FAYETTEVILLE — No. 2 Arkansas will play host to UCA on Tuesday night at Baum-Walker Stadium in another in-state matchup.
Arkansas (21-5) is coming off a weekend series win over Mississippi State while UCA also won its weekend conference battle taking two of three against North Alabama. UCA (11-15) and Arkansas both own wins over Little Rock. UCA has also faced another SEC power losing to Vanderbilt 5-2 on March 1. Dave Van Horn is expecting another midweek test.
“I noticed they’ve been winning a lot more lately,” Van Horn said. “I think they might have just swept a road series in conference, or maybe two out of three for sure (UCA won 2 of 3 against North Alabama). I’m sure they’re confident, and they’re playing Arkansas. They’re coming up here and get to play in front of a good crowd. The weather is supposed to be nice. I’m sure it’ll be a good ballgame.”
Van Horn has a new starting pitcher taking the mound Tuesday.
“Miller Pleimann,” Van Horn said. “Hopefully he gives us three or four good innings. Miller’s experience, a strike-thrower. He’s got a good off speed pitch. Hopefully he gets us off to a good start.”
Pleimann had a very good outing out of the bullpen against the Trojans. Did that play a role in Van Horn opting to start him?
“That helped,” Van Horn said. “We’ve always liked Miller. His stuff is kind of different because he’s got a couple of different type off speed pitches. He attacks the zone. Again a midweek game, we just feel like we need someone to come in there and throw strikes that has a little bit of experience and that should be Miller.”
Against the Trojans, Pleimann was the first arm out of the bullpen. He worked 2.1 innings, allowed four hits, two runs (one earned), struck out five and walked none while facing 11 hitters. Who else could pitch?
“Heston Tole hasn’t thrown in awhile,” Van Horn said. “(Austin) Ledbetter hasn’t thrown in awhile. A couple of left-handers. I don’t know. You won’t see any of the guys that threw yesterday for sure. It depends on what it takes to win the game. We want to win the game but we can’t give up our bullpen too much because we play Thursday. We travel Wednesday, a light workout. It will be here before we know it.”
Van Horn admitted the recent rainouts have cost him some opportunities to use different pitchers.
“Yes, no doubt,” Van Horn said. “We feel that like we have four games this week and next week we have five. So some of the guys that maybe don’t get to pitch tomorrow or do get to pitch tomorrow definitely need to pitch next Tuesday or Wednesday. And then we turn around and play LSU next Thursday night. So those Tuesday and Wednesday games are going to be the best of the rest. Guys that are going to have to give us some good innings.”
Except for possibly Michael Turner, expect Arkansas to play most of its starters against UCA.
“There’s only one mid-week game instead of two,” Van Horn said. “Unless I just feel like somebody’s really banged up, I’m going to get some guys some at-bats. They want to play. They made that be known to me last night when I got home through text messages and maybe a phone call, hey I really want to play. I need to get it going. I need to get better. Because maybe they didn’t play last week, or maybe one game or they didn’t play. They want to keep rolling, and I get it.”
6 p.m. Tuesday, April 5
Tuesday night’s ballgame will stream on SEC Network+ with Brett Dolan (play-by-play) and Troy Eklund (analyst) on the call. Fans can catch all the action through the ESPN app on smartphones, computers and tablets or via Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
The game can also be heard on the Razorback Sports Network from Learfield/IMG, including locally in Fayetteville on 92.1 FM, with Phil Elson (play-by-play) and Razorback great Bubba Carpenter (analyst) on the call. A full list of radio affiliates is available here.
Tuesday, April 5
UCA RHP Cade Fenton (0-1, 5.14 ERA) vs. Arkansas RHP Miller Pleimann (0-0, 3.00 ERA)
Last season’s meeting between Arkansas and UCA was the first between the two teams since at least 1960. The Hogs won, 21-8, highlighted by Robert Moore’ cycle, which was the first by a Razorback hitter since Kyle Harris did so against Tennessee in 1994.
- Arkansas has won 12 consecutive midweek games, including all four of its midweek contests this season.
- The Razorbacks are ranked eighth nationally in hits allowed per nine innings (7.1), 13th in earned run average (3.36) and 14th in strikeouts per nine innings (11.0).
- Defensively, Arkansas has been superb with a .986 fielding percentage, which tops the SEC and ranks fourth nationally.
- RHP Miller Pleimann will make his first start of the season on Tuesday night. The Fayetteville, Ark., native made one start on the mound last season, striking out three in two hitless innings of work against Memphis.
Click here for UCA’s schedule and results.
Click here for Arkansas’ schedule and results.