No. 1 Arkansas will take on Ole Miss on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. CT in the SEC Tournament.
The Razorbacks have defeated Georgia 11-2 and Vanderbilt 6-4 thus far in the tournament. The Hogs entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed.
On the other hand, Saturday will be the fifth game for Ole Miss, who was the No. 5 seed. They opened play by defeating Auburn 7-4 Tuesday, fell to Vanderbilt 5-4 on Wednesday, defeated Georgia 4-0 on Thursday and then bounced back to eliminate Vandy 4-1 today. While the Hogs finished the regular season 44-10 and 22-8, Ole Miss was 41-18 and 18-12.
The Razorbacks got to rest on Friday and Dave Van Horn talked about what his plans for the day were following Thursday night’s win.
“It’s great to get tomorrow off,” Van Horn said Thursday night. “Our plan right now is probably around 12 tomorrow we will take the team over to Samford and give them the option to take some swings in the batting cage then we’re going to lift weights. Take an hour and half maybe and let them get ready for Saturday’s game mentally and physically.”
Van Horn will send redshirt junior Caleb Bolden to the mound to start against Ole Miss. Bolden is 2-0 on the season. He has appeared in 15 games with eight starts. He also has earned one save and has an ERA of 4.89. In 38.2 innings, Bolden has allowed 33 hits, 24 runs (21 earned), walked 19, struck out 40 and opposing batters are hitting .234 against him.
“I’m sure Bolden will pitch,” Van Horn said. “Sunday will definitely be TBA (if Arkansas advances). But we will do what we can to win on Saturday. If we can get Sunday anything can happen. Yeah it will probably be a little bit of everybody if we’re fortunate enough to play on Sunday.”
The Hogs took two of three games against Ole Miss in Oxford. The teams split a doubleheader on Saturday, April 10, with Arkansas taking the opener 7-3 and then losing 13-6 in the nightcap. On Sunday, the Razorbacks won a slugfest 18-14.
As far as ace reliever Kevin Kopps who pitched three innings and got the save in the win over Vandy Thursday night his availability for the next two games was explained by Van Horn.
“You might not see him any more in the tournament or you might see him for an inning,” Van Horn said. “We’ll see.”
Arkansas is only the second team in SEC history to go through the entire season and not lose a single series. Van Horn talked about Arkansas’ approach to playing a very difficult schedule.
“We just play,” Van Horn said. “We have enough pitching to keep us in games. We don’t make too many mistakes in the field where we give up a real big inning. We fight you at the plate a little bit and put together an inning or two. That’s been the formula. That’s been the demeanor of this team. They just keep playing….they play hard.”
Saturday’s game will be televised on the SEC Network. Tennessee and Florida are on the opposite side of the bracket and will play at noon. The two winners of the single elimination games on Saturday will be meet Sunday at 2 p.m. CT and televised on ESPN2.