Diamond Hogs Await NCAA Regional Bid

Diamond Hogs Await NCAA Regional Bid

Fresh off a 3-2 appearance in the SEC Tourney the Diamond Hogs head into regional play with a lot of confidence.
The week of the Texas A&M series Arkansas head baseball coach Dave Van Horn had a heart-to-heart talk with his players concerning their post season situation. For 12 straight seasons the Hogs had received an NCAA regional bid but sitting a game below .500 in conference play with six games remaining Van Horn wanted to make sure his guys understood that time was running out on them.

"They needed to know the facts," Van Horn said following Arkansas game-five SEC Tournament loss to LSU in Hoover, Alabama. "I didn't want to wait two more weeks and say, 'You should have done this or that.' So brought it up and they knew what I meant."

Arkansas took the first two games from the Aggies and went on sweep Missouri before going 3-2 in the conference tournament. That 9-3 run almost certainly has taken the team off the NCAA bubble and will probably result in a two-seed at one of the 16 regional sites.

"The team that is hosting us, they're going to be nervous because we have all the talent in the world," confident first baseman Eric Fisher told reporters. "We know that we can go wherever and win the regional and head to the Supers."

"We have quality starting pitching," junior second basemen Brian Anderson added. "We have a deep bullpen and if we get those bats rolling then we're going to be dangerous."

Considering the way they've responded to Van Horn's challenge the Razorbacks have every reason to be confident but five starters were on the shelf for Saturday's
semi-final game against the Tigers. Van Horn was asked to address his team's injury situation afterward.

"(Centerfielder Andrew) Benintendi could have played today," Van Horn began. "He wanted to play. (3rd baseman Bobby) Warnes could have played too if we wanted to get him loose. He just needed to rest that lower back a bit. We don't know what (LHP Jalen) Beek's status is yet. We might not know until Wendesday or Thursday if he's going to be available to start or come out of the 'pen or even pitch in the regional. (Catcher Jacob) Wise, I'm not sure what his status is yet and (D.H. Blake) Baxendale as of right now, I'm saying he's probably not going to play."

Van Horn gave his players Sunday off. On Monday they will watch the NCAA selection show and lift weights. Tuesday they will practice at Baum Stadium. Van Horn said the team will likely head to its regional site on Wednesday.


 




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