Gosser Likely To Be Activated

Arkansas head baseball coach Dave Van Horn said Friday that true freshman catcher Alex Gosser will be likely be activated this weekend since both Jake Wise and Blake Baxendale are ailing for the Razorbacks (30-20, 11-13) heading into Friday night's series opener with Texas A&M (30-19, 12-12).

Arkansas' baseball team is so beat up behind the plate that it is likely to pull the redshirt off of its true freshman bullpen catcher this weekend.

Dave Van Horn said Thursday that former North Little Rock star Alex Gosser will be activated for this weekend's home series if starter Jake Wise is unable to play as the Razorbacks (30-20, 11-13) host No. 20 Texas A&M (30-19, 12-12).

Wise is suffering from concussion symptoms while back-up Blake Baxendale – who has been starting as the designated hitter – is also banged up with decision being made before Friday's 6:35 p.m. opener.

"We're probably going to go with Gosser," Van Horn said Thursday afternoon. "I think we're just going to catch him. He wants to play. He feels like this might be his chance to get it going and who knows what will happen next year and the year after. He's going to graduate in four years. So that will probably be what we'll do." Van Horne admits it is tough call for him to make.

"It's a tough call for me," Van Horn added. " If I was going to do that I probably would've done it 20 games ago. We've been fighting it. It's just strange the way it's all gone down. But we've got to try to win and he wants to play. So that's what we have to do if that's what we need to do."

Van Horn had previously noted that he would only activate Gosser if there was a season-ending injury to Wise.

Well, he's been getting a lot of work, really, the last month and a half. We've been traveling every weekend..He's seen the SEC, been in the ballpark, just hasn't been in the game…Probably more swings than normal. But his work behind the plate, he catches bullpens and our pitchers most every day. So he'll be ready to go."

Wise will be put through the concussion tests again on Friday.

"There's two or three different tests you have to pass and have to pass one of them twice," Van Horn said. "Obviously, you take a test when you're normal and then they go test you against that a couple of times. Really, where Jake is at right now, I think everything is good.

"He just needs to be able to swing the bat, bounce around, run without any issues," Van Horn said. "I think he passed everything for the most part. But the other day, after he worked out a little bit or whatever they ran him through, it bothered him a little bit. So they had to wait another 24 hours. Tomorrow will be 2 ½ days later so we'll see how it goes."

The decision could come right before the first pitch of the series, but would likely be made earlier in the day per Van Horn.

"I think what we're going to do is they're going to get him out here and probably have him go in the cage and swing the bat maybe midday," Van Horn said. "It could go that late. But I would say that we would probably know by 1."

Wise wants to play since it is the last regular season home series in his career.

"I've got to do some more testing in the morning and then see a couple of doctors, and they'll let me know," Wise said. "It's really not up to me. I've always played through injuries since I've been here, but with the brain, it's a little different. They take it a little more serious than a sprained ankle or a hurt back."

Baxendale will be on the 27-man roster, but would only be used as a pinch-hitter if he were to see any action.

"We knew when it happened that he wouldn't be available for awhile whenever he came out of the game," Van Horn said. "You probably won't see him this weekend. I'll put him on the 27-man roster. Maybe he can come in and pinch hit. But as of right now he's not moving real good."

Clark Egan or Krisjon Wilkerson are the main candidates to DH this weekend.

"I think it was good to see Wilkerson come off the bench the other day and hit a hot shot off the third baseman's chest," Van Horn said. "They scored it a hit. And Eagan went 2-for-4. Both of his hits were against left-handers. They both bring a little bit different … Eagan can run, get on, if he makes contact and hits it in the right spot he can beat it out. Wilkerson's a guy that can drive the ball to the alley. We'll go with those guys. If we have to mix and match, pinch hit, and do what we've got to do that's what we'll do."

The Razorbacks will send out Trey Killian on Friday against A&M right hander Daniel Mengden while Razorback Chris Oliver will battle Grayson Long on Saturday at 6:05 p.m.

Jalen Beeks, Arkansas' normal Saturday starter, is being shut down for two weeks due to a sore elbow.

"We just want to be safe with him," Van Horn said of Beeks. "Not even have him pick up a ball for a week. Then look at him again next week. When we head up to Columbia (for next week's series with Missouri, probably start throwing a little bit. He feels pretty good right now. We're just trying to be real cautious with it. "It's been looked at, evaluated, MRI, there's no tear or anything in there," Van Horn added. "Just trying to take care of him."

The Razorbacks are 6-2 on Sunday when they are likely to start Colin Poche or somebody else out of the bullpen for the 1:05 p.m. series finale on Sunday.

"It's been amazing that we've played so well on Sundays," Van Horn said. "It's just a credit to the guys. We've played pretty good on some Fridays and Saturdays, we've just been beaten. Sometimes we've given it away. Lost by a run. Didn't make a play. Just didn't drive in a run to tie it or give us a lead and that's the way the game works. A lot of times you just have to give credit to the other team by doing a good job of getting out of jams and finding ways to win."

Texas A&M is coming in after beating LSU 2 out of 3 games last weekend after doing the same to South Carolina

"They're really good," Van Horn said. "They're a hot team. Very athletic team. Lot of team speed. Outstanding arms, both right and left. And the arm (Mengden) we're going to see tomorrow night, the Friday night guy, is quality 90-95 mile an hour kid that really competes and fields his position."

Alex Gosser

Alex Gosser

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