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Little Rock, which beat Arkansas two years ago, is coming to Fayetteville for a two-game midweek series beginning Tuesday.
Little Rock, which beat Arkansas two years ago, is coming to Fayetteville for a two-game midweek series beginning Tuesday. (Little Rock Athletics)

HawgBeat’s coverage of the Diamond Hogs’ Road to Omaha is brought to you by CJ’s Butcher Boy Burgers, which has locations in Fayetteville and Russellville.

How to Watch

Tuesday, April 6

First pitch: 6:30 p.m. CT

Stream: SEC Network-Plus (link)

Listen: Razorback Sports Network (click here)

Wednesday, April 7

First pitch: 4 p.m. CT

Stream: SEC Network-Plus (link)

Listen: Razorback Sports Network (click here)

Pitching Matchups

Tuesday

Arkansas: Sr. RHP Kole Ramage (6 games/1 start, 1-1, 7.84 ERA, 9 K/4 BB, 10 1/3 IP)

Little Rock: LHP Sawyer Smallwood (8 games/0 starts, 0-0, 3.00 ERA, 3 K/4 BB, 6 IP)

Wednesday

Arkansas: TBA

Little Rock: TBA

Expected to be a big part of the Razorbacks’ pitching staff, Ramage has struggled this season. He’s allowed a team-high four home runs and opponents are hitting .286 against him. Head coach Dave Van Horn said the key for him Tuesday will be location.

“His fastball is anywhere from 88-92 (mph), he’s got a good changeup and a good slider,” Van Horn said. “I don’t think it’s mechanical. It’s more about just having confidence and going out there and doing it. I think if he could get off to a good start, it would be big for him and us.”

Neither team has announced its starter for Wednesday’s game.

The Opponent

Little Rock

Record: 12-11 (3-3 Sun Belt)

Head coach: Chris Curry (7th season)

Series history: Trojans lead 1-0

Top Hitters

~2B Jorden Hussein: .413/.476/.507, 0 HR, 9 RBI

~C John Michael Russ: .364/.462/.403, 0 HR, 10 RBI

~CF Tyler Williams: .341/.378/.637, 5 HR, 26 RBI

Notes and Tidbits

~Arkansas will be Little Rock’s second SEC opponent of the season. The Trojans lost a series – 2 games to 1 – at Auburn last month. They have also lost a midweek game at Oklahoma State and won a series at Southern Illinois, which was ranked in the top 25 of one poll at the time.

~This will be the second time Arkansas has ever faced Little Rock in the regular season. The first time was two years ago and the Trojans scored 10 runs over the final three innings to knock off the Razorbacks 17-7 at Baum-Walker Stadium.

~Only two Trojans who appeared in that game are still on Little Rock’s roster: center fielder Eldrige Figueroa, who went 2 for 6 with an RBI, and right-handed reliever Dillon Delgadillo, who gave up three earned runs in 1 1/3 innings.

~A name Arkansas fans might remember on Little Rock’s roster is Zane Neves. The right-hander signed with the Razorbacks out of Jonesboro in 2019, but never made it to campus. Instead, he ended up at St. Johns River State C.C. in Florida, where he was teammates with current Arkansas player Charlie Welch. In two appearances with the Trojans, Neves has allowed one hit, one walk and two hit by pitches while striking out four and posting a 4.91 ERA in 3 2/3 innings across two appearances.

~Despite being an in-state school, Little Rock’s roster features only six players from the Natural State – compared to the 16 for UCA last week. Nathan Lyons (Bentonville) is the Trojans’ starting third baseman and is hitting .267 with three home runs, right-hander Jacob Weatherley (Jonesboro) is one of their most-used relievers with a 4.60 ERA in 15 2/3 innings and right-hander Hayden Arnold (Watson Chapel) is one of their weekend starters. The others – Neves, Jake Wright (Bryant) and John Boushelle (Fayetteville) – haven’t played much this year.

~For the third straight week, Arkansas checked in at No. 2 in the Rivals Composite Poll after going 3-1 last week. Once again, Baseball America was the only poll to keep the Razorbacks in the top spot.

Quotable

Dave Van Horn, on Little Rock:

“I know that they’ve beat some good people this year. They had a tough weekend out in Jonesboro, a couple of close losses. They’re hitting .280 as a team. That’s what we’re hitting. And I know what they did to us two years ago. That’s what I know.”

Dave Van Horn, on playing in-state school like the Trojans:

“I think it’s really good for the state. I said that a few years ago, I’ve been saying it for 10 years, but the first 10 years, nobody would listen. Then when Hunter got here, I think he started saying, ‘You know, maybe it would be.’ Some of the guys on the board at the time thought this would be good, it would be good for the state. And they made a change and I think it was a good change. We’re going to get beat, we’re going to lose some games, it’s just the way it is. It’s baseball, it’s the middle of the week, but I’m glad we’re playing them. I have a lot of respect for Coach Curry and R.D. Spiehs, the pitching coach who playing for me at Nebraska, so I’m real familiar with those guys. Those guys are competitors and they don’t like to lose.”

Arkansas-Little Rock Stat Comparison

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