Arkansas opens its 95th season of play Friday and 15th under coach Dave Van Horn when it hosts Miami (Ohio) from the Mid-American Conference (MAC) for a three-game series at Baum Stadium.
First pitch on Friday is set for 3:02 p.m. Saturday’s game will start at 12:02 p.m., followed by Sunday’s series finale at 1:02 p.m.
All three games will be available on SEC Network+ and the WatchESPN app with Alex Perlman (PXP) and Troy Eklund (Analyst). Phil Elson (PXP) and Rick Schaeffer (Analyst) will have the call on the IMG Sports Network on Friday. Scott Inman will join Schaeffer on Saturday and Sunday for games two and three.
Fri. | 3:02 p.m. | (ARK) RHP Blaine Knight vs. (MU) RHP Cole Gnetz
Sat. | 12:02 p.m. | (ARK) RHP Trevor Stephan vs. (MU) LHP Zach Spears
Sun. | 1:02 p.m. | (ARK) TBA vs. (MU) RHP Grant Hartwig
Home Sweet Home
For the ninth straight year dating back to 2008, Arkansas will be opening the season at Baum Stadium. The opener against Miami (Ohio) will be the first of a six-game home stand to start the year. 17 of Arkansas’ first 22 games this season will be inside Baum Stadium. The Hogs have won at least 20 games at home every year since 2006.
Johnson Returns Home
2017 will mark the first season with the Razorbacks for new pitching coach Wes Johnson. A Sherwood, Arkansas native, Johnson takes over for long time pitching coach Dave Jorn, who stepped down last summer. Johnson spent one season at Mississippi State and four seasons at Dallas Baptist before arriving at Arkansas. Last season with the Bulldogs, Johnson developed a pitching staff that improved its ERA by more than a full run and won 44 games, its most since 1997.
Knight Gets the Opening Day Nod
Sophomore right-hander Blaine Knight will get the call to be the Opening day starting pitcher Friday against Miami (Ohio). This is the sixth time in the last seven years that a right-hander will be the Opening Day starter for the Hogs and 11th under head coach Dave Van Horn. Of the last 14 Opening Day starters, 12 have been drafted, including last year’s Opening Day pitcher, Dominic Taccolini, who returned to the Hogs for his senior season after being drafted by Toronto in the 16th round.
Prior to the season, outfielder Luke Bonfield was named to the preseason All-SEC second team by the league coaches. The New Jersey native is coming off his best season as a Razorback in 2016 and had one of the best bats in the league as he notched 14 multi-hit games and tied for the team high with nine multi-RBI games.
Scouting Miami (Ohio)
After finishing second in the East Division of the MAC in 2016, the Redhawks were picked to finish second in the East again this year by the league coaches in the preseason poll released on Thursday. Miami (Ohio) posted a 27-28 record last year, including a 14-10 mark in MAC play, the third-best conference record among all MAC teams. Miami (Ohio) last visited Baum Stadium in 2000 for two midweek games, both of which Arkansas won by a combined score of 20-6. Both teams also met in the NCAA Tournament in the Austin Regional in 2005, with Arkansas taking the 9-5 victory.