Baum Stadium Shines Through Rainy Days

FAYETTEVILLE -- For Arkansas' series against Mississippi State to be played without any delays was remarkable considering a steady rain fell for much of the weekend.

Saturday's game, which Arkansas lost 13-4, did start two minutes late and Sunday's game started about four minutes behind schedule, but that was more because of pregame happenings, such as ceremonial first pitches, than it did with unfavorable weather.

"They did a great job," said MSU coach Ron Polk. "This is a beautiful place to play and for them to keep it in working shape all weekend considering the elements was impressive."

As it turns out, Baum Stadium turf manager Adam Kizziah is a 2003 graduate of Mississippi State so, of course, he wanted to see the games played.

"Getting it ready for Saturday's wasn't too bad," Kizziah said. "But during Saturday's game, we got a lot of rain so it was really tough on us getting here (Sunday) morning, and getting the tarp off, fixing it before it started raining hard again and then getting the tarp right back on it.

"We were in a crunch, but my turf students really stepped up and did the job that they're here to do."

In between most innings, rakes were used to spread 40-pound bags of "Turface" on the soggy infield. It's a substance that mixes with the dirt to speed the drying process.

"It's basically (ground up) clay bricks that are fired at about 2000-degrees, so they're able to suck up twice their weight in water," Kizziah said. "We wouldn't have got this game in (Sunday) without it. We used two tons of it (Sunday) morning before we got started, so it was really important to have that in our hands."

Baum Stadium's surface features a state-of-the-art drainage system, which includes a sand base, small drains every 20 feet and a main drain that runs underneathe center field and into the pond beyond the wall, which is known as "Lake Norm" for former Arkansas coach Norm DeBriyn.

Stuck On You

Hogs freshman Brian Walker hit a two-out RBI single in the fifth, but was eventually ruled out when he rounded first base too far and was unable to get back to the bag in time.

The relay throw from center field was cut off by MSU first baseman Brad Jones, who quickly flipped the ball to Jeffrey Rea, the second baseman, who was covering first.

On wet dirt, Walker came up a few inches short on his head-first slide back into first and Rea put the tag on him, only to see first base umpire Scott Erby call Walker safe.

That prompted MSU coach Ron Polk to dispute the ruling and it was later overturned by home plate umpire Robert Hefner.

"It was kind of like in (the movie) Major League when the guy (Willie Mays Hayes) comes up short," Walker said. "It was kind of funny, but it almost worked out OK."

Walker, Base Ranger

Walker, who missed the first two games of the series because of an illness, has been one of the stingiest catchers to run on in the Southeastern Conference this season.

MSU's Rea led off Sunday's game with a single, but was quickly nailed trying to steal second by Walker.

It's the fifth straight time Walker has caught a runner stealing and he's 10 for 15 (75 percent) on throwing out runners attempting to steal, which is the best percentage in the league.

End Of A Streak

Arkansas senior Casey Rowlett ended the bottom of the eighth inning in the on-deck circle, coming up one spot short of getting another at-bat. His 22-game hitting streak ended after he went 0 for 4 in Sunday's win.

Holloway Update

Hogs closer Trey Holloway didn't pitch during the weekend series after injuring his elbow last week against Centenary. But the senior from Booneville could be available next weekend at Auburn, accoridng to Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn.

"He's getting better," Van Horn said. "He's doing what the doctor tells him and we hope he can be ready by Friday or Saturday. If not, then hopefully by Sunday.

"If there's not a hair-line fracture in there, he'll be better. There's no ligament tear, so things are looking up for him."

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