Hogs Host ORU Tonight

FAYETTEVILLE -- Oral Roberts has never looked so appealing to Arkansas.

Coming of the worst offensive drought in coach Dave Van Horn's three seasons, the No. 23 Razorbacks host the Golden Eagles at 7:05 p.m. tonigh in Baum Stadium.

Arkansas was swept by LSU this past weekend and did not score during the final 23 innings of the series. It's the longest stretch of scoreless innings for the Hogs since they were shutout 19 straight by LSU in 2002.

It also was the first time Arkansas was swept at home since Mississippi State did it in 2003. LSU hadn't swept the Hogs in Fayetteville since 1993.

That's why Oral Roberts is such a welcome sight as an opponent. The Razorbacks set a school-record with eight homers -- a few were wind-aided -- in a 15-8 win at Oral Roberts.

That game was played only two weeks ago, but it probably seems like an eternity to the down-trodden Razorbacks. They've managed only three wins and have lost five straight SEC games since then.

Certainly, the Hogs (31-11) could use an offensive spark of any kind in tonight's non-conference game against ORU.

"We've got to do a better job offensively," Van Horn said. "But who knows who they've (ORU) saved for us. They're in league play and they've got a big lead in their league, so they may have save a couple of their better pitchers ... I wouldn't doubt it.

"But you know what, (better pitching) is what we need to see anyway."

The Golden Eagles (22-15) could pitch anybody after having a built-in off week on their schedule because of finals. They haven't played a game in nine days.

Regardless, one thing Van Horn obviously doesn't want to see is more scoreless innings.

"If we go out and hit the ball good (today), then it's over because it's only been a couple of games," Van Horn said. "But if we struggle again, then we may start to ask ourselves, 'What's up?'"

Van Horn called out a pair of senior starters for their lack of productivity in third baseman Clay Goodwin and shortstop Scott Hode. They've put up solid numbers in non-conference games, but have struggled in league play.

"Those guys aren't getting many hits and it's taking away from our defense and it's taking away from our offense," Van Horn said. "That's really hurting us."

They went a combined 3 for 23 during the LSU series. Goodwin is hitting .273 in SEC games while Hode is at .295. In addition, outfielders Jake Dugger (.200) and Blake Parker (.130) have been even less productive in league play.

Injuries, like the one to second baseman John Henry Marquardt (knee) which will keep him out of tonight's game, have limited what Van Horn can do with the lineup.

Often when starters are struggling, Van Horn will bench them for a game or two while they try to get their swings back on track.

"I don't have a lot of options over there," Van Horn said. "Right now, we've got to go with what we've got. If I could put another third baseman or shortstop in there, I might do it.

"But I don't have any."

As far as pitching, Arkansas will start left-hander Devin Collis (2-0, 4.26) tonight against ORU and staff it from there. Collis was the only active member of the pitching staff who wasn't used this weekend and should be fresh.

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