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Diamond Hogs Seek Pitching Depth in 2014

Dave Van Horn calls Arkansas' pitching situation "spooky" as pre-season practices begin.
The Razorbacks had the best pitching staff in college baseball during the 2013 season. Last year's major league draft did a good job of picking that staff clean for 2014. As preseason practices began this past Friday head coach Dave Van Horn was faced with the task of replacing his entire starting rotation.

"We got a long way to go on the mound, big time," Van Horn told the media after that initial practice. "It's a little spooky." 

One way or another some newcomers are going to have to develop before SEC play starts. In Sunday's scrimmage a pair or right- handed freshmen from Oklahoma were getting work. Zach Jackson walked in a run and let another come in on a wild pitch. James Teague gave up an RBI double early on. Pitching coach Dave Jorn was quickly there to successfully settle both rookies down.

"There's a bunch of young, really talented guys and coach Jorn's done a really great job coaching 'em," senior catcher and team captain Jake Wise told the Razorback Nation. "There's some really, really bad habits some of them have. They have really good arm talent and he's able to take them from throwers to pitchers."

Sophomores Colin Posche and Trey Killian are likely starters. Juniors Chris Oliver and Jalen Beeks bring experience to the mound as starters or relievers. But for the newcomers the team's early season games will take on added importance.

"Hopefully we can get most of that experience in non conference before SEC starts but we're definitely going to struggle, I think, at the beginning of the year pitching-wise and we'll hopefully iron things out by by the end," Beeks said matter-of-factly.

The players couldn't complain about Sunday's weather. Spectators at Baum Stadium were shedding their coats in contrast to the bone chilling conditions for Friday's workout. By this fall a new indoor practice facility will be there for days when the thermometer drops.

"I'm excited for the day that the indoor facility goes up but it's always good to get out here in the cold weather," red shirt sophomore outfielder Tyler Spoon stressed. "Mentally it gets you ready because there's going to be days like this in the season. It's going to be mid 30s, no sun or anything. You've got to play through it."

The Razorbacks open the season at home with a three-game series against Appalachian State starting Friday February 14th.

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