Hogs End Alabama Jinx

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- It's easy to see why Arkansas and other Southeastern Conference teams have struggled winning in Alabama's Sewell-Thomas Stadium, where the Crimson Tide actually lost to the Hogs 5-4 on Friday.

Arkansas hadn't won here since 1995 and had lost 12 straight games before reversing the curse with Friday's win.

The atmosphere is conducive to getting teams rattled where players will play out of their elements while trying to shut the mouths of several Tide supporters. The most vocal sit on top of the dugouts, only a few feet above the players and clearly within ear shot.

"We didn't really feel it as much tonight," said Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn. "I would have thought it would have been a little louder since their team is still in the hunt (for the Southeastern Conference title). They were still very vocal, but it was tame compared to what it was like here (when the Hogs were swept in 2003)."

During Friday's game, Arkansas starter Nick Schmidt received the most ribbing with chants like "You're awful No. 33!" and "You can't pitch string bean!" coming before, after and during most of his pitches.

"Oh yeah, I could hear them," Schmidt said. "You've just got to find a way early on to blow it off and not really listen to it or it could get to you a little.

"I knew they were just trying to get in my head."

The sound system folks only add to the pressure on opponents by playing things like the "Hey batter, batter!" scene from the movie Ferris Buellers' Day Off or the sound of a chain saw cutting through wood anytime one of the Razorbacks swung and missed a pitch.

They even work the other way, playing John Belushi's "It's not over 'til it's over" speech from the movie Animal House when the Tide faced a 3-2 deficit in the seventh inning.

"They did a good job,' Van Horn said. "It brings a lot to the atmosphere when you have that kind of timing with the (public address) system in certain situations.

"You can tell they've really worked on it and it does make it nice for the fans."

What's The Deal?
After leading off the third with a single, Hogs freshman Ben Tschepikow was thrown out by a couple of steps attempting to steal second base. Van Horn, who gives signs from the third-base coaching box, looked across the diamond to first-base coach Matt Deggs as if to say, 'What the heck?'

Deggs shrugged his shoulders, showing that he didn't know why Tschepikow ran to second without a steal sign being on.

On the next pitch, Craig Gentry singled which would have put two on with no outs and could have been key, especially with the Hogs trailing 2-0 at the time.

Van Horn stared Tschepikow down for a few seconds after Gentry's hit, just to make sure the freshman understood what the scenario would have been had he not been caught stealing.

Van Horn did a little more than shrug his shoulders when he came out to argue a call by home plate umpire Scott Erby in the fourth. With a 2-2 count, Schmidt bounced a breaking ball about four feet in front of the plate that Zac Welch swung at and missed.

Erby ruled that Welch fouled the ball, even though he would've needed one of the eight light poles around the stadium to reach the ball before it nosed into the dirt.

Welch grounded out to short two pitches later.

Injury Updates
Junior John Henry Marquardt, who had arthroscopic knee surgery May 2, pinch hit for the Hogs in the eighth inning. He hadn't played since April 21 and did not play in the field Friday.

Marquardt fouled off several pitches to get to a full count before striking out to end the inning with runners on first and third.

Injured Arkansas sophomore Jake Dugger (knee) pinch hit for starter Chris Hollensworth in the sixth. Dugger, who struck out in the sixth, but hit a sacrifice fly that tied the score at 3-all in the seventh, replaced Hollensworth in left field.

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