LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The University of Arkansas at Little Rock baseball returns to the diamond on Friday with almost an entirely new lineup to start the 2023 campaign.
"Jake Wright behind the plate, Tyler Williams in center field," Little Rock baseball head coach Chris Curry said. "Everyone else is wide open positions so definitely there will be some new faces."
It's the same on the mound, where former pitcher Hayden Arnold commanded Friday nights for the last few years.
"Everybody moves on, everybody graduates at one time or another, and so somebody else has gotta step up," Curry said.
That somebody is sophomore right-handed pitcher Jackson Wells a transfer from the University of Arkansas Rich Mountain
"It's an honor to get the ball in game one," Wells said. "It's big shoes to fill, but at the end of the day time comes for someone new to take on the role so it's exciting."
Wells was the only Trojan selected to the 16-player 2023 Preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference baseball team, voted on by the league head coaches and communications directors.
The Trojans will be tasked to handle a lot of "new" this season— a new season, new players and of course a new conference as UALR is now competing in the Ohio Valley Conference.
UALR was picked to finish fourth in its first year in the OVC.
"We're not going into this league to stay at wherever they ranked us as," Wells said.
Curry said his team has loftier goals and that the fourth-place projection doesn't mean anything.
"We should be able to step in and compete for the top of the league," Curry said. "Strike one, at bat number one, inning number one, game number one all of those things, but I promise you in the locker room it's been talked about. The fact that we're working towards a championship."
UALR begins its season on Friday with a three-game series against South Dakota State. The first pitch from Gary Hogan Field in Little Rock is set for 3 p.m.