Playing With A Purpose, Hogs Sweep Bears

FAYETTEVILLE -- Usually, coaches are pretty laid back during nonconference games. But not Arkansas' Dave Van Horn. His demeanor during Wednesday's doubleheader sweep against Northern Colorado showed he was coaching with a purpose.

Any of the 1,324 in Baum Stadium could take one look at Van Horn's walk and know his intensity level was at full-boar Wednesday. With the way he was barking instructions from the third-base coaches' box at times, it looked more like a Southeastern Conference series rubber match than a mid-week affair.

"(Van Horn) wants a 'W' every game," said junior pitcher Devin Collis, who won Wednesday's opener 9-3. "We still have a little frustration with the loss of a couple guys last week (senior closer Trey Holloway to injury and senior starters Casey Rowlett and Scott Bridges to indefinite suspensions), but he keeps on us and makes it a challenge for us.

"He wants the wins, especially nonconference, under our belt because of the polls and as much as anything, to build our confidence."

During a Northern Colorado pitching change in the opener, Van Horn went straight for the dugout and spent the entire break trying to hammer a point home with Chris Hollensworth, who missed a sign.

"I wanted to find out what he was thinking ... What did he see?" Van Horn said. "We want to make sure that everybody is on the same page and part of that is doing the little things right."

With Vanderbilt and its tough starting pitching coming to town for a three-game series on Friday, it was clear Van Horn wanted to iron out any kinks against the Bears (9-24) on Wednesday. The No. 14 Hogs (24-6) also were convincing in Wednesday's second game with a 7-4 win.

"I told them we're not going to let up," Van Horn said. "And we're going to continue to be on them every day like this. We're going to treat every game like it's the last game of the season because we want them to treat it that way, too.

"We're either going to get better or we're going to get worse. We're not going to stay the same and that's why all the coaches have made the commitment that we're just going to get after them the rest of the year.

"We've got to see some guys get better ... bottom line."

Game 2
Arkansas 7, Northern Colorado 4

The Razorbacks overcame a mixed bag of pitching performances by Josh Smith, Brian McLelland, Shaun Seibert, Charley Boyce and Lee Land to pull out a victory in the nightcap.

"I'm glad that our pitchers finished it out," Van Horn said. "Defensively, we played pretty well, but I was a little disappointed with some of the pitching there in the middle."

Clay Goodwin broke a 4-all tie in the sixth inning with an RBI triple, his first in two seasons, to right-center to score John Henry Marquardt, who doubled to lead off the inning.

"It wasn't really much of a rope," said Goodwin, who was 3 for 4. "I just hit it in the right spot and two guys dove and missed it, but I'll take it."

Jake Dugger spotted the Hogs a 1-0 lead with a solo homer in the first. They manufactured another run in the third after Hollensworth and Craig Gentry were hit with pitches to lead off the inning. Clint Arnold laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners over and Hollensworth scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Marquardt.

After Northern Colorado scored two runs off McLelland in the fourth to tie the score at 2-all, the Hogs answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning with Scott Hode and Gentry each driving in a run to regain a 4-2 advantage.

Seibert lost command of most of his pitches during a two-run fifth inning before handing off to Boyce (5-4), who retired eight of the nine he faced in 2 2/3 scoreless innings to pick up the win.

Arkansas added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth after Goodwin's leadoff double. Blake Parker had an RBI double and Hollensworth an RBI single to create the final margin.

Smith started and didn't allow a run on one hit in three innings while Land picked up his third save by retiring the side in order in the ninth.

Game 1
Arkansas 9, Northern Colorado 3

After Tuesday's game was suspended due to heavy rain, play was resumed in the bottom of the fourth inning with the Razorbacks leading 3-2.

Arkansas scored six runs in the fifth inning and received a strong pitching performance by Collis to complete the victory.

Gentry pushed a perfect bunt single down the first-base line to lead off the fifth and later scored on a single to right by Dugger. Danny Hamblin then ripped a two-run homer, his fourth, to left while Brian Walker laced a two-run double and Hode hit an RBI single to complete the scoring in the inning.

Meanwhile, the left-handed Collis turned in one of his better outings by establishing his breaking ball and fastball on the outside corner. He retired 11 of 12 batters in a row at one point and allowed one run on six hits in five innings.

Gentry and Hamblin each went 3 for 4 with two runs to pace the Razorbacks' 14-hit attack.

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