Ex-Hogs Hode, Rowlett Drafted On Second Day

FAYETTEVILLE -- Senior shortstop Scott Hode, one of the most popular players in recent Arkansas baseball history, was drafted in the 24th round by the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday on the last day of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

Former teammate, senior center fielder Casey Rowlett, was picked in the 32nd round (980th overall) by the St. Louis Cardinals.

The annual draft concluded with 32 rounds Wednesday. Eighteen rounds were completed Tuesday.

Rowlett, along with senior second baseman Scott Bridges, was suspended March 29 for violating a team rule.

On Tuesday, Bridges went to the San Francisco Giants in the eighth round. He was the 252nd overall pick.

Arkansas signees Travis Wood and Kyle Hancock were taken in the first three rounds Tuesday.

Wood, a 6-foot, 170-pound left-hander from Bryant, was taken in the second round (60th player overall) by the Cincinnati Reds. Hancock, a 6-3, 195 pounder from Rowlett, Texas, was taken in the third round (87th overall) by the Colorado Rockies.

Wood's mother, Dena, said late Wednesday night her son would sign with Cincinnati instead of coming to Arkansas.

"Yes, he is going to sign," she said. "It looks like things are going to work out. He hasn't signed a contact yet but he hopes to soon."

Hancock said he would make his final decision in the next few days.

Another signee, shortstop Kevin Carby of Tulsa Booker T. Washington, was drafted the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 18th round (556th overall) on Tuesday.

Carby told Razorbacks coach Dave Van Horn he will honor his commitment and play at Arkansas next year.

Hode, who hit .309 with 3 homers and 26 RBIs, was named to the all-tournament team at the NCAA Austin (Texas) Regional earlier this week.

Arkansas, which played in the College World Series for the first time in 15 years in 2004, lost 5-2 against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Monday.

Hode, the 730th pick overall, is a native of Crystal Lake, Ill. He said it was a dream come true to be drafted by his favorite team.

"Oh man, I'm still kind of in shock," Hode said. "I had no idea this would happen. It's been a childhood dream of mine to play for the Cubs.

"I really had no idea I would even be drafted. I really was clueless. It was a big surprise. I filled out some information cards and talked to some scouts but didn't know much more than that.

"I wasn't expecting this.

"I just wanted a chance to play. I'll play baseball as long as I can, until they rip the glove off my hand and say, 'You can't play anymore.'

"This is awesome."

Hode said he plans to make Arkansas his permanent home.

"I fell in love with Arkansas," Hode said. "This has been the best four years of my life. I love the people here. I plan to spend the rest of my life here. That's how much of an influence it's been on me."

Rowlett, too, grew up a huge Cubs fan but doesn't mind switching allegiance.

"Guess I'll have to pack all that Cubs stuff away," said Rowlett, a native of Jones, Okla. "I kind of like the Cardinals now."

At the time of his suspension, Rowlett was hitting a team-leading .473 with 1 home run and 24 RBIs. He was 16 of 18 on stolen bases attempts.

He started all 23 games in which he played and had a 22-game hitting streak.

"I just wanted a shot," he said. "This is the first step toward my ultimate goal of getting to the big leagues.

Rowlett, too, said he would never forget his time with the Razorbacks despite his premature departure.

"I would never want to play another college baseball game other than in Baum Stadium," Rowlett said. "If a recruit came to me, I'd tell him to go to Arkansas hands down.

"It has the greatest fans in the world."

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