Hogs Back In SEC Hunt

FAYETTEVILLE -- After starting this weekend's series dead last in the Southeastern Conference Western Division, Arkansas is right back in the hunt following a three-game sweep against Vanderbilt in Baum Stadium.

"You hate to see your name down at the bottom of any league," said Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn. "Every win in the SEC is so important that it doesn't matter who it's against or when. We just need to keep chipping away and getting wins when we get the chance."

The No. 14 Razorbacks (27-6 overall) moved into second in the Western Division with a 7-5 record. Front-runner Alabama is 8-4 after winning two of three games at Ole Miss this weekend.

Had Alabama lost Sunday, the Hogs would have gone from worst to first in a span of three days.

"Getting us back to 7-5 is right where we want to be," said Hogs first baseman Danny Hamblin, who hit a solo homer in Sunday's 3-0 win. "We're trying to get out and get on a winning streak because as we learned last year (by winning a share of the overall league title), that's what it takes to win the SEC.

"So we're just going to continue scratching and clawing and trying to win every game."

Van Horn tried unsuccessfully to convince Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin that his Razorbacks were shorthanded when the Commodores were taking batting practice Thursday night in Baum Stadium. The Hogs lost starters Casey Rowlett and Scott Bridges to indefinite suspensions and senior closer Trey Holloway to injury in the past two weeks.

"I know when Dave was talking to me Thursday night, he was saying how they were going to improvise," Corbin said. "But I wasn't buying it then and I'm not buying it right now, they've got a pretty good team."

Corbin went as far as to say that Arkansas is the most athletic team his squad has faced this season. The Commodores also have played Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama.

"They're pretty damn good," Corbin said. "They changed the complexion of the game with their legs, their arms. Every single one of those guys can run and throw. I know they lost Bridges and Rowlett, but they've still got a good team."

It appears the Hogs have figured out that out, too.

Keeping It Fair

Hamblin homered off the foul pole in left to give the Razorbacks a 3-0 cushion in Sunday's eighth inning. With gusts up to 25-mph blowing in from right field, Hamblin said he kind of played the ball to "hook," a term often used by golfers to describe drives that bite from right to left.

"If you're going to hit it out in this wind, (left field) is the only way to go," Hamblin said. "You have to hit toward the SEC sign or the 375-foot mark (in the left-field power alley) and just let it drift over. Because you can't hit it down the line, it'll blow foul every time."

Not realizing it was ruled a homer, Hamblin didn't let up running until rounding third base and seeing Van Horn tell him to slow down and enjoy his fifth blast this season.

"The umpire pointed fair and he took some time before he pointed up in the air (to signal a home run)," Van Horn said. "So Danny was hauling. He would've for sure had a triple and maybe and inside-the-park (homer), who knows.

"But I appreciate that effort."

Robbie's Ribbie

Arkansas outfielder Stephen Robison picked up his second RBI of the season by walking with the bases loaded in Sunday's second inning.

Robison's other RBI came on a double during a 10-1 win against Centenary on March 12.

The sophomore from Tulsa also snapped a minor slump when he bunted for a base hit to lead off the seventh. He was 0 for his last 9 before the at-bat.

No Running

Vanderbilt runners were thrown out all three times they tried to steal a base during the series.

Arkansas catcher Blake Parker, a right-handed hitter who usually starts behind the plate against left-handed pitchers, threw out Vanderbilt's Warner Jones attempting to steal second in the fourth inning Sunday.

Big Weekend

Sunday's crowd of 6,788 pushed the series attendance total to 21,371, the most to see a weekend series in Baum Stadium this season.

Rare Walk

Jones, a free swinger and last season's SEC batting champ, worked his second walk of the season off Arkansas starter Devin Collis to lead off the fourth.

He was 5 for 13 with 2 runs and 2 RBIs (entering Sunday) during the series.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories