FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas’ only losing pitcher in its three-game SEC series at No. 1 Texas A&M last weekend opens the Razorbacks’ next SEC series tonight.
Arkansas — 24-17 overall and a sizzling 9-9 in the SEC West, considering the Razorbacks started 1-5 — host the Mississippi State Bulldogs (22-19, 6-12) at 6:30 tonight at Baum Stadium and 6. Saturday and 1 . Sunday.
Trey— the native, Mountain Home High grad and normally ace of this Arkansas staff — now stands 1-3 with a bloated 5.87 ERA after taking one for the team against A&M in College Station.
Thehammered , who labored into the fifth inning, for 11 runs on 11 hits in a 13-6 victory. Arkansas recovered from that to stun A&M, 9-8 and 8-2, and take the series.
Arkansas won the last two games on bullpen depth thatsaved from pitching too early by laboring on in the opener at the expense of his ERA rising like the national debt.
“That’s probably the roughest outing he’s ever had,” Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. “He just didn’t have it and he’ll admit it. Normally he can locate that fastball. He wasn’t able to do that. It really started with the first hitter. But, what he did for us, he gave us four-plus innings. I was proud of him for that.
“He didn’t complain. Just kind of took it for the team and saved our bullpen. I’m sure he can’t wait to get the ball on Friday.”
“He had one bad start,” senior left fielder Joe Serrano said. “We still believe in him. We still expect him to put up good numbers and we still expect him to compete like he always does.”
Shortstop Michaelsaid, “Trey’s going to be just fine. He’s good for a reason.”
The Razorbacks need a good start out ofto continue the momentum gained at A&M and to remind the Razorbacks that the temporarily lowly Bulldogs are capable of doing to Arkansas what the Razorbacks did to A&M, which was 35-3 before Arkansas stunned the twice on Sunday.
“You look at Mississippi State, this was a preseason Top 20 team most every poll,” Van Horn said. “They have good players. They are not going to quit. They are just one or two good weekends away from being where everybody else is and we are within a couple of losses of being in the same position that they are. We can’t go patting ourselves on the back because we had a really good day. We have won some series in a row but you can’t say, ‘This team has this record and all we have to do is show up. Or this team is way ahead of us.’ You can’t play that way.”
Dominic (5-3, 4.97) on Saturday and freshman Keaton McKinney (3-1, 3.93) on Sunday, follow in the rotation.
McKinney has been Arkansas’ best starter the last two weekends, throwing a complete-game victory two Sundays ago against Kentucky and the Razorbacks’ only starter, withJackson netting the save, to beat A&M.
“He’s been going in that rubber-match game; three weeks in a row he’s been out there on a Sunday,” Van Horn said. “Three weeks in a row we’ve won that game. He comes in, he throws strikes, keeps them off-balance.”
exited trailing A&M, but the Razorbacks rallied from an 8-3 deficit and won behind reliever Jackson Lowery with James saving it in the ninth.
Coach JohnBulldogs are expected to start lefty Lucas (4-3, 3.11) tonight with Preston Brown (5-4, 3.21) and Austin Sexton (3-4, 4.03) starting Saturday and Sunday.