Arkansas Fans Dominate Tourney

HONOLULU, Hawaii -- Arkansas posted a 4-1 record during the Rainbow Tournament, but it was the Razorbacks' fans who dominated the most this week in Les Murakami Stadium.

A large group, which included players' friends and families, made the trip as part of an Alumni Association package. They flew with the team, stayed in the same beach side hotel and took in many of the sites such as Pearl Harbor. At games, they often started Hogs calls well before the first pitch.

"We've had the biggest crowd here so far," said Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn. "I know the weather (it rained everyday) and a basketball game one night kept a lot of the Hawaii fans away. But our fans have been fun.

"With the early game (Saturday, a 7-1 win against Texas-Arlington), they kind of woke us up and got us going with all the cheering and having fun and we really appreciate it."

Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles made the trip with his wife, Gen (Whitehead) Broyles, who is a big baseball fan. Broyles called the trip a "third honeymoon" for the new couple.

"I've been impressed with our team as well as our fans," Broyles said. "We've showed everybody in Hawaii the Razorback spirit, that's for sure. We call the Hogs and people look around because they don't know what to expect. We've had between 150-175 fans at every ball game and other schools haven't even come close.

"We've enjoyed it and we've really enjoyed the team because they've represented the state of Arkansas so well, both off the field and on the field."

Most of the Razorbacks used the time away from classes as a vacation of sorts with their families. Hogs third baseman Blake Parker's father, Richard, said he wouldn't have missed the trip for the world.

"I just feel like this was a great opportunity to spend some time with my son and to be able to watch the baseball team play," said Parker, who was joined by his wife, Vikki, on the trip. "I'm certainly not going to miss that opportunity and we got to know a lot of the other parents really well, so we've all have had a great time."

Gentry's Status

Hogs senior center fielder Craig Gentry did not play Saturday, but walked around the dugout without the removable cast on his broken left hand which is a positive sign.

Gentry, the team's leadoff hitter with a .375 batting average, is scheduled to have his hand X-rayed on Monday before his status for next weekend's series against Cal-State Northridge is known.

"If it's healed where there's no crack in the bone anymore, then we'll put him in there whether it's Friday, Saturday or Sunday," Van Horn said. "I'd like to get him in a game before we get to Florida (March 17-19) if possible. But if not, then when we get to Florida, we'll start him then."

Gentry has been used as a pinch runner only twice in the past 10 games. He was replaced by Stephen Robison, who filled in nicely by going 6-for-11 during the tourney.

Rough Rhoads

Hogs starter Chris Rhoads lasted only two-plus innings during Saturday's win and was knocked out of the first inning of his last start, a 5-1 loss against Washington on Tuesday.

And even though the junior won his first three decisions prior to this week, coaches don't seem too concerned with the recent slide.

"In the second inning, (Rhoads) threw extremely well," Van Horn said. "He had his slider going and was spotting it up and then in that third inning, it just didn't happen for him and he just missed too many spots, so we went to the pen.

"But he's going to be all right."

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