Razorbacks May Revamp Defense

FAYETTEVILLE —Arkansas' infield could get a makeover if the Razorbacks earn an NCAA Regional bid today.

For the first half of Sunday's 90-minute workout, Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn hit ground balls to an infield that included John Henry Marquardt at third base, Scott Hode at shortstop, Ben Tschepikow at second and Clay Goodwin at first.

"We've got to try something," Van Horn said. "This is just what we've been tossing around for a little bit. We've got to play better and we're always looking for ways to get the best possible lineup on the field and we believe this could be it — defensively and offensively."

Marquardt, who missed 13 games because of knee surgery, started seven games at third base early on this season, but has mostly played second base since Southeastern Conference play began. He took over at second when senior Scott Bridges was suspended on March 29.

While Marquardt was out with his injury, Tschepikow filled in nicely and actually would be the team leader in batting average (.396) if he had more than 48 at-bats.

This scenario all could hinge on Tschepikow's availability. Because of back problems, the Fayetteville freshman hasn't played in the field during the Hogs' current five-game losing streak, but he was 2-for-4 as the designated hitter in Thursday's 5-4 loss against Alabama.

"Ben brings a lot to the lineup," Van Horn said. "His speed, his athleticism ... We need him in there if he can play."

On Sunday, Tschepikow looked sharp defensively and was even able to turn a few double-plays during practice.

"I think Ben will be ready to play," Van Horn said. "We worked him out pretty good (Sunday) and he moved around pretty good. By next weekend, he should be 100 percent."

Goodwin has 49 starts at third and just four starts at first base, where Danny Hamblin has started 34 games and has been a mainstay there.

Brock Bond started at first and Hamblin was the designated hitter during a 9-8 loss against Florida in the SEC Tourney opener. Bond could factor in at either second or first if Tschepikow isn't healthy.

Another positive injury update for the Razorbacks is that freshman right-hander Shaun Seibert appears to be fully-recovered after straining the ulnar nerve in his right elbow. He'll pitch in a live scrimmage this afternoon before coaches determine if he can start a game should the Hogs get a regional bid.


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