Rowlett, Bridges Suspended

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas' top two hitters were indefinitely suspended Tuesday for "violations of team policy," according to coach Dave Van Horn.

Van Horn declined comment on what policy was violated by senior starters Casey Rowlett and Scott Bridges.

Neither will make the trip for this weekend's three-game series at Auburn.

"The only thing that I can really say is that I just really feel bad for them," Van Horn said. "They're seniors and they're upset by everything, but I guess I really can't comment on it.

"Naturally, they're distraught over everything because this is it for them."

Van Horn was uncertain how long the suspensions would be in effect or if they could lead to permanent dismissals.

"I would say there's a slim, slim possibility (they could be reinstated)," Van Horn said. "But we'll just have to wait and see, and I guess that's all I can really say on that."

A center fielder, Rowlett leads the Southeastern Conference with a .473 batting average after his 22-game hitting streak came to a halt during Sunday's 10-5 win against Mississippi State. Bridges, a second baseman, is second on the team with a .410 batting average and leads the SEC with 22 stolen bases in 24 attempts.

No. 9 Arkansas is 21-4 and, at 3-3, is tied for second in the SEC's Western Division.

Van Horn would not say if the suspensions were the result of acts the players knew were against team policy.

"That would be the question - if something was done or not," Van Horn said. "It has to be found out if something was done, so that's what we're waiting on.

"I would say that we are sitting on it right now, and I just don't feel it would be right to play anybody while this is going on. That's why they're suspended indefinitely, because there's a problem, and since there's a possibility of a problem, then I'm not playing them. Bottom line."

Van Horn and the rest of the Razorbacks' coaching staff met with players on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the situation.

"We've got to move on and we've got to find a way to get it done," Van Horn said. "We've been challenged a little bit and we'll overcome. That's our attitude around here. We're not looking for a built-in excuse not to do well."

Hogs junior Craig Gentry is expected to move from right to center field in Rowlett's absence while junior John Marquardt will replace Bridges at second base. In right field, the Hogs will either go with Blake Parker, Steven Robison or Chris Hollensworth.

Senior third baseman Clay Goodwin stayed in Fayetteville over the summer to work out with Bridges and Rowlett. He said he has talked with both of them since the news of the disciplinary measures broke, but declined to comment on their emotional state or the reasons for their suspensions.

"They love the game just as much as any of us," Goodwin said. "They put their heart and soul on the line every day for us, so that's what we're looking at. It's tough, but the biggest thing for me - and especially my teammates - is that we're all so close on this team. We care about each other so much.

"Right now, we're not worried about (missing them in) baseball as much as we are about missing them as friends."

Even if Bridges and Rowlett are not reinstated, Van Horn said he likely won't clean out their lockers. In addition, neither will lose scholarships since those are given on an annual basis and can't be revoked in the middle of a term, Van Horn said.

"Those guys are warriors. They want to win," Van Horn said. "We're going to leave (their stuff in their lockers) as long as we can, and even if they don't get to come back, I'll probably leave it in there.

"I just think that that's what we need to do because they're a big part of this team."

Attempts to reach Rowlett and Bridges on Tuesday were unsuccessful.

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