Arkansas faces road bat­tle from La. Tech

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - COLLEGE BASKETBALL - BOB HOLT

FAYET­TEVILLE — Af­ter sweep­ing se­ries at Baum Sta­dium against Mi­ami (Ohio) and Bryant, the Arkansas Ra­zor­backs are hit­ting the road for the first time this base­ball sea­son.

The Ra­zor­backs (6-0) open a two-game se­ries against Louisiana Tech (7-0) at 6 tonight at Pat Pat­ter­son Park in Rus­ton, La.

“That’s go­ing to be a great at­mos­phere in Rus­ton,” Ra­zor­backs Coach Dave Van Horn said. “That school has a lot of spirit.

“They’re go­ing to show up. It’s go­ing to be packed.”

The Univer­sity of Arkansas at Fayet­teville is the first SEC team to play at Louisiana Tech since 2007, when the Ra­zor­backs took two of three games from the Bull­dogs.

“There are a lot of Hog fans down there, too,” Van Horn said. “I think tick­ets are go­ing to be hard to get.”

Pat Pat­ter­son Park has about 2,000 seats, but fans also can watch the game on grassy hills be­hind the out­field. There could be a crowd of more than 3,500 tonight.

“We’re ex­cited for it, I think more from the per­spec­tive of team-build­ing stuff,” said Arkansas sopho­more catcher Grant Koch, who is bat­ting .407 with 2 home runs and 9 runs bat­ted in. “Get­ting on the road, new at­mos­phere. It’s go­ing to be good for us.”

Louisiana Tech is off to its first-ever 7-0 start with firstyear Coach Lane Bur­roughs, a for­mer Mis­sis­sippi State as­sis­tant who was the head coach at North­west­ern (La.) State the previous four sea­sons.

Bur­roughs re­placed Greg Goff, who left Louisiana Tech to be­come Alabama’s coach af­ter the Bull­dogs went 42-20 last sea­son and played in the NCAA Starkville (Miss.) Re­gional.

“You can call Louisiana Tech a mid-ma­jor, but they had a great team last year and Coach Bur­roughs is off to a good start,” Van Horn said. “He’s a good friend of mine.”

Van Horn worked with Bur­roughs briefly at North­west­ern State be­fore be­come Ne­braska’s coach prior to the 1998 sea­son.

“He was a coach for me for one whole se­mes­ter,” Van Horn said. “Then I left and took the job at Ne­braska. We’ve been friends ever since.”

Fifth-year se­nior righthander Josh Al­berius, who hasn’t al­lowed a run in 51/ in­nings over three re­lief ap­pear­ances, will make his first ca­reer start for the Ra­zor­backs tonight against Louisiana Tech se­nior right-han­der Casey Sul­li­van, who has a 3.60 earned-run av­er­age in five in­nings.

Al­berius will face a Louisiana Tech lineup led by se­nior

sec­ond base­man Jor­dan Washam, bat­ting .435, and ju­nior catcher Brent Dias, bat­ting .423 with 1 home run and 10 RBI.

“Josh is a guy that you can count on in any sit­u­a­tion — starter, re­liever,” Koch said. “In a big sit­u­a­tion, he’s the guy you want on the mound be­cause he’s not scared.

“Me and him, we’ve been on the same page for a while. Catch­ing him, I’m al­ways com­fort­able. I know he’s com­fort­able.

“I just try to get all the strikes I can for him, but he’s go­ing to come out and pump strikes no mat­ter what. That’s the big thing.”

Af­ter the Louisiana Tech se­ries, Arkansas will go to Frisco, Texas, to play Ari­zona, Ne­braska and Ok­la­homa State this week­end.

“We have to get a lot bet­ter in a lot of places, ob­vi­ously,” Van Horn said. “Some of the older guys need to get it go­ing of­fen­sively.

“If you make a mis­take, we’ve jumped on it. I would like to put to­gether more in­nings where we score a run here and a run there, and then put to­gether that big in­ning.

“Our bullpen was good the first week­end, it wasn’t great this past week­end [against Bryant]. Some­times you see that the sec­ond week­end. Guys just get into a lit­tle lull, but we have to do a much bet­ter job out of our bullpen.”

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