Travel Issues Nearly Halt Hogs Win

AUBURN, Ala. -- Arkansas' worst enemy Sunday was the clock on the scoreboard in left-center field of Plainsman Park.

An NCAA curfew rule was nearly put into effect since the ninth inning of Sunday's 8-6 Arkansas win failed to start by 1 p.m.

The game started on time at 10:30 a.m., meaning the teams would have had to complete the game in two and a half hours. Out of the Razorbacks' 27 games this season, only four have been played in under two and half hours.

In Auburn's 30 games, only eight have been played in under 2:30. In additon, Sunday games usually pit the teams' third best pitchers against each other and the result is often high-scoring affairs that last a minumum of three hours.

"The (NCAA) set the rule and the (Southeastern) Conference is the one that set the game time," said Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn. "If they would have told us this earlier, we could have played at 10 or 9:45 a.m. or whatever."

Auburn coach Tom Slater called the whole situation "a mess."

"It's just a mess with this whole travel issue thing," Slater said. "Unfortunately, Arkansas is the ones that are involved in it the most because they have to travel the farthest just about every weekend."

After a meeting between umpires and coaches prior to the seventh, it was agreed to move the curfew back to 1:30 p.m., giving the teams three hours to complete the game.

Otherwise, the game would not have counted at all.

"They said the game won't count if we don't play nine and I said, ‘Well, we'll take a bus home or whatever it takes,'" said Van Horn, whose team made the flight out of Atlanta on Sunday evening. "It doesn't do us any good if we don't finish the thing or if it ends in a tie because we needed a win."

In the SEC, 16 of the 60 games played on Sundays could be affected by travel. Arkansas has another road game, at Alabama on May 15, that has been moved up to a 10:30 a.m. start because travel concerns.

Slater offered up an answer to the league's curfew problems.

"Allow teams to fly back on Monday, that's my solution," Slater said. "You're getting back late on Sunday night as it is anyway, so why not just catch the first flight back Monday morning?"


Auburn fans may be some of the best in the league at heckling umpires whether they're arguing balls and strikes or a close play at first base.

In Sunday's game, some of the better banter included: "Quit standing with your hands on your hips ump!" ... "You're going to need an escort out of here; We'll see you later in the parking lot" ... "Blue, you're too stupid to holler at, so I'm not even going to holler anymore!"

Parker Parks It

Arkansas' Blake Parker homered for the second time in the series with a solo shot over the high green wall in left in the third inning. It was his fifth, but Jake Dugger regained the team lead with his sixth homer, a solo shot to lead off the seventh.

May Day! May Day!

With Arkansas' bullpen depleted after the loss of closer Trey Holloway to injury last week, Daryl Maday's return was a welcome sight for coaches Sunday.

Maday, who hadn't pitched in eight games because of shoulder stiffness, allowed no runs on two hits in 2 2/3 innings. He threw 26 strikes in 44 pitches.

"He actually didn't have tremendous stuff," Van Horn said. "He's thrown harder and he labored a little bit, but he threw just good enough to get us through some innings.

"It was nice to have that arm in there again."

Holloway is scheduled to have elbow surgery this week and is expected to miss at least six weeks.

Time Change

Arkansas' game Wednesday against Northern Colorado has been moved back two hours to a 7:05 p.m. start.

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