Battling The Bears

Arkansas (33-8) will look to get back in the win column tonight when it hosts Missouri State (17-21) in a 6:35 p.m. game at Baum Stadium.

FAYETTEVILLE - Instead of dwelling on Sunday's controversial loss at Florida or looking ahead to Friday's home game with Auburn, the Razorbacks are eying Wednesday's night's battle with the Bears.

Ranked No. 7 in the country, the University of Arkansas (33-8) will host Missouri State (17-21) in a 6:35 p.m. game at Baum Stadium.

"We aren't going to talk about Florida any more – when was that?" UA head coach Dave Van Horn said. "We've got Missouri State (Wednesday night). The SEC hasn't said a word. It was tough (a 2-1 loss), but that's life."

Arkansas, which leads the SEC with a .327 average and is second in ERA, will start left-hander Geoffrey Davenport (2-2) in a game that will be televised by Cox Sports.

Davenport noted Van Horn has stressed to his team to get past the loss.

"He was just telling us to move on," Davenport said. "We have a great opponent in Missouri State and we have got to move on and hopefully we can get ready and pull out a win."

Although Missouri State has not had a great season in 2010 and lost six straight overall to the Razorbacks, the Bears have always had a pretty good rivalry with the host team.

"It's a couple of hours from here and we are always running into them on the road recruiting," Van Horn said. "A lot of those kids had interest in us and we saw them."

Van Horn will send Davenport to the mound first, but he will be followed by a parade of hurlers.

"Geoffrey Davenport will start and maybe go two," Van Horn said. "Then everybody else – and when I say everybody else I mean four of five guys – might go one and just try to get everybody a mid-week bullpen and keep them fresh for Friday."

Van Horn said that he was not planning on playing injured shortstop Tim Carver and it would be a game-time decision on the also injured Matt Reynolds handling that spot.

"We'll just see how he is feeling and see if he can go the full nine," Van Horn said. "We can play Zack Cox there if we need to. He can handle it."

Arkansas has not lost three in a row all season and Van Horn doesn't want to start now.

"Really more than anything we just need to play well and get a win," Van Horn said. "We have lost two in a row and I don't know if we have lost three in a row all year and we don't need to. We just need to play well."

Van Horn noted that while his team has some tough games ahead, he likes being two wins clear in the SEC West race.

"I think the SEC is a strong as it has been," Van Horn said. "This is my eighth season and it seems like every year we are saying the same thing.

"I thought the league was pretty good last year," Van Horn added. "It might now have been as good two years ago or in the '07 season. But last year was very good and this year could be the best."

Van Horn thinks the SEC could dominate the NCAA Tournament regional sites.

"It is just a good league and there is 8 to 9 to maybe 10 teams that deserve a regional out of this league," Van Horn said.


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