Long: Proud of Van Horn, players

Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long spoke to Hawgs Illustrated following the Razorbacks' College World Series-clinching win over Baylor.

WACO, Texas - After being swept in two games of the Southeastern Conference Tournament last month, many wondered if Arkansas was simply overrated coming into the season.

The Razorbacks were ranked No. 4 in the preseason polls and began the season 22-3. But Arkansas struggled throughout the back-half of the SEC scheduled, finishing 16-16 against SEC competition.

But true to form, Dave Van Horn got the best from his players when it counted most and Arkansas punched its ticket to the College World Series on Monday with a 1-0 win over Baylor.

"Baseball is a funny sport," Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long said. "They all are, but with baseball you just never know. You have to fight and scratch, and that's what this team did. People didn't give us a chance to win this super regional, but we did.

"The College World Series is a very special event in college sports and it's growing. We're excited to be there."

Long beamed with pride when he saw hundreds of red shirts and hats throughout the 5,000-seat Baylor Ballpark on Monday. Few fan bases travel for baseball like Arkansas' does.

"They were calling the Hogs loud," Long said. "It was funny to see the Baylor fans have to counteract that at home. They tried to drown us out, but they couldn't do it.

"It was a great atmosphere."

Long locked Van Horn into a long-term contract through 2020 last spring. With the head coach taking his fifth team to Omaha in the last 12 seasons, the decision looked good Monday night.

"This is Dave's expectation," Long said. "I love those coaches with high expectations. At the start of the season he said this is a team good enough to go to Omaha. Dave doesn't say those things unless he believes them.

"Dave Van Horn is our baseball coach for as long as we can keep him."

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