FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn wants to see what left-handed pitcher Colin Poche can do in a starting role.
So the sophomore will get his opportunity in California this week.
Van Horn said Poche will be among four pitchers who will earn starts when Arkansas plays in the Cal Baseball Classic in Berkeley, Calif. Van Horn wasn’t ready to say which game Poche will start, but Arkansas (7-2) plays San Francisco on Friday, Tulane on Saturday, and a doubleheader against California on Sunday.
“He needs to get it going,” Van Horn said about Poche. “We’ve got to get him going. We’ve challenged him a little bit. His numbers, if you look at them on paper, they look OK, but realistically it hasn’t been up to what you’re going to need if you’re going to start in the SEC. So we’ll find out. We’ll find out how he pitches.”
Poche – who has been limited the first few weeks because of arm soreness that began during preseason practices — has appeared in three games out of the bullpen.
He is 0-0 with a 1.94 earned run average, allowing two hits with four walks and five strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. Poche made eight appearances with five starts in 2013.
Van Horn said Beeks (3-0, 0.51 ERA) will start the tournament opener against San Francisco, remaining in the role he has pitched well in so far this season. Oliver (1-0, 1.12 ERA) also will start for the third straight weekend, while Killian (0-1, 13.50 ERA) will make his second appearance after serving a six-game suspension.
“Worried about the bullpen, especially when you play four games,” Van Horn said about his staff with the extra game. “But the other teams will have to do the same thing as well. They’ll take a kid who might be a middle guy, a guy they might close and just start him. It’s tough when you have four games in a row like that.”
— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau