By Nate Allen
Special to the News-Times
FAYETTEVILLE - Back after splitting four games in San Diego, beating Arizona and San Diego State and losing to Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo and the University of San Diego, Arkansas returns to Baum Stadium for a Wednesday through Sunday five games in five days homestand against the Dayton Flyers and Pac 12 power USC Trojans.
The teams bear contrasting records.
Dayton, playing all road games in a swing through North Carolina and South Carolina, is 1-5 having beaten only Evansville in a battle of cold-weather Indiana and Ohio based teams touring the South.
South Carolina-Upstate, Wofford and High Point administered the defeats, though the Flyers progressed their final two games of losing a three-game sweep to High Point, falling only 8-7 and 4-3.
Dayton does have a power hitter, Pat Meehan, who has three home runs and six RBIs in six games.
Going into Tuesday’s game with Loyola Marymount, USC is 6-1. Dayton plays 3 p.m. games against Arkansas today and Thursday.
USC plays a three-game series against the Hogs at 2 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday and 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
Having swept Bucknell three games opening its season the weekend previous to the San Diego trip, Arkansas is 5-2 and looking to play better than last week.
“I would grade it about a C-plus,” Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said before the Razorbacks practiced Tuesday. “The good thing was we beat a couple of pretty good teams. You know Arizona is a good club.
"We pitched extremely well and made all the plays. Then also we beat San Diego State in their own ballpark so that's a road win for us. The two games we lost we could have easily won those if we play a little bit better defense. Especially the Cal Poly game. We lost 4-3 and we gave them their first three runs.”
Van Horn is expected to pitch weekend starters Blaine Knight of Bryant (1-0, 0.82 ERA) and Isaiah Campbell (1-0, 2.00 ERA) Friday and Saturday against USC and seems likely eventually to maneuver lefty Kacey Murphy, last Wednesday’s s 1-0 victor over Arizona throwing six shutout innings, into the weekend rotation.
However, with so much time between starts, it’s possible Murphy could start against Dayton today.
Right-hander Keaton McKinney has not pitched since a two-inning start against Bucknell.
Lefty reliever Matt Cronin is 2-0 with a save in three appearances and a 0.00 ERA for 7 1-3 innings.
Freshman left fielder Heston Kjerstad leads the Razorbacks' hitters with a .409 average.