By ROBBIE NEISWANGER
Arkansas News Bureau
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas’ regular season now comes down to a doubleheader.
The second game of the Arkansas-Ole Miss series, which has plenty of Southeastern Conference Tournament implications, was postponed by a storm that drenched Baum Stadium on Friday night. The wet weather leaves the teams scheduled to play two seven-inning games this afternoon.
The first game will begin at noon, while the second is tentatively set for 3 p.m. Both games will be televised by CST.
"The field took a lot of water earlier (Friday) and it looks like we’re getting a bunch more right now," Arkansas coach Van Horn said Friday night. "We just felt like the weather is going to be good (today) and let’s just play two."
Arkansas held off as long as possible, though, hoping to squeeze in a nine-inning game after losing the opener 2-1 on Thursday night. The tarp remained on the field even though there was no rain at 6 p.m., when first pitch was originally scheduled. But the game didn’t start because of an incoming storm, which hit at roughly 6:30 p.m. and rain continued well after the postponement.
Van Horn said there were some discussions about waiting out the rain and starting late Friday. SEC rules stipulate the game could have started as last as 10 p.m., but the doubleheader was set instead. Doubleheaders on the final day of an SEC series can only last seven innings apiece, according to rules.
"Is it real baseball?" Van Horn said of playing two seven-inning games. "I don’t know. But it’s the end of the year and who knows what will happen. That’s just the way it is. It’s the rules."
Arkansas (34-18, 13-15 in SEC) and Ole Miss (30-23, 13-15) entered Friday night in a four-way tie for second place in the SEC West along with Mississippi State and Auburn. The four teams — along with LSU — are fighting for three spots remaining in the eight-team SEC Tournament field.
Van Horn said the shorter games will place urgency on both teams to get off to quicker starts this afternoon and "do whatever you’ve got to do to win."
Arkansas left-handed pitcher Randall Fant (2-3, 3.58 ERA) will start the first game of the doubleheader opposite Ole Miss righty David Goforth (4-7, 5.03 ERA). Lefty Austin Wright (5-4, 4.73 ERA) will start the finale for Ole Miss, while Van Horn said either Ryne Stanek (2-2, 4.40 ERA) or Cade Lynch (4-3, 2.75 ERA) will be on the mound for the Razorbacks.
"Both teams want to get a lead," Van Horn said. "If it’s playing small ball or whatever it takes. We’ve just got to get a feel for the game. But I definitely think both teams will be aggressive."
Fans who purchased a single-game reserved or general admission ticket for Friday’s game only can exchange the ticket for a general admission ticket for both games of Saturday’s doubleheader.
Season ticket holders and suite holders must use their Saturday ticket for admittance. Friday’s season or suite tickets are not eligible for exchange or admission for Saturday’s games.