Arkansas Makes Attitude Adjustments

FAYETTEVILLE -- Strange as it sounds, Arkansas' 10-5 win Sunday against Mississippi State could be traced back to things that happened on Saturday.

Two meetings -- one between coach Dave Van Horn and the entire team and another with Charley Boyce and the pitching coaches -- led to attitude adjustments after Saturday's 13-4 loss against the Bulldogs.

Apparently, what Van Horn said did the trick since the Razorbacks (21-4, 3-3) rebounded for a much-needed win in front of a season-low crowd of 1,172 in Baum Stadium, which prevented a series sweep since the Hogs also lost 5-3 on Friday.

"I told them, ‘We've gotten away from our game,'" Van Horn said. "'We've gotten away from blue-collar baseball. We're trying to draw too much attention to ourselves and we need to start doing what we do and that's play hard. Quit looking at the scoreboard. Quit thinking about last year.

"If you notice there wasn't anything on the scoreboard, none of those highlight videos (of last season's run to the College World Series) or any of that other stuff ... that was last year.

"We just told them that this isn't a country club around here. We've got to go back to work and I think they did a good job of doing that (Sunday)."

Boyce, who gave up four runs in the ninth to get tagged with Friday's loss, spent more than an hour Saturday with Hogs pitching coach Dave Jorn and team manager Wes McCrotty, a former Razorback who assists with the pitching staff.

"Coach Jorn really picked me up," Boyce said. "He said, ‘Look, I'm behind you all the way. I can tell you're battling and competing, it's just that stuff isn't going your way right now.' My mind had been racing out there and it shouldn't be. I was thinking too much and he said that I've got to only think about one pitch at a time.

"We talked about baseball for only about 15 minutes, but the rest of the time, we talked about life and God and things like that off the field ... It really altered my mind set.

"Then, Wes taught me some things that he did when he was pitching and using those things along with what coach Jorn said was the only things I did differently.

"So it was more mental changes than anything."

The fourth-year junior checked in with his best outing against a quality opponent this season after relieving starter Devin Collis with two on and two outs in the first inning and the Hogs already trailing 3-0.

Boyce got a ground ball to escape the first and struck out a season-high five batters while allowing just two hits in 4 1/3 innings. He threw 45 strikes in 60 pitches.

"The only difference was in his confidence," said Hogs catcher Brian Walker. "He's one of our veterans, but he is human. He's been struggling a little bit lately, but he really got his stuff working and it all started with his confidence.

"With Charley going, we're going to be a lot better down the road."

Clay Goodwin put the Hogs on the board with a towering solo homer, his second in as many games, in the second inning. Arkansas then scored three runs to take a 4-3 lead in the fourth which was highlighted by hot-hitting Craig Gentry's two-run single to center.

Adding to the lead, the Hogs scored four runs in the fifth with Goodwin, Jake Dugger, John Marquardt and Walker each driving in a run. They kept rolling in the sixth when Scott Bridges hammered a two-run homer, his fourth, off of the flag pole over the right-field wall.

"We bounced back," Van Horn said. "We showed that we've got a pretty tough team and we showed a lot of character with they way we came out."


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