Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics (Walt Beazley)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - The Arkansas baseball team returns to the field on Friday as it officially opens fall practice. Friday's practice is set to begin at 2 p.m. at Baum Stadium. All Arkansas baseball practices and scrimmages are open to the public.
The Razorbacks will hold a pair of scrimmages on the first weekend of fall baseball. Arkansas will scrimmage on Saturday at approximately 12:30, while Sunday's scrimmage will start at approximately 2:15 p.m.
"One of the things we want to get accomplished is we need to figure out who is going to pitch for us," head coach Dave Van Horn said. "We lost nine pitchers from one of the top pitching staffs in the country. That's the biggest question. We also need to figure out the infield and who's going to be out there. So we do have a lot of questions to answer. A lot of people have said this looks like a rebuilding year for you. I don't call it rebuilding. We just have to continue doing what we've been doing. It's time for some guys that are younger and have waited their time to step it up and do what the kids in front of them did."
The fall season culminates with the annual Red-White series. Dates and game times for the series will be announced at a later date.
Arkansas returns 12 letter winners from the 2013 team, which finished the season with a 39-22 record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 12th straight year, one of only seven teams nationally to advance to the NCAA Tournament each of the last 12 years.
At the plate, junior outfielder/infielder Brian Anderson returns to lead the Razorback offense. Anderson, who earned second-team All-SEC honors as a sophomore, finished the 2013 season with a team-best .325 batting average to go along with four homers and 36 RBI. Sophomore outfielder Tyler Spoon was named a freshman All-American after hitting .288 with four homers and a team-best 49 RBI last year. Junior outfielder Joe Serrano hit .295 with a homer and 18 RBI last season.
On the mound, the Razorbacks will have to replace nine pitchers from a staff that finished the season with a school-record 1.89 ERA, the lowest single-season ERA for any team since Connecticut in 1976 (1.71 team ERA) and the first sub-2.00 team ERA to finish a season since LeMoyne in 1992 (1.95).
Junior left-handed pitcher Jalen Beeks led Arkansas with 29 appearances last season and was 6-2 with two saves and a 2.20 ERA. Junior left hander Michael Gunn pitched in 18 games as a sophomore and compiled a 1-1 record with a save and a 1.21 ERA. Sophomore southpaw Colin Poche, who was named the top prospect in the Northwoods League this past summer, pitched in eight games, including five starts, last season and was 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA. Sophomore right hander Landon Simpson saw time in 14 games, 13 in relief, and was 1-1 with one save and a 1.88 ERA. Junior righty Chris Oliver also pitched in 14 games and was 2-2 with a 2.25 ERA. Sophomore right hander Trey Killian appeared in 16 games, including five as a starter, and was 3-3 with a 3.19 ERA.