FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas will take on South Alabama this weekend for a three-game series, but they won’t have Friday starter Connor Noland.
Dave Van Horn said Wednesday at the Swatter’s Club that Noland will be out with a mild oblique sprain. Noland is the Friday starter in weekend series. Friday’s game will begin at 3 p.m. at Baum Stadium with Patrick Wicklander on the mound. Noland suffered the injury in the loss to Oklahoma this past Friday in Houston.
“Yeah, it happened in the last inning,” Van Horn said. “We saw he started picking under his shirt there, with his throwing hand under his glove hand and we’re like, maybe there’s something going on there. We did send the trainer out.
“He said, ‘I’m just cramping a little bit.’ So we didn’t know if we bought that real good. We just thought let’s see how this pitch goes. I think he threw a good pitch. Think he threw one more and got out of the inning. Once we got him over there and talked to him a little bit we realized we need to shut him down. I’m glad we did.”
While Arkansas has lost four in a row after winning its first seven, South Alabama will bring a 7-7 record into Baum Stadium. Wicklander is the normal Saturday starter, but was knocked out of Saturday’s game pretty quickly so Van Horn feels comfortable moving him up a day.
“Wicklander’s got great stuff,” Van Horn said. “He just didn’t have it last week. I don’t know why. We hadn’t really seen it. Who knows? If he had gotten through that second inning maybe he could have turned it around, but he threw a lot of pitches in that inning and that’s usually a disaster. It’s hard to send them back out if they throw 30 pitches in an inning, or 32. You’re not going to last. So we had a pretty fresh bullpen and we went to it. Once we got through that it went pretty good.”
Van Horn will pitch Caleb Bolden on Saturday and Kole Ramage Sunday. Van Horn talked about Bolden and Ramage.
“Well, we’ll do everything we can to win Friday,” Van Horn said. “With Bolden starting on Saturday just do what he’s been doing. He’s been flat out just throwing strikes and pitching, pitching ahead in the count and teams are swinging. They’re making contact. He’s not striking a lot of guys out, but you know he’s just done a good job for us. If he can do that again and give us three to four or five good innings, we’ll go to the next guy.
“You know Ramage, he threw real well against Baylor. He just made a couple of mistakes, you know. I think in a 0-0 game, he’s got a 1-2 count or 0-2 count on the nine-hole hitter and he hits him in the foot with a back-door slider. I mean. It wasn’t smart, just stay away. Just bury the ball or see if they will swing and that was with two outs. Then we have a wild pitch then we get a base hit and we’re losing. Just little things. But he’s been throwing the ball extremely well.”
Arkansas will then have midweek games against Grand Canyon on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. and Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m. Van Horn talked about who might be available to pitch those games.
“After the weekend we’ll just see what we’ve got left and go from there,” Van Horn said. “Hopefully we have a little better feeling than we had the last four games. Put a team on the field and probably start some younger guys as far as on the mound. Give some guys an opportunity.
“When you get past Tuesday we’re not gonna throw our guys because we’ve got to go down to Starkville, Mississipppi, and play one of the best teams in the country.”