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Callin’ those Hogs to Baton Rouge: A look at this weekend’s series against Arkansas

No. 1 LSU takes on No.3 Arkansas in a match-up between two SEC powerhouses.

Eastern Illinois v Arkansas
Jared Wegner leads the Razorbacks in home runs with nine.
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images


Friday, March 24

12 p.m. CT (SEC Network+, will be on SEC Network once original programming is finished (approximately after 2nd or 3rd inning))

Saturday, March 25 (Double-Header)

Game 1: @ 1 p.m. CT (SEC Network)

Game 2: @ 6:30 p.m. CT (SEC Network+)

Pitching Matchups

Game 1

LSU- Jr. RHP Paul Skenes (5-0), 0.59 ERA. 30.1 IP, 4 walks, 59 K)

Arkansas- Jr. LHP Hunter Hollan (4-0, 2.36 ERA, 26.2 IP, 9 walks, 24 K)

Game 2

LSU- Jr. RHP Ty Floyd (3-0, 2.25 ERA, 20.0 IP, 7 walks, 24 K)

Arkansas- RHP Will McEntire (4-0, 3.71 ERA, 26.2 IP, 10 walks, 22 K)

Game 3

LSU- So. RHP Thatcher Hurd (2-0, 2.57 ERA, 21.0 IP, 10 walks, 29 K)

Arkansas- TBA

LSU Projected Starting Lineup

1B Tre Morgan

2B Gavin Dugas

SS Jordan Thompson

3B Tommy White

RF Paxton Kling

CF Dylan Crews

LF Josh Pearson

C Brady Neal

DH Jared Jones

Arkansas Projected Starting Lineup

1B Brady Slavens

2B Peyton Stovall

SS John Bolton

3B Caleb Cali

RF Jace Bohrofen

CF Tavian Josenberger

LF Jared Wegner

C Hudson Polk

DH Kendall Diggs

No.1 LSU will take on No.3 Arkansas in a heavily anticipated SEC matchup. This is the first Top 5 matchup since 2015 when then No.1 LSU beat No.4 Texas A&M in two out of three games to win the series.

LSU leads the all-time series record with Arkansas as the Tigers have a record of 75-39 against the Razorbacks. LSU has won 13 of the last 17 series against Arkansas. However, Arkansas has gotten the better of LSU in recent years as Arkansas has won three of the last five series, including sweeping the Tigers in last year’s series.

LSU’s 19-2 start this season is LSU’s best record through 21 games since 2015, where that team also went 19-2 on the way to advance to the College World Series.

LSU, which has been ranked No. 1 all season by all of the college baseball polls, also is at or near the top in almost every major statistical category.

The Tigers are No. 1 in the nation in runs scored (232), scoring average (11.0 runs per game), shutouts pitched (7), hits allowed per nine innings (5.59), fielding percentage (.989) and on-base percentage (.467). LSU is also No. 3 nationally in WHIP (1.00), No. 5 in batting average (.331), No. 6 in ERA (2.69) and No. 6 in slugging percentage (.580).

However, although Arkansas does not return many of their key players from last year’s Omaha team, the Razorbacks have reloaded nicely through player development and the transfer portal.

The fact that the Razorbacks are still a Top 5 team says a lot about how great of a coach Dave van Horn is, who returns for his 21st season as the skipper for the Hogs.

What the Razorbacks bring on the mound

Although the Razorbacks lost a good bit of their pitching staff from last year and aren’t nearly as dominant in recent years, Arkansas still has a solid pitching staff. The Razorbacks are No.44 nationally in ERA and 52nd in WHIP out of 295 teams in college baseball.

However, the Achilles’ heel of Arkansas is the lack of a strong starting rotation. Arkansas’ pitching stats would be much worse if not for a strong bullpen.

On Friday, Arkansas will start left-hander Hunter Hollan. Hollan has been solid on the mound this year as he has a record of 4-0 with a 2.36 ERA, nine walks and 24 strikeouts in 26.2 innings pitched.

On Saturday, Arkansas will start right-hander Will McEntire. McEntire has a record of 4-0 with a 3.71 ERA, 10 walks and 22 strikeouts.

The Razorbacks did not announce who was going to start on Sunday, so we may see a combination of pitchers. However, Arkansas did start Cody Adcock last Sunday against Auburn in a 5-0 victory. In his first start of the year, Adcock threw for six innings and struck out six batters while only allowing one hit for the shutout victory.

The Razorbacks have one of the best bullpens in the country, and a big reason for that is that van Horn has moved former Freshman All-American starting pitcher Hagen Smith to the bullpen as the team’s “wild card”. Smith has a record of 3-0 with a 1.17 ERA and leads the team in strikeouts with 34 and is by far the best pitcher on the staff.

Another reliever Arkansas likes to use is Dylan Carter. Carter has a record of 3-0 with a 2.55 ERA and 14 strikeouts. In his eight appearances, Carter has only walked three batters.

What Razorbacks bring to the plate

Arkansas is one of the best-hitting teams in the country as they are 21st in the country in home runs, runs and slugging percentage. The Razorbacks are also 22nd in home runs per game, 31st in on-base percentage and 39th in batting average.

The biggest name in the Razorbacks’ lineup is All-American outfielder Jared Wegner. Wegner has batted .390 on the year and is the team’s leader in both home runs and RBIs, with nine home runs and 35 RBIs respectively. Wegner, who is a graduate transfer from Creighton, batted .343 with 11 homers and 53 RBIs.

The Razorbacks return All-SEC second baseman Peyton Stovall from last season’s Omaha team. Stovall has a batting average of .323 and has hit three homers on the year along with plating 16 RBIs.

The most improved player in Arkansas’ lineup, has been junior outfielder Jace Bohrofen. Bohrofen played sporadically last year due to injuries and batted .228 with eight doubles, 3 home runs and a slugging percentage of .435 in 32 appearances. This season, Bohrofen leads his team in batting average with an average of .406 and has recorded five home runs, 17 RBIs and a slugging percentage of .734.

Designated hitter Kendall Diggs has been a dangerous hitter at the plate for Arkansas as well. Diggs has batted .344 at the plate and has recorded seven doubles, six home runs and 24 RBIs.