Generally, it's about how you play on Sunday in college baseball. For Dave Van Horn, Sunday in week two has a lot better feel.
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said his team "got better" in a 5-0 week after a complete performance in a 10-2 victory over Evansville before 4,313 at Baum Stadium on Sunday.
The No. 1 Razorbacks lost a 7-5 decision to Western Illinois on the first Sunday of the college season last week. They committed three errors and played from behind all day.
This week, the Hogs trailed only briefly. They shut out New Orleans in both ends of a doubleheader on Tuesday, then fell behind 2-0 in the second inning Friday night. Jake Wise hit a two-run homer in the second inning to spark a 10-4 victory. Tyler Spoon hit a grand slam in the eighth to break open a pitcher's duel in a 5-2 win on Saturday.
On Sunday, they pounded out a season-high 15 hits (to raise the season average to .312), scored seven runs in their last three at bats and five pitchers didn't allow an earned run.
In the finale, it was all about disposing of Evansville starter Kyle Lloyd. They almost did it in the first. They plated one and had the bases loaded with no outs when Brian Anderson lined into a double play. The Hogs made it 2-0 on a wild pitch, but Lloyd settled in at that point.
So did Arkansas starter Trey Killian. The righthander from Norfork retired the first 12 batters in order -- to follow nine straight outs in his debut -- before giving up two unearned runs in the fifth.
Jacob Mahan hit a liner into the bullpen in right through the teeth of a 12 mph south breeze to make it 4-2 in the sixth. The Hogs broke it open with five in the seventh, two on a disputed hit by Jake Wise that bounced off his foot and then off the third base bag.
"It did hit Jake's foot," Van Horn said. "That's one of those plays that you rarely see, off his foot and then off the bag."
Colin Poche, Landon Simpson, Tyler Wright and Thomas Altimont shut down the Aces on one hit the rest of the way.
Team captain Matt Vinson, who led the Hogs with three hits from the leadoff spot, said there was a message delivered after Saturday's victory with a reminder about last Sunday's loss.
"We were lackadaisical last Sunday," Vinson said. "We preached that for three days. That's what we preached Saturday when we left the park. Today was a good complete game."
The Hogs will try to use the sweep for momentum as they head to Surprise, Ariz., for four games, two against Arizona State. The opener is at 5 p.m. Thursday against the Sun Devils.
"We got better this week," Van Horn said. "Last Sunday was disappointing, but we had a good week. We did a tremendous job on Tuesday against New Orleans with two shutouts and then we swept the series this weekend.
"You are always going to like it when you sweep, but I felt like we are getting better. We have some guys that are learning. We've got (Brett) McAfee, (Eric) Fisher and even Vinson playing their first full-time series.
"Guys like Killian and Poche are freshmen. No matter who you are going against in college, they are playing against older players for the first time."
Van Horn said the offense battled against a solid starter.
"Really, we went against three different type pitchers this weekend," he said. "The lefthander on Friday night is good. Then, we faced a good sinker pitcher Saturday. The starter today has a good split finger pitch with some sink. He was tough.
"We were trying to hit the ball on a line with the wind blowing in today. We wanted to advance the runners. That guy was good. He had an out pitch."
Van Horn didn't know that Killian retired the first 21 of his college career.
"I don't think I've ever had someone do that," Van Horn said. "The first hit was on a breaking ball, and hit two was on a breaker. He needs a little more depth to his breaking ball and when he gets on top of that pitch, he'll be tough."
Killian said he was nervous in the bullpen before his first collegiate start, but not once he got to the middle of the diamond.
"It was awesome," he said. "You couldn't ask for much more. I was just trying to throw my fast ball for strikes and pitch to contact because we have a good defense."
Poche said, "I was just trying to build on what Trey did. I didn't really have a great changeup, but our offense was putting up runs. They were beating out infield hits and that gets everyone going."
Vinson said the team also got a charge when Mahan, usually a singles hitter got his first college homer.
"Mahan crushed it," Vinson said. "That was a laser into the wind. He hits some in batting practice, but he's not the guy you'd pick to win a home run derby."