Hogs Set To Host Dogs

The SEC-leading Razorbacks (17-4, 6-0) may have to fight off both Mississippi State (14-10, 2-4) and the weather to keep riding high in this weekend's three-game set.

To keep its momentum going, the surging University of Arkansas baseball team may have to beat two foes this weekend.

One would certainly be visiting Mississippi State while the other will be the chilly, rainy and possibly even snowy weather predicted for Northwest Arkansas.

"I just told our team don't worry about the weather," UA head coach Dave Van Horn said. "If we play all three, great. We just play one at a time and we can't do anything about it so we'll just see what happens."

The No. 9 Razorbacks (17-4, 6-4), winners of four straight and eight of nine, are scheduled to host the Bulldogs (14-10, 2-4) Friday night at 6:35 p.m., Saturday afternoon at 2:05 and Sunday at 1:05.

Razorback Scott Lyons knows his team just has to show up come rain, sleet or snow.

"It's tough, especially with the snow," Lyons said. "I don't like playing in the cold, but we've got to do it. You just come to the park every day just thinking we are going to play."

Mississippi State snapped a four-game losing streak Wednesday night with a 6-3 home win over Memphis.

The Bulldogs lost a trio at No. 3 Georgia last weekend and then were outslugged by South Alabama 17-12 on Tuesday night.

"They are coming up here probably on their spring break and they are coming off a tough weekend last weekend," Van Horn said. "They are probably going to be a team to be reckoned with. I am sure they are highly upset and highly motivated. It will be another good series. They are all good."

Arkansas will start Dallas Keuchel (3-0, 3.00) while Mississippi State has junior lefty Tyler Whitney (2-1, 2.82) slated to toe the rubber.

"We will see three left-handed starters," Van Horn said. "I will still have three left-handed hitters in there and go at them. We are hitting a little over .300 against left-handers pitching…It hasn't been a major issue."

The Bulldogs are paced at the plate by second baseman Jet Butler (.382, 23 RBIs) and first baseman Connor Powers, who has a team-leading four home runs and three straight multi-hit games.

Centerfield Grant Hogue has a team-high 14 steals.

Mississippi State has won 9 of its last 12 against Arkansas, including two of three at Dudy Noble Field to end the 2008 regular season.

"They took care of business last year at their place and we have a little chip on our shoulder," Leavitt said. "But it really doesn't matter who we play, we are going to come out and play hard. We want to win every game and every series."

Lyons said that the Razorbacks view Mississippi State like any other game this season.

"In the SEC it just seems like every team can beat anyone any day so we are going to treat it like they are in first place with us," Lyons said. "We're excited to play any SEC series."

Leavitt, whose .429 average leads the Razorbacks and is second in the SEC battling race, concurred with that sentiment and noted that it is important to win every time out.

"The good teams come out and play every day," Leavitt added. "It doesn't matter if they are on a roll or a team is struggling, they are going to come out and play their game, compete and play hard."


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