FAYETTEVILLE — After going 3-0 in Arlington this past weekend, Arkansas will be at Baum-Walker Stadium for the first time this season with a four-game series against Southeast Missouri State.
Since it’s a four-game series Dave Van Horn will need a fourth starter this weekend. Caleb Bolden, who was very impressive in relief against Texas, will get the start on Thursday.
“Yeah, we’re going to go with Bolden tomorrow,” Van Horn said. “He threw 50-something (56) pitches I think on Sunday. Then we’re going to go right back with the rotation we did on the weekend.”
That would be Zebulon Vermillion on Friday, Peyton Pallette on Saturday and then Lael Lockhart on Sunday. Against Texas, Bolden pitched four innings allowing no hits or runs, one walk and hit a batter and struck out seven. Vermillion pitched four innings against Texas Tech. He allowed three hits, two runs, walked a pair, struck out four and hit one. Against the Longhorns, Pallette threw 4.1 innings, allowed one hit, no runs, walked a single batter, struck out eight and hit two. Lockhart faced TCU and went 4.1 innings, allowed two hits, one run, walked two, fanned eight and hit a couple of batters.
Bolden has developed his slider and thus made him far more effective this season.
“Yeah, what he did was he developed a better slider,” Van Horn said. “He had a slider, but it wasn’t moving like that. He changed his grip, started experimenting with things. Obviously it worked. There’s a lot of stories like that out there. They pick somebody’s brain or ask somebody how they’re holding their slider or their change-up or whatever and it’s been career-changing for some guys, even big leaguers. So it’s obviously good for us and good for him that he has confidence in that pitch and has found something that can make him stand out.”
Last week the pitchers were on a 75-pitch count. Will that be extended any this weekend?
“Just a little bit,” Van Horn said. “But then again it depends on if it’s a tough 75 or they are in a windup a lot. If there’s a tough inning where they throw 30 pitches it could get them out quicker because if you have a lot of 15 to 20 pitch innings, a few of those, it’s a lot easier to send them back out there. We’ll really keep an eye on that this second week.”
True freshman Jaxon Wiggins will have a role again this weekend. He pitched one inning against TCU. He threw 15 pitches and struck out the side in his one inning of work.
“Well I would say probably there is a either/or or both,” Van Horn said. “I mean if we needed to bring him in in the 9th tomorrow to finish off the game and then again on Saturday. We could probably do that or Sunday for sure. If we threw him two innings tomorrow we could probably throw him two or three or four.
“He’s been stretched out. We just pulled him out of the game because our thinking was, ‘Yeah it’s a tight game. We’ve got some good arms that need to go in there. Whatever he did the next inning he couldn’t top it. Lets just get him out of there with a really good taste in his mouth and a lot of confidence, but yeah he plenty of pitches left out there that he could have gone back out there for an inning or two more so. Yeah, very talented. I see him as a little bit of everything right now for us as far as his role. But he’ll start here one day, whether it’s this year or next. He’s definitely one of our guys.”
When asked what will be the role for Patrick Wicklander and Connor Noland, who didn’t throw last weekend, but were starters last year Van Horn had a simple reply.
“Same role,” Van Horn said. “Out of the pen. Obviously that’s all there is right now because we’ve named our four starters. Out of the pen.”
Blake Adams is a right-handed pitcher from Springdale Har-Ber. Van Horn talked about his role.
“Yep I do,” Van Horn said when asked if Adams has a role. “You know Adams has thrown the ball pretty good. He’s actually got a slider that’s better than he’s had. He’s always had a good curveball, it’s a little slower. Velocity is up. I think in a normal year, you would see him more, but we just have guys that are back. He’s going to move into a role. He’s a guy that we thought maybe about starting in this series. He could come in long relief for us this year.”
Zack Morris and Will McEntire are two more pitchers Van Horn was asked about.
“I mean Morris we talked about him,” Van Horn said. “We didn’t throw him this weekend we thought about it a couple of times. He’s a guy, he could be a starter. We see him more as an inning eater in the middle, maybe come and get a big left-handed hitter out and go back out after that and just let him go. You know McEntire hasn’t gotten off to a great start here. He hadn’t had a great fall, and hasn’t had a great spring obviously. We didn’t have him on the trip. It’s a tough deal We’ve got guys that are ahead of him. We think he’s got good stuff. Hopefully it will come out of him here in the future.”
Nate Wohlgemuth is a freshman from Owasso (Okla.) who also has great stuff.
“Nate’s right in the mix, but he tweaked his back and we had to hold him out,” Van Horn said. “He threw a bullpen while we were in Arlington and it went well. He’s gonna throw a little bit today. If it goes good, he might be available for the second half of the weekend. He’s got a really good arm, good fastball and a plus, plus, plus changeup. He can help us right away, so we’ll get him out there as soon as we can.”
The first pitch on Thursday at Baum-Walker Stadium is set for 3 p.m.