"It's going to be close by committee," Van Horn told the Swatter's Club luncheon Monday at the Clarion Inn. "We'll look at situations, maybe go situations right and left."
The Hogs had a 5-3 lead in Sunday's finale at Georgia on Sunday, but true freshman Nolan Sandburn had his second blown save in as many weekends. The Hogs had a one-run lead in the ninth the previous weekend but lost when Kentucky rallied against Sanburn.
"We talked about that when we got home last night," Van Horn said. "He's too wound up when he comes in. All of his mechanics, everything he was doing was just too fast. His windup was too fast, everything was just going too fast. He needs to slow down, take his time. He'll be fine.
"He's been either really good or really bad. Unfortunately, it's been really bad the last two weekends. If I remembered the Kentucky game a little better, maybe I would have made a better decision. I won't forget the next time.
"I think when the season is over, you remember the games you stole and some that you let get away. Right now we are minus one in those two categories.
"He's still going to get the ball. He wants the ball. It's just not going to be in the same situation next time he pitches. He will get back out there. He's not scared. He's just going to have to slow down a little bit."
The changeup that did Sanburn in against Georgia is a new pitch. He's relied on two pitches, a fast ball that tops out at 95 mph and a slurve. That's a combination of a slider and a curve. It's been a dynamite out pitch. But SEC hitters can sit on his fastball, that doesn't have a lot of movement if the slurve isn't getting called.
The key pitch in the ninth inning against Georgia might have been a mistake by the umpire. A two-run single that tied it was preceded by a possible strike three. It appeared the batter went around. The home plate umpire didn't get any help when it was appealed to the second base umpire.
Van Horn didn't take exception with the call. He can't question that. But he did question whether or not the SEC should have another umpire. In a four-man umpiring rotation, there would be an umpire down the first base line where that call is easier to make. The first base ump can tell if the bat passes over the plate. It's almost impossible to see that with an umpire at second when the shift is made with runner's on base.
"That's something the coach might take issue with at some point when you look back over this season," Van Horn said. "Our league coaches voted to go to a four-man umpire rotation this year, but it was voted down in a cost-cutting decision by the ADs," Van Horn said. "Why do we have four umpires at the league tournament and the NCAA tournament? Because it's right. I think the SEC should make the first step and show everyone this is the right way to do it.
"In basketball, don't they have the same number in the regular season as in the NCAA tournament? Yes, that's right, they do."
The obvious thought is that if the NCAA thinks it necessary in postseason play, it should be necessary when league championships are decided in the regular season.
The Hogs are going to play eight times in the next nine days thanks to a Thursday night start to the Florida series this week at Baum Stadium. The Hogs also play Tuesday and Wednesday, playing host to Southeast Missouri. Van Horn didn't like that idea from the start. But he likes the Thursday night exposure the SEC is getting on ESPN.
Unfortunately, it didn't work out the way Van Horn was promised in the fall. The baseball schedules were already done when ESPN approached SEC commissioner Mike Slive about moving games to Thursday night for some SEC league games.
"They told us that our Thursday night home game would be for the Mississippi State series," Van Horn said. "That was fine. We had only one game that week, with Missouri State. I checked with their coach and they didn't have a game on Tuesday, so they could move to that night. Then we'd have a day off before starting the Mississippi State series. Then when we get the schedule, it's the Florida series. We already had two games that week. We told them that, but there wasn't anything we could do about it by that point. It's a great honor to showcase our program and we just had to do it."
Van Horn said he liked the way the Hogs performed this weekend overall. He said the offense was improved on Friday and Sunday and the shutout on Saturday came against an standout performance by a Georgia starter who has been impressive all through his conference starts.
"He just pitched great," Van Horn said. "We got after their Friday night guy pretty good. And we got into their bullpen Sunday. I thought we played really well on Sunday. We didn't make an error and we battled them. We had seven stolen bases. We picked up some things they were doing and took advantage. I don't remember losing when stealing seven bases."
The Hogs will be challenged the next two weekends with two of the three SEC East juggernauts on the schedule. After hosting Florida, the Hogs travel to defending national champ South Carolina. Florida, USC and Vanderbilt lead the SEC at 17-4.
"No West team this year has won a series from one of those three top SEC East teams," Van Horn said. "So for us, we've got a shot at doing that the next two weekends. We look forward to that challenge."
The Hogs are in a tie for the SEC West lead at 10-11. Van Horn said the West winner might finish at 15-15, or even as low as 14-16. He was also asked what it would take for the Hogs to host a regional.
"I think if we win it, or maybe if we finish second in the West and then get to the finals of the conference tournament, you might get to host," he said. "I do know that if we get into the (NCAA) tournament, we could be dangerous."
There was talk about the lack of power in the bats. Van Horn said both the Hogs and Gators, both with contracts with Easton, would get a new version of the modified bats this week.
"We've got only two styles right now and this is going to be something that might be just a little quicker," Van Horn said. "You might can zip it just a little bit more. I do know that there were a lot of balls that died on the warning track at Georgia."
Game time for Tuesday through Friday night's games is 6:35 p.m. Start time for Saturday night is 7 p.m.