Ever since that abomination of a series in Gainesville a few weeks ago, the Ags have certainly found their stride once again, winning 11 of their last 12 and scoring at least 10 runs in seven of them. It's always a good sign that a team can win by scoring a mountain of runs on their opponent, and the maroon and white have certainly shown throughout this season that they can do that. But what was very encouraging from this past weekend was their ability to win a tight, very well pitched series. As the regular season comes to a close and the postseason approaches, the ability to win a low scoring affair becomes more and more necessary.
Arkansas started off the year white hot, including a 3-0 showing at the Houston College Classic against Rice, Houston and Texas Tech. In total that weekend, they outscored their opponents 27-11. Once SEC play started, however, they were immediately swept by South Carolina, lost a series to Missouri a couple weeks later, got swept by Ole Miss in Oxford, and then they got swept at home by Florida. Last weekend, they were able to take two of three at Kentucky, which should give them a bit of a boost heading into this series.
The Hogs' biggest issues this season have been getting consistent starting pitching on the weekends. That sounds familiar... Anyhow, here's a bit about each of the pitchers that Dave Van Horn has slated to throw against A&M:
Friday, 6:30 pm
Dominic Taccolini (4-2, 4.50)
So last weekend at Kentucky, Taccolini pitched decently well. He went your average 10 innings of five hit, shutout baseball, picking up the win in a 1-0 game on the road against a good hitting team in a hitters park. I honestly don't know what to say about it other than I've legitimately never seen a stat line like that in my life. He had been pretty shaky leading up to that start, pitching just three innings against Florida the week before and just an inning against Missouri a couple of weeks before that, but something clicked in Lexington. This should be yet another good test for the Aggie offense.
Saturday, 2:00 pm
Zach Jackson (3-4, 4.12)
Jackson came into this year as the Razorbacks' closer and was heralded as one of the best closers in the nation. A few weeks ago, however, Van Horn made the decision to move Jackson into the starting rotation, much like what Rob Childress did with Ryan Hendrix for a while last season. His move to the rotation has been a bit of a mixed bag. In his first start, he allowed five earned runs on eight hits and a walk in five innings. Then in 4.1 innings against Florida, he gave up four earned on one hit and four walks. Last weekend at Kentucky, he was much better: a complete game shutout, giving up just two hits and three walks, while striking out eight.
Sunday, 1:00 pm
Outside of Taccolini and Jackson, there's really no way to know who Van Horn will go with in this rotation right now. Keaton McKinney seems most likely, as he has made nine starts this season, but he's been largely ineffective up to this point, sitting with a 6.49 ERA in 39.0 innings. He's gone longer than five innings just twice in his weekend starts (seven innings against Eastern Illinois and six innings against Auburn).
How to Watch/Listen
TV: All three games will be available via SEC Network+, with Saturday's game also airing on ESPN2 and Sunday's game on ESPNU
Radio: 1150 AM, 102.7 FM
Other Audio: www.radioaggieland.com