Hogs Seek New Starter

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said his team essentially will hold auditions for a possible third starter when it meets Missouri State for the second time in a week tonight.

One didn't have to read between the lines to know that means senior right-hander Charley Boyce is back in the bullpen where he flourished last year.

"We're probably looking at him (Boyce) coming out of the bullpen, starting (tonight) and this weekend," Van Horn said. "We'll let him get a little bit back untracked. That's what happened last year.

"I really think Charley will be there for us. We're just going to have to go with somebody else right now."

Translated, right how is at 7 p.m. today when the No. 12 Razorbacks (25-8) and Bears (18-10) meet at Hammons Field in Springfield, Mo., in another dress rehearsal for a Southeastern Conference weekend.

Arkansas returns to Baum Stadium at 7:05 p.m. Friday against No. 19 Kentucky to start another critical three-game SEC series.

In Friday's 7-1 loss against then-No. 16 Vandberbilt -- it slipped to 18th in the Top 25 poll Monday -- Boyce lasted only one inning.

First up for the cattle call for starters is sophomore righty Shaun Seibert, who pitched three scoreless innings in relief of Boyce against the Commodores on Friday night.

One didn't have to read between the lines on that one, either.

"We're leaning toward Shaun Seibert, start him (tonight)," Van Horn said. "Let him go a few innings, then bring him back Saturday or Sunday.

"We'll use Shaun, just a little bit of everybody. I think Lee Land will probably throw, too."

Seibert is 2-0 with a 1.80 earned run average. His counterpart tonight is Bears right-hander Jake Shafer, who went 5 full innings to pick up a 10-5 win against the Hogs in Baum Stadium last Tuesday night.

That snapped a 23-game home winning steak for the Diamond Hogs against nonconference teams.

It's a quick turnaround for the Razorbacks, who won the Vandy series with a 4-3 win Sunday, and didn't return to Fayetteville until almost 2 a.m. Monday.

"It is, what it is," Van Horn. "It's not that bad a trip. I think after the guys get a good night's sleep tonight, go to class tomorrow (today), they'll be ready to go.

"They'll got a couple of hours to think about it, get focused in. Sometimes, you get a little more focused during these mid-week games when you're on the road.

"We'll talk about it, probably after the game (tonight).

"Hopefully, that's what's going to happen."

Van Horn clearly remembers the first meeting between the two clubs and doesn't want a repeat.

"Yeah, we want to beat them," Van Horn said. "We're going to do everything we can to beat 'em, but our main focus is on conference play.

"We're not going to go out and throw somebody seven innings that we might need to pitch on the weekend.

"We've got to be smart.

"I'm sure they are going to do the same thing. They are right at the top of their league (Missouri Valley) and have a chance to win it.

"They've got a very good team. They're got after us early last week. It would be nice to turn that around a little bit."

Pitching, however, isn't Van Horn's only concern.

"You know, we've got to swing the bats," he said. "We're still playing a lot of young guys. We're still not getting quite the production out of (freshman second baseman/third baseman) Logan Forsythe (who's hitting .174) ... he's playing well defensively, but I don't think he got a hit all weekend.

"That's difficult.

"I'm looking for (regular second baseman) James Ewing (who leads the team with a .382 batting average) to get back in the lineup. I don't think this weekend against Kentucky. I think he gets to start putting weight on that broken foot Friday.

"Then, it'll get about a week to get him going. Maybe he'll get to play against (No. 10) Mississippi State the next weekend.

"We need his bat."

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