jaxon Wiggins, a victorious 5-inning start augmented by Kole Ramage’s 4-inning save in Sunday’s 4-2 victory, again comprise Arkansas’ weekend rotation.
Ramage pitched twice in relief last weekend charged with Friday’s loss on the tie-breaking run during his 1 2-3 innings before charged with only a solo home run saving Sunday’s win for Wiggins.
Van Horn and pitching coach Matt Hobbs employed six other relievers for stints varying from two-thirds to 1 and 2-3 innings against Illinois State.
Regarding what they round into at Round Rock, Van Horn said,
“Indiana’s going to be a team that’s going to come in highly, highly motivated,” Van Horn said. “They just lost three games on the road to a good Clemson team. We’re going to get their best shot, no doubt.”
Stanford and Louisiana?
The Stanford game is a couple of teams that there’s a lot of expectations,” Van Horn said. “They have really good players, they went to Omaha Series) last year. It’s going to be a great game.
Then Louisiana-Lafayette, Coach Deggs is one of my former coaches at two different places. He’s done a tremendous job throughout the years.”