Hogs to shuffle weekend rotation

With DJ Baxendale struggling in recent Friday night starts, Arkansas will make a switch at the top of its weekend pitching rotation against Georgia.

With DJ Baxendale struggling in recent Friday night starts, Arkansas will make a switch at the top of its weekend pitching rotation against Georgia.

Sophomore right-hander Ryne Stanek will likely get the Friday night nod against the Bulldogs at Baum Stadium, Razorbacks coach Dave Van Horn said Monday.

Stanek (6-0, 1.26 ERA) has been dominant this season, winning his first six games before a no-decision on Saturday at LSU. Baxendale (5-1, 5.23) has given up a combined 13 runs in his last two starts – both Arkansas losses – failing to make it past the fourth inning in either.

"We'll probably go with Stanek on Friday," Van Horn said. "It's not set in stone, but we're going to mix it up a little bit. Sometimes, that's a good thing.

"Stanek has been good. He's gotten us out of jams, putting us in situations to win. He's saving our bullpen whereas on Friday night, we're going to our bullpen too early."

Van Horn said he believed Baxendale's struggles were mechanical, not an overworked arm. Baxendale was one of the top pitchers in the SEC last season, with a 10-2 record with a 1.51 ERA.

"We've got to get his arm slot back up and that will give him a little more movement," Van Horn said. "I think he'll be able to command the strike zone a little bit more.

"The last couple or three weeks he's got behind in the count a little bit and that swings the advantage to the hitter."

Brandon Moore, a sophomore right-handed reliever, could also factor into the weekend rotation, Van Horn said. Moore is OK after his outing was cut short Sunday when a line drive ricocheted off his pitching wrist.

Arkansas (22-6, 5-4 SEC) fell 10 spots to No. 13 in the Baseball America Top 25 poll on Monday following a weekend sweep at LSU, which moved up three spots to No. 12.

It was the first series loss of the season for the Razorbacks, which had won 12 of their last 13 games entering the weekend.

"I think we've got their full attention," Van Horn said. "They understand we've got to get a lot better this week."

Georgia, which was ranked No. 25 last week, lost twice to Kentucky over the weekend. The Bulldogs are 18-11 overall this season with a 4-5 record in the SEC.

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