After dropping the final three games of the series to No. 3 Stanford last weekend, Texas Longhorns baseball (9-7) will face another stiff test in a two game series against No. 5 Arkansas (11-4). The games will be at 6:30 pm on Tuesday and 4 pm on Wednesday at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.
Junior right-hander Beau Ridgeway (8.31 ERA) will get the start on Tuesday for the ‘Horns. After dominating as Texas’ closer a season ago, Ridgeway has gotten off to a poor 2018. In the series finale against Stanford, Ridgeway completed only one inning and allowed three runs on two hits and a walk. The normally reliable stopper also allowed three runs in an inning against LSU earlier in the year.
Tuesday will be an interesting test for Ridgeway’s confidence. Ridgeway hasn’t pitched for more than two innings at a time this year, so its possible he needs more work to find his groove on the mound. Here’s to hoping the highly touted righty has more success starting than he has out of the bullpen thus far.
Wednesday will be another fascinating start for Texas, as freshman Nico O’Donnell (2.13 ERA) will take the mound. O’Donnell is coming off of a solid performance against Stanford in which the ‘Horns notched their lone win of the series. Against the Cardinal, O’Donnell threw for four complete innings allowing three hits, three walks, and two runs while also striking out five.
The ‘Horns will need to return to form on the mound, because Arkansas is a team full of hitters. The Razorbacks are hitting .302 as a team on the season and already have a whopping 24 home runs (compared to only two total by their opponents).
Arkansas’ lineup is headlined by freshman infielder Casey Martin, who is hitting a team best .415 and has a tied for team best four homers. Eric Cole, Heston Kjerstad, and Luke Bonfield bat in the two, three and four spot, respectively, and are all hitting .364 or higher.
Arkansas has not faced any teams currently in the D1 College Baseball top 25, but the Razorbacks are not without impressive wins on their resume. Arkansas took a 2-1 series victory over USC earlier in the month and notched a 1-0 mid-week win over Arizona. Arkansas has also been dominant against inferior opponents, with ridiculous scores such as a 32-4 victory over Bucknell and a 18-1 win over Dayton.
With Texas sitting at 9-7, this series between former Southwest conference rivals has become much more important than just a final test before the Big 12 season kicks in. The Longhorns are desperate for wins to help their NCAA tournament resume, and falling in both games in Fayetteville would push David Pierce’s team into uncomfortable territory heading into conference play.
You can catch the action this weekend on the SEC Network +, or by listening in to 104.9 the Horn. Hook ‘Em!