Arkansas Turns to Another New Face To Start on the Mound in SEC Tournament

Ben Bybee tasked with quieting suddenly powerful Gamecocks' line-up
Arkansas Razorbacks pitcher Ben Bybee throws a pitch after relieving Brady Tygart on Saturday evening against Mississippi State in the second game of their series.
Arkansas Razorbacks pitcher Ben Bybee throws a pitch after relieving Brady Tygart on Saturday evening against Mississippi State in the second game of their series. / Craven Whitlow-allHOGS Images

HOOVER, Ala. — Less than a week after turning to Gage Wood to start for the first time against an SEC opponent to clinch the SEC West division championship, Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn is turning to another right-hander with limited conference starting experience to get the Razorbacks off to a winning start in the SEC Tournament. Van Horn announced that Ben Bybee would get the start in the opening game for the Hogs.

"[Pitching] Coach [Matt] Hobbs and I just decided to start him," Van Horn said. "I think that Brady [Tygart] hasn’t thrown for a while. Ben threw the other day and threw the ball over the plate, threw pretty well."

The Razorbacks will enter as the No. 2 seed, taking on No. 10 South Carolina after the Gamecocks took down No. 7 Alabama, 10-5, on the strength of four home runs. Carolina was on a six-game losing streak heading into the tournament.

"We only know what we know," Van Horn said about the Gamecocks before their win over Alabama. "I guess they’re solid you know. They’ve maybe struggled a little bit the last couple of weeks. But they’re very talented."

The two teams met in Columbia in mid-April with the Hogs' taking 2-of-3 to win the series. Bybee did not appear in the series.

He has 13 starts in 24 appearances across two seasons, but only three starts were against SEC opponents, including one this year. His lone start against a conference opponent came against Florida back in late April, lasting three innings and giving up three earned runs in a 9-5 loss.

First pitch from Hoover Metropolitan Stadium is scheduled for Wednesday morning. First pitch between the Gamecocks and Razorbacks is scheduled for 30 minutes after the conclusion of Kentucky vs. LSU at 9:30 a.m.

HOGS FEED:

• Razorbacks' Van Horn Supports SEC's Experimental Double Base

• SEC Tournament Schedule

• Numbers both hopeful, disturbing in regard to Hogs' College World Series aspirations

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Daniel Shi

DANIEL SHI