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Another misdemeanor charge for fullback

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Arkansas fullback Mark Pierce was arrested Thursday on a misdemeanor charge of third-degree battery stemming from an incident at a liquor store three hours before he was arrested for disorderly conduct at a Dickson Street bar on Aug. 31.

Pierce missed almost all of practice Thursday to turn himself in to police. He was released on $1,000 bond.

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt -- who suspended Pierce for a game after his earlier arrest -- said he would play Saturday against Texas (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP).

According to transcripts of police radio transmissions obtained Sept. 2 by The (Springdale) Morning News, Fayetteville police were called to a liquor store north of campus on Aug. 31 when a man reported he had been struck twice in the face with a closed fist outside the store.

The transcript said the complaining witness told police his assailant was drunk.

Nutt said Pierce won't miss any of Saturday's highly anticipated Texas game. Nutt suspended 6-foot, 245-pound Pierce for one game after his disorderly conduct arrest, and the fullback saw no action in Saturday's season-opening 45-13 win over Tulsa.

Nutt said he didn't know of anything that would cause a change in Pierce's status before the 11 a.m. kickoff Saturday.

Sophomore Brandon Kennedy, who started at fullback against Tulsa, will start against Texas, and Pierce, 21, will be his backup.

Nutt said he knew little about the incident that resulted in Thursday's arrest.

Pierce's lawyer, Morris L. Williams III of Little Rock, issued a statement Thursday.

"At the present time, facts are still being gathered as to the circumstances surrounding this incident," Williams said. "Based on statements from other people with knowledge of the facts, we are confident that once all the facts have been gathered, Mr. Pierce will be exonerated of this charge."

Pierce's first arrest was based on events that occurred later the night of Aug. 31. Pierce was arrested at a bar on Dickson Street by police officers investigating underage drinking who were questioning Arkansas softball player Stephanie Hunter, 20. Police said Pierce argued with them about their action involving Hunter, and they arrested Pierce and charged him with obstructing government operations and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors.

He is scheduled for a Sept. 29 arraignment on those charges.