Rowlett Keeps Rolling For Razorbacks

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The buzz around Sarge Frye Field on Sunday centered on Arkansas' red-hot senior Casey Rowlett, who extended his hitting streak to 19 games during the Razorbacks' 5-3 win against South Carolina.

"Man, he's hit in 19 straight? That's unreal," said an unidentified USC fan wearing a "Beat Arkansas" T-shirt.

Rowlett has been unreal. He was the only Razorbacks player with two hits Sunday to keep his team-leading batting average at .500. For the series, he was 6 for 13 with four runs and an RBI.

"He had a solid, solid day," said Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn. "He struck out in his first at-bat and didn't look too good doing it, but he really bounced back after that."

Rowlett said he changed his approach before his second at-bat and it led to the first hit off USC starter Wynn Pelzer, a one-out single to right field in the fourth inning.

"My first at-bat, I was way too anxious and kind of hyped up," Rowlett said. "My second at-bat, I just told myself to calm down, stay with my game plan and stay with my approach.

"Don't try to do too much and just get on base and both times I got on base, we popped a home run, so it worked out well for us."

The longest hitting streak in Arkansas history is 30 games by Randy Bobb in 1987. Rowlett said the key to his streak has been keeping it simple.

"I'm not trying to hit home runs," Rowlett said. "If I try to hit home runs, I'm done. I have to stay with the mind set of going up the middle or the other way."

Much Ado About Nothing

There were no hits in the first half inning, but it lasted more than 10 minutes as both coaches argued with umpires after a peculiar play.

Rowlett swung and missed at what would've been the third strike as teammate Scott Bridges stole third base. USC catcher Cory Vanderhook dropped the ball and home plate umpire Bryan Donnelly quickly ruled it a foul tip, which sent Bridges back to second and gave Rowlett another swing.

Van Horn and USC coach Ray Tanner disputed the call with Tanner going all the way onto the field and complaining for several minutes.

The original call stood which didn't matter much as Bridges ended up reaching third base anyway on a balk by Pelzer and Rowlett struck out two pitches later.

Despite the slow start, the game was completed in two hours, 20 minutes which is the second fastest game the Hogs have been involved in this season.

Nervous Energy

After Saturday's 12-3 loss, Van Horn couldn't wait to get his team back on the field Sunday.

"I got fired up (Sunday)," Van Horn said. "I went running for about 45 minutes because I was a little nervous. Then I came out, put some sun screen on and threw batting practice. I just really wanted to get this one going after getting whipped like that (Saturday) ... It was hard sleeping, but our guys really got it going (Sunday)."

With the victory, Arkansas has won eight of the last 11 games against South Carolina.

"Nice Hustle Catch!"

Arkansas catcher Brian Walker received a round of applause after he went barreling into the Hogs' dugout while trying to catch a foul ball in the third inning.

Walker was involved in a strange play later in the inning when Davy Gregg hit a routine grounder to third and took Walker's glove off with his swing. Gregg was awarded first base for the catcher's interference while Walker was saddled with an error.

More Walker

Walker threw out the only two runners who tried to steal second on him Sunday and was a perfect 3-for-3 in throwing out runners during the series.

For the season, he has thrown out 9 of 14 runners (64.3 percent) attempting to steal.

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