Charlie Welch making a case for more playing time for Arkansas Razorbacks

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After another strong showing by Charlie Welch, Dave Van Horn is going to have some decisions to make ahead of this weekend’s series at Ole Miss.

The junior college transfer hit a moonshot over the left field wall in the first inning of Arkansas’ 10-3 win over Little Rock on Wednesday.

It is still a small sample size of only 18 at bats, but Welch is hitting .444 with seven RBIs and half of his hits have gone for extra bases – including three home runs. He also has three walks and five strikeouts.

Welch has started four games and is also a go-to guy when the Razorbacks need a pinch hitter, seemingly becoming a spark plug who always produces solid at bats.

“Charlie’s hit the ball good,” Van Horn said. “Today he obviously hit a ball that he just missed and the wind pushed it out of the park pretty good. He seems to get a hit or two every time we play him.”

With a listed position of catcher, Welch is firmly behind starter Casey Opitz and backup Dylan Leach, likely because of his defense. Van Horn said the only spot he can really play him is at designated hitter, which makes it a tough decision because that is where veteran Matt Goodheart usually starts.

However, the senior from Magnolia has been in a bit of a slump since hitting four home runs in four games.

“That’s really going to be up to Goodheart to kind of get it going offensively a little bit,” Van Horn said. “If he does, he stays in and hits both left and right. If Matt’s struggling a little bit, I can always put Charlie in there.”

On the year, Goodheart is batting .275 with six home runs and 15 RBIs to go along with 14 walks and 18 strikeouts.

“I think he’s got to get himself going,” Van Horn said. “To me, it looks like there’s a lot of things going on up there instead of just going up there and seeing it, hitting it.

“He needs to go up to the plate – and we’ve discussed this – with confidence. That’s how you have success. You can’t really be working on things in the middle of a game. It doesn’t work out.”

Van Horn said he isn’t quite ready to take away playing time from his preseason first-team All-SEC designated hitter and platoon with Welch yet, but it is something to keep an eye on.

Arkansas returns to the field with a series at Ole Miss beginning at 6 p.m. CT Friday. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.

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