Arkansas wanted the early game

Arkansas requested to play the early game this year, which host teams have the luxury to do: … azorbacks/

Early game preferred for Razorbacks

Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn returns to the dugout after speaking to his team before the Razorbacks’ game with Southern California Friday, March 2, 2018, at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.

Arkansas is playing the early game in Friday’s NCAA regional at Baum Stadium.

Coach Dave Van Horn wanted it that way.

The Razorbacks requested the early game Friday, a university spokesperson said, a change from last year when Arkansas requested to play the late game on the opening day of the regional. Regional host teams can request whether to play the early or late game, but are not guaranteed to have their requests fulfilled.

Arkansas’ game against Oral Roberts is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. TV plans have not been finalized, but the game is guaranteed to be streamed on ESPN’s online and over-the-top streaming platforms.

“I like playing the early game,” Van Horn said. “I think it gives you a chance to battle the weather if there are any weather issues. It gives you a little bit of an opportunity to recover longer, win or lose. There are a few other advantages, but you don’t have to sit around all day and just go out there and play.”

The Razorbacks are playing early a week after being stuck in the late slot at the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Hoover, Ala. Arkansas played South Carolina last Wednesday in a game that began at 9:45 p.m. and did not end until after 1:30 a.m. The Razorbacks were scheduled to play Florida even later Thursday night because of weather delays, but that game was postponed to Friday and began at 10 a.m.

Arkansas freshman infielder Casey Martin said players don’t have a preference on game times.

“Later here there are more people…but it’s still a great experience,” Martin said. “It won’t change the fact that we’re still going to play a game.”

Arkansas pitcher Blaine Knight said some considerations - such as the heat - have to be taken into consideration. According to the National Weather Service, the Friday afternoon temperature in Fayetteville is expected to reach 93 degrees with little cloud cover.

“Hydrate and just go out and pitch,” Knight said.

Since 2009, the home team in Arkansas’ regional has opted to play the early game four out of eight times.

Arkansas played the late game against Oral Roberts last season, but played the early game against Grambling State in its last home regional prior to that, in 2010. The Razorbacks won the regional that year with a 3-1 record.

How will it affect attendance?

What’s the reasoning?

DVH said because you have flexability if their is weather problems and he likes the added rest, going to be Hot Hot at 2:00 though supposed be in the mid 90’s

I’ve heard Van Horn say a number of times that he prefers the early game. I think the rest component is what he likes most.

You mean rest if you win G1 and play late Saturday, I guess?

Regardless of the outcome of Arkansas’ game Friday, the teams playing that game are going to get more rest than the teams playing the second game.

I do hate that Baum won’t show on TV what it would for a night game, but I do think the extra rest time is significant - especially given the heat. Let those guys hydrate all evening before the Saturday game. It also may be a sound strategic move given the wind. It seems to be a bigger factor in the evening, so avoiding that carry to LF with Blaine on the mound should help.

And, for what it’s worth, I like throwing Blaine on Friday. We have a decent staff for sure, but why risk a trip to the loser’s bracket? I trust Murphy a great deal; he can get us a W on Saturday regardless of Friday’s outcome.