Toops, Sawatski Hook Up Again

FAYETTEVILLE -- Former Arkansas catcher Brady Toops was supposed to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Saturday's 12-3 win against Minnesota in Baum Stadium.

Instead, Toops faked a throw before motioning for relief from the dugout and he got it when Jay Sawatski, the Hogs' stopper last season, jogged out to the mound.

"Remember the last time we hooked up?" Toops said. "It was a strikeout for the final out against Florida State (a 4-2 win in the Super Regionals to send the Hogs to the College World Series). I put the ball in my back pocket before we dogpiled on the mound and gave it to Sawatski after the game.

"But I'm keeping this one."

The left-handed Sawatski, with Toops catching, threw a perfect strike to a round of applause from a season-high crowd of 6,783. He didn't know he was supposed to pitch Saturday, but like so many times last season, he delivered when called upon.

"I was in the parking lot and my dad said to get in here because you're throwing out the first pitch," Sawatski said. "I really didn't know what was going on until I got down into the dugout about five minutes before it happened.

"I'm just glad I got as big of an applause as Brady did."

Both are playing professionally after getting picked in the early rounds of Major League Baseball Amateur Draft last June. Sawatski (Twins) and Toops (Cardinals) will report for spring training in Florida next month.

Other former Razorbacks now with professional teams who attended the game were Clint Brannon (Rangers) and Ryan Fox (Rockies).

Bridges Update

Arkansas second baseman Scott Bridges missed his first start of his senior season on Saturday after getting hit with a pitch during Friday's game.

"My hand is still numb so it may have hit a nerve," Bridges said. "I tried throwing and I couldn't do it. But I'll be ready to get back in there as soon as the numbness goes away."

Bridges, who leads the Southeastern Conference with 10 stolen bases, is listed as day-to-day with a bruised right hand. In his place, Casey Rowlett made his second career start at second base.

Ham It Up

Hogs sophomore slugger Danny Hamblin made his first start in the field since the third game of last season when he started at third base.

Hamblin, a freshman All-American as a designated hitter, started at first base and appears to be getting closer to full strength since undergoing shoulder surgery after last season.

Gentry Returns

Craig Gentry, a transfer from UA-Fort Smith, finally got his first career at-bat when he grounded out to second in the eighth inning. Gentry didn't have a plate appearance in his first start after suffering a slight concussion when he dove headfirst into the wall to make a catch in the first inning of a 9-4 win at Louisiana Tech a week ago.

Old School

The Razorbacks debuted new stirrups Saturday which featured solid red with three white stripes, one thick and two thin. The team is expected to keep wearing the throwback leggings whenever they play in their home white jerseys.

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