Hogs Host Dogs

Riding an 8-game winning streak, No. 9 Arkansas (28-6, 9-3) looks to get even better this weekend as Georgia (11-22, 3-9) comes in for a three-game set.

You'd think that a college baseball team who had won eight games in a row and 15 of 16 would be pretty satisfied with how things are going.

But this is Dave Van Horn's University of Arkansas baseball program and it has lofty standards that go over and above just winning.

"I think we can play a lot better and I think the players will tell you that," Van Horn said. "We have put together some really good games and then we have had some games in which we have really just found a way to win.

"As far as clicking on all cylinders, there have been a couple of games that have been pretty good, but you know it's not like we are tired or feel like or feeling like we have to give everything we've got to win these games," Van Horn added. "That's good to know."

The No. 9 Razorbacks (28-6, 9-3) will get a chance to dial it up another notch while hosting struggling Georgia (11-22, 3-9) in a three-game set this weekend at Baum Stadium.

The opener is at 6:05 Friday night and will be televised by ESPN2 with Arkansas riding the momentum of a sweep at Mississippi State last weekend and two wins this week over New Mexico.

"I think we have a chance to get better," Van Horn said. "We have played a great schedule, but we have got some great teams left."

The Bulldogs, which had a school-record 11 players taken in the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft, do not qualify as one of those great teams and come into this series off a humbling home loss to its arch rival on Wednesday.

Georgia Tech blasted Georgia 25-6 while using a combination of 25 hits and 14 walks handed out by a whopping 10 pitchers.

It's a pitching staff that has an 8.55 ERA overall – albeit it has improved slightly to 7.95 in SEC games.

"We are so inconsistent with our pitching this late in the year and that's frustrating," said Georgia coach David Perno. "I'm very disappointed. We have to throw strikes and that's where it starts."

The Bulldogs are set to start a trio of right handers this weekend with Justin Grimm (2-4, 4.04) throwing on Friday, Jeff Waters (1-2, 7.34) in Saturday's 2:05 game and Michael Palazzone (4-3, 7.34) in Sunday's 1:05 finale.

"We're still in good shape for the weekend because most of the guys that pitched tonight won't be on the trip to Arkansas, and we've got to rebound from this," Perno added. "Our hitting was there and we were solid defensively. We just need to start pitching better."

Leading the Georgia hitters is sophomore center fielder Zach Cone, who was a third-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Angels in 2008.

Cone is batting a team-leading .376 with eight home runs and 34 RBIs for a team that was in the NCAA championship two years ago.

Arkansas is set to start lefty Drew Smyly (4-0, 1.99) on Friday with Brett Eibner (2-2, 3.76) on Saturday and likely DJ Baxendale (0-0, 4.45) making his first SEC start Sunday.

"This is our last five-game week," Van Horn said. "Sometimes that is good early to get some guys work, find out some things and maybe change it out. But now we will play mostly on Tuesday, get to practice on Wednesday, travel on Thursday or practice on Thursday at home."


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