This weekend’s series at Swayze Field will feature two of the better pitching staffs in the SEC.
In overall play, Arkansas is second in the league with a 2.31 staff ERA, while Ole Miss is third at 2.40. South Carolina is the leader at 2.05.
In conference-only play, however, Ole Miss has the top ERA at 2.53, while Arkansas is next at 2.68 followed by South Carolina at 2.69.
Last year Ole Miss was 18-1 when it traveled to Arkansas to begin SEC play. The Rebels cruised to a 7-1 win in the opener after a fast stat with a grand slam from Preston Overbey in the second inning.
That came off Arkansas right-hander Trey Killian.
Killian will start tonight. First pitch at Swayze is 6:30. Killian enters the weekend with a strong 2.30 ERA but due to matters beyond his control (think run support), he’s 2-7 on the year.
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn believes part of the problem in Killian’s short start against the Rebles last year – 3 innings, 5 hits, 2 walks, 7 runs, all earned – was just misfortune. He’s hopeful for better luck for Killian tonight.
“Last year he had the one bad inning when the wind was blowing out to left. He didn’t get a call or two and the next thing you know they have got the bases loaded with two out and actually the ball that went out of the park was a fly ball that got up in the wind and just drifted out of the park. I am sure he remembers it and it was a major setback for him. You know he struggled a little bit after that but he has come so far. What he does is he competes so hard and he s confident. He can really locate that fastball,” Van Horn said.
Van Horn also believes the Razorbacks have a chance to get Killian some runs.
“Well, we have been swinging it a lot better. We have been scoring runs and putting together some better innings. Obviously they have outstanding pitching and Friday nights it’s tough to score usually. That ballpark can be lively. If that wind is out of the south it’s going to be blowing out somewhere. When we get a good pitch we have got to square it up and hit it where they are not. It’s a part of the game to do what you are supposed to do and you have to have a little bit of luck and get some balls to drop in,” he said.
While Ole Miss hit and scored well against Killian that was not necessarily that case against right-hander Landon Simpson, who relieved him. Simpson threw five scoreless innings with five hits, no walks and four strikeouts.
The Razorbacks, though, had trouble scoring against Bobby Wahl and Scott Weathersby.
Ole Miss dropped the next game in that series but won it on Sunday with a 13-inning 6-4 victory.
Simpson has a 4.50 ERA in 16 relief innings this season.