Arkansas Looks To Snap Skid

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn was asked Monday if he sensed some frustration from his team after its losing streak stretched to five games at Alabama.

"I'm not sensing it," Van Horn said after the Razorbacks were swept in a three-game series for the first time this season. "It's a fact. The team is frustrated right now. ... But the only way you can change that is to go out and get some wins."

Arkansas (31-17, 14-12 Southeastern Conference), which tumbled out of the Baseball America Top 25 poll, is hoping to dig out of the disappointment when it plays Oral Roberts (26-12, 15-2 Summit League) in Baum Stadium tonight.

There's no better time for a turnaround. The Razorbacks, whose hopes of hosting an NCAA Regional are slipping away with each loss, is starting a four-game homestand tonight to conclude the regular season. Arkansas also plays ninth-ranked Ole Miss (37-15, 17-10 SEC) in a three-game series that begins Thursday.

First baseman Andy Wilkins believes a good night against ORU could go a long way toward reversing Arkansas' fortunes.

"We definitely need to get some positive thoughts going," Wilkins said. " ... It's going to be tough the rest of the way."

Arkansas' losing skid is its longest since 2005, when the Razorbacks dropped five in a row and squandered its chances of hosting an NCAA Regional. They finished the season 39-22, with a 13-17 mark in SEC action before losing two straight to the Texas Longhorns in the NCAA Austin Regional.

The Hogs, which opened SEC play 10-2 this season, are 4-10 in their past 14 league games. Arkansas has lost six conference games by one run each during the stretch, including losses on Friday (2-1) and Sunday (6-5) to Alabama.

Despite the recent stumbles, Arkansas has clinched a spot in next week's SEC Tournament. But Van Horn said his team needs to build momentum before heading to Hoover, Ala.

"It's big for us down the stretch to go out and play well and earn our spot," he said. "We don't want to feel like we've just backed into it. We want to earn it, go out and win a couple of games this weekend at a minimum and head to the tournament, play well and earn a chance to play in a regional."

Arkansas will start left-handed pitcher Drew Smyly (2-1, 5.77 ERA) tonight. The freshman allowed four runs in seven innings in the Razorbacks' 9-6 win at Oral Roberts in Tulsa, Okla., on April 21.

Van Horn did not know who would start for the Golden Eagles. But he said the Razorbacks, who are hitting an SEC-low .271 this season, must start producing at the plate.

"We need to bounce back and win the game," Van Horn said. "Hopefully we'll get after them. We just need to change the way the outcomes have been lately. We've got to find a way to finish a game."

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