The Diamond Hogs are set to begin conference play this weekend, welcoming the Kentucky Wildcats to Fayetteville for a best of three series. The matchup will feature the regular weekend slate of games on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
The Wildcats enter the weekend riding a 14-4 overall record. The Hogs and Cats share a familiar opponent in Indiana. Kentucky dropped a midweek game to the Hoosiers on Tuesday by a final score of 7-20. Arkansas topped the Hoosiers in late February behind the arm of Connor Noland. It is hard to compare a midweek game to a weekend matchup where the Hogs started their ace pitcher. However, the Hogs will benefit this weekend if Kentucky is forced to go to the bullpen early on Friday and Saturday.
This weekend, the big story will be the Razorback pitching staff battling the Wildcat lineup. Arkansas pitchers enter the weekend with a 3.13 ERA and will start the usual rotation of Connor Noland, Hagan Smith, and Jaxon Wiggins. The opposition comes to town with a .324 team batting average. Regardless of their recent loss to Indiana, the Wildcat bats are hot coming into Fayetteville.
As for the Hog lineup, the last few weeks have seen improvement. But the expected explosion of consistent runs is still missing. This weekend’s matchup may force the Hogs into a run-scoring situation. Expect Cayden Wallace to be a catalyst for the Razorback offense this weekend. The sophomore third baseman recorded a grand slam in back-to-back games against UIC last weekend, earning him SEC Player of the Week honors.
Conference baseball games at Baum Walker Stadium are back, and the Razorbacks will be tested with a high-powered Kentucky offense this weekend. Let’s hope the Hogs start strong as their quest for consecutive conference titles begins today.
Friday – 6:30 p.m. (SEC Network+)
Saturday – 6:30 p.m. (SEC Network+)
Sunday – 12 p.m. (SEC Network+)
Have a great weekend at the ballpark, Hog fans!