Bridges, Rowlett Chasing Record

ARLINGTON, Texas -- It didn't seem right when Arkansas scored 13 runs Friday without stealing a base.

But last season's Southeastern Conference stolen base leaders got their wheels turning during Saturday's rain-shortened 8-1 against Dallas Baptist in Clay Gould Ballpark on the campus of Texas-Arlington.

Play was halted in the bottom of the seventh because of rain, but the final score stood to complete a two-game sweep against the Patriots after Friday's 13-3 win.

In Saturday's game, Arkansas stole five bases with the most important coming in the fifth when Scott Bridges stole third base to jump-start a seven-run inning.

"I like stealing third (base) better than second any day of the week." said Bridges, who led the team last season by stealing 24 bases in 25 attempts. "It's just a lot easier to get a jump off the pitcher and you've got your momentum going that way."

Bridges said he and fellow senior speedster Casey Rowlett have a stolen-base competition going.

"We're chasing the record," Bridges said. "Me and Casey kind of got us a little goal set to break the record, so we're working hard to steal as many bases as we can this year."

The Razorbacks' single-season stolen base record is 42 set by Scott Loseke in 1983. Although breaking the record would be an individual feat, neither sounds too selfish about the friendly competition.

"The record is 42 and if we break it, we want to tie," said Rowlett, who was second on the team with 22 stolen bases last season. "If we break the record, me and Scotty want to have 43 each and now he's one up on me so I've go to get going.

"But it's a long season."

Arkansas led the SEC with 112 stolen bases in 133 attempts last season. The team record for stolen bases in a single season is 155, also set in 1983.

Position Switch

After playing primarily center field at Arkansas, Rowlett finally got to play the position he was originally recruited for out of Texarkana College.

Rowlett started at second base and made a nice over-the-shoulder grab to take away what appeared to be a bloop single to short right field.

"He's just a great baseball player that's so versatile," said Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn. "He'll get a chance to play pro ball at the end of the season and he'll probably end up at second base."

Playing the infield may actually come more natural to Rowlett despite him making several eye-opening catches in center last season.

"There's more action on the infield," Rowlett said. "There's always something to do and you've always got to be thinking. In center field, you just worry about where you're playing and the wind."

With Rowlett at second, sophomore Stephen Robison started in center.

Catching On

Arkansas' Clint Arnold looked the part in his catching debut as the freshman threw out two of three runners trying to steal second Saturday.

"Arnold doesn't throw the ball on the line as much as some catchers, but he gets rid of it a lot better than any of our guys," Van Horn said. "His times are still under two (seconds) flat so when he's accurate, he'll throw you out.

Arnold's throws weren't accurate, but the Hogs' middle infielders were able to handle them and make tags in time.

"The first guy I threw out, Casey made a great play by going up and getting it so he really helped me out," Arnold said. "On the second one, I got on top of it and finally made a decent throw."

Changing Mascots

All three teams involved in this weekend's series had different mascots in their past athletic lives.

Or course, Arkansas changed its mascot from Cardinals to Razorbacks after the 1909 football season. Texas-Arlington (known earlier as Arlington State) went from Rebels to Mavericks in the 1970s, and Dallas Baptist's mascot was changed from the Indians to Patriots (circa 1987).

Home Team

Van Horn was the one who suggested this weekend's series as the Hogs were originally scheduled to open the season next weekend at Louisiana Tech.

During Saturday's game against Dallas Baptist, Arkansas even had to supply the game balls and pay the umpires as it was considered a home game for the traveling Razorbacks.


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