Arkansas Hopeful Pitching Holds Up

FAYETTEVILLE — Sometimes even the best plans can go awry.

Before the 2009 baseball season began, Arkansas probably had a pretty good idea of who it wanted to send out on the pitcher's mound for the first week of the season. But even before the first pitch was thrown during an opening weekend sweep over Washington State, everything changed for the Razorbacks.

A case of mononucleosis forced Mike Bolsinger out four to six weeks, and moved him out of the weekend rotation in the process. On top of that, a ribcage injury to Bryan Bingham left Arkansas without another possible midweek starter. So now as the Razorbacks prepare to open a two-game set with Kansas, beginning at 3 p.m. today in Baum Stadium, finding enough arms is the first order of business.

"We're still a couple starting pitchers short," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "We put a couple of these guys back in the bullpen, I'd feel a little bit better about it. The back end of the bullpen kind of did what I expected them to do (against Washington State) and that's given us a chance to win.

"You talk about (Stephen) Richards and (Zack) Cox and (Justin) Wells. Again I always call (Wells) the wildcard. If we wouldn't have pitched him (Sunday), we might have started him on Tuesday. I'm not sure who we're going to start Tuesday now. Probably just try to staff it and get to Wednesday."

Wells threw on both Friday and Sunday and might not be available until the final game against the Jayhawks (1-2). But if you ask the senior rightander, he'll tell you he's available whenever the team needs him.

"Yes, definitely," Wells said. "I'll be ready to go Tuesday."

With Wells possibly being held back, Arkansas (3-0) could turn to sophomore two-way player Brett Eibner instead for today's matchup. Eibner made just 11 appearances and three pitching starts as a freshman — going 3-1 with a 4.50 earned run average — but he is expected to see more time on the hill this spring.

"Yeah, you'll see him pitch," Van Horn said. "I don't know if we'll start him. If he does, we're probably looking at three innings if possible.

"But we wouldn't be in this shape again if we didn't have a couple of crazy injuries or one injury. And it's getting better, with Bingham. And then Bolsinger has got a case of the mono and that came out of nowhere last week."



TODAY'S TICKET



KANSAS AT NO. 21 ARKANSAS

WHEN: 3:05 p.m., today; 3:05 p.m. Wednesday

WHERE: Baum Stadium, Fayetteville

ON THE AIR: KFAY 1030 AM; KURM 790 AM, 100.3 FM; KHGG 1580 AM, 103.1 FM; KXIO 106.9 FM

RECORDS: Kansas 1-2; Arkansas 3-0

SERIES: Arkansas leads, 32-12

LAST MEETING: Feb. 27, 2008 — Arkansas 2, Kansas 1 in Fayetteville.

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