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Dave Van Horn looking ahead to weekend series matchup with Vandy

Razorbacks preparing for freshman pitcher to make first SEC start to open weekend on Friday at Baum-Walker Stadium.

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn won’t be caught off-guard in Friday’s opener against Vanderbilt.

He’s expecting the Commodores to put freshman Devin Futrell on the mound for his first weekend series league start.

“He’s pitching for one of the top programs in the country,” Van Horn said Thursday morning in his complete press conference for yet another big SEC series with only two weekend series remaining before tournament time.

The Razorbacks will host Vandy this weekend for three games at Baum-Walker Stadium before finishing the regular season on the road at Alabama next weekend.

The Tennessean in Nashville reported earlier this week that Futrell is the likely starter after looking good in midweek series this year.

“We’re preparing for him,” Van Horn said. “Our job is to prepare to play good baseball.”

While fans don’t think the Hogs are playing that well, they do have a two-game lead in the West headed to the final couple of series. What has driven the fans crazy is a lack of hitting in big games and either striking out or hitting the ball deep in others.

This week they’ll face one of the better staffs in the league.

“They’ve got a lot of starting pitching and a lot of talent,” Van Horn said. “They just keep coming at you.”

Now it appears they’ll be facing an up-and-coming freshman to start things.

“He’s pitching well into each game,” Van Horn said.

He’s only thinking about the game ahead. There is some RPI stuff as teams start jockeying for seeds in the NCAA Tournament, but the Commodores are first in line and there’s no more mid-week games.

That RPI is determined more by how the opponents fare than how well the Hogs are playing. At this point of the season, though, nobody can be too concerned about that.

“It is what it is,” Van Horn said. “We handle ourselves in the league, that speaks volumes.

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