Bad Weather Doesn't Detour Fans From Baum Stadium

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas baseball fans huddled en masse under awnings, wrapped themselves in raincoats and chattered their teeth Sunday in Baum Stadium.

Some even snuck in an umbrella or two past security.

Cold, damp, miserable weather wasn't going to stop them from supporting the Razorbacks in the final game of a three-game series against Minnesota.

Sunday's announced crowd of 2,139 pushed the weekend attendance to 13,056 -- that's a daily average of 4,352 -- which translated into the largest home-opening series crowd in school history.

Arkansas swept Minnesota with a 4-3 win Sunday. In the series opener Friday, the Razorbacks won 5-4 and smashed the Gophers 12-3 on Saturday.

"It's unreal the support we're getting so far this year," said Razorbacks senior center fielder Casey Rowlett. "I mean, a cold, rainy day, maybe 45 degrees and we've got two-thousand-something people out here today. It's unbelievable the support we're getting.

"Hopefully, it continues and we can keep winning. If we keep winning, they'll keep coming."

They started coming in record numbers when 4,134 showed up for the Friday matinee played in above-normal temperatures. That represented the largest-ever, home-opening crowd, erasing the previous record of 2,610 on Feb. 4, 2001, in a 25-6 win against Missouri Southern.

On Saturday, a season-high crowd of 6,783 showed up to enjoy another sun-drenched day.

Sunday was a population punctuation mark on the weekend.

"It's supposed to be pretty nice next weekend and we have another pretty good team coming in, Illinois-Chicago," Rowlett said. "I think we'll have a good crowd again next weekend.

"Really, I was surprised we had so many here today."

So was Razorbacks coach Dave Van Horn.

"There was a lot more people here today with the weather than I thought would be here," Van Horn said. "I figured, you know, maybe fifteen hundred or so, just because. Maybe they hadn't come to a game yet, but you look up and see over two thousand people ... and they were into it, and they made a lot of noise.

"That was something.

"The crowd yesterday (Saturday) was incredible. The whole weekend combined was just a great effort by Hog fans, in my opinion, to be out here and support us.

"I think a little bit of it was a carryover from last year (when the Razorbacks won the Southeastern Conference co-championship and made their first trip to the College World Series in 15 years). I think they are maybe thanking us for last year and also getting into it for this year.

"I'm glad we gave them something to cheer about."

And Razorbacks freshman catcher/outfielder Clint Arnold, playing his first series in Baum Stadium, heard all the cheers.

"Man, they were loud all weekend," Arnold said. "I don't how to put it into words what it was like to play here for the first time in front of all these fans.

"It was more than I expected. It was amazing, playing in front of that many people. The enthusiasm and energy they bring is great. We fed off that energy.

"Seems like everybody in the state is a Razorback fan. The fans are loyal. Look how many showed up today. The fans definitely helped in my recruitment.

"I'm glad I came here."

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