FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas gets its final tune-up in preparation for SEC play this weekend when it hosts Wisconsin-Milwaukee for a three-game series at Baum Stadium.
The No. 14 Razorbacks are coming off perhaps their best all-around performance of the season, a 21-2 win over South Dakota State on Wednesday. In that game Arkansas recorded season-highs in runs and hits (18), and got impressive pitching performances from a pair of freshmen in Randall Fant and DJ Baxendale.
More importantly, the Hogs (9-3) bounced back from a 3-2 loss to the Jackrabbits the day before. That's important with another unknown club rolling into town.
"We don't know a whole lot about them," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "We do have a scouting report on them and I know their coach real well. They get a lot of the good players from Wisconsin. They recruited Collin Kuhn and a few of the kids we've been on in the past.
"They're usually solid and usually one of the top two teams in their league."
Van Horn mixed up the lineup Wednesday, including moving the sophomore Kuhn into the leadoff spot. In the two midweek games, Kuhn went 3-for-5 with a home run, four RBIs, three stolen bases, two hit-by-pitches, two walks and three runs scored.
"He did a great job," Van Horn said. "He gives an option there. He can hit there, Bo Bigham can hit there and we've hit Jarrod McKinney there. We'll just go with the hot hitter in the leadoff. If Collin cools off we can move him down the nine-hole and put Bigham at the top.
"Collin has been getting on base. His on-base percentage is way up there. Whether it's being hit by a pitch or a walk or a hit, he's done a great job."
Kuhn is leading Arkansas is hitting (.395), on-base percentage (.547), stolen bases (7) and hit-by-pitches (7).
Bigham also came up big against South Dakota State in his return from a torn labrum injury he suffered in the season-opener. In Wednesday's win Bigham went 3-for-5 with a career-high four RBIs and scored two runs.
"He hit the ball pretty well," Van Horn said. "He hit some balls right on the nose. That's exciting for us and our lineup."
Bigham said his shoulder feels fine.
"There's no pain and I'm ready to go," Bigham said. "Every since I got that pinch-hit Friday it hasn't been bothering me. I'm excited to finish the season with it hopefully."
Wisconsin-Milwaukee (4-5) won three of four at the Austin Peay Riverview Inn Invitational last week. The Panthers are making their second trip to the state of Arkansas this season. They were swept at Arkansas State in February.
Arkansas fans will see a familiar face with the Panthers. Former Razorback right-hander Chad Pierce is scheduled to get the Saturday start on the mound for Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Pierce left Arkansas in 2008.
Pierce is 1-1 on the season with a 6.55 ERA.
The first game between the two teams will start at 3:05 p.m. Friday.
Hawgs Daily Top Stories
Hogs, Tigers close to renewing hoops rivalryArkansas and Memphis are moving closer to resuming their basketball rivalry.
Hawgs DailyYesterday at 2:46 PM
Diamond Hogs continue climbing in pollsArkansas is moving up in the rankings.
Hawgs DailyYesterday at 12:09 PM
Arkansas losing player to transferA second player is transferring out of the Arkansas basketball program.
Hawgs DailyMonday at 1:44 PM
Arkansas 8, Texas A&M 0Arkansas cruised to a series win over Texas A&M on Saturday.
Hawgs DailySaturday at 12:39 PM