FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas leaned on its veteran pitchers to start on the mound during the season-opening series against Western Illinois.
Now, Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn is handing the ball to his young guys.
Two freshmen are scheduled to start for Arkansas (2-1) in its midweek series against New Orleans (0-3), which begins at 3:05 p.m. today. Left-hander Colin Poche will be on the mound today, while right-hander Trey Killian starts Wednesday.
Poche will make his Arkansas debut after being suspended for the opening weekend. Killian will make his second appearance after throwing three scoreless innings in relief of Ryne Stanek during last Friday’s win against Western Illinois.
Both pitchers will try to help the Hogs bounce back from Sunday’s 7-5 loss. The Razorbacks won the weekend series, but couldn’t earn a season-opening sweep.
“Obviously, it didn’t end the way I thought,” Van Horn said of the series. “We knew we weren’t going to win them all, but it is a disappointing loss.”
Arkansas’ isn’t expected to have second baseman Dominic Ficociello in the lineup once again because of an oblique strain that sidelined him against Western Illinois. Van Horn said there’s a chance Ficociello could return late this week, but said the junior will probably sit out until the team travels to Arizona later this month.
“I don’t see him playing the whole week, probably,” Van Horn said. “Give him another 10-11 days and see if we can get that thing completely healed up.”
Arkansas will likely shake up the lineup some after collecting 11 hits, but failing to turn in timely at-bats in Sunday’s loss. Center fielder Jacob Morris, who hit in the two-hole against Western Illinois, may be replaced by designated hitter Joe Serrano.
Morris went 0-for-7 with four strikeouts the final two games of the series. Serrano, meanwhile, went 4-for-7 with two RBIs and two runs scored batting seventh.
“We’ve just got to set the table,” Van Horn said. Sunday afternoon. “We set the table great on Friday and Saturday. (Sunday) was a little bit different. …. Morris had a rough day. And Serrano, he had a pretty good day. Maybe we move him up into the two hole, which is kind of where I thought he would hit anyway.”
— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau