Hogs Coach Puts Florida Series Behind Him

FAYETTEVILLE -- Dave Van Horn disguised his feelings pretty well during his weekly news conference Monday.

He didn't kick any chairs and didn't throw any temper tantrums.

Basically, he took it like a man.

His Arkansas baseball team could have played much, much better in its first Southeastern Conference series over the weekend at then-No. 15 Florida -- the Gators moved to No. 9 in the latest Top 25 poll released Monday -- but simply didn't.

And Van Horn didn't try to alibi, either.

The Razorbacks, who slipped one spot to No. 11 in the poll, went 1-2 against the Gators, but genuinely could have, probably should have, had a sweep.

Blowing leads in the seventh inning on Friday and Sunday was the difference.

"With the exception of two, three innings, we played really well," Van Horn. "Friday, we kicked a few balls around ... Saturday we came back, pitched well, made a couple of double plays, had a few good hits and came out Sunday and got after them pretty good and then had critical errors again.

"It was really disappointing, but you know we've got to move on. The bright part is we could have won all three games but didn't.

"We won one on the road. We need to take care of business this weekend (against No. 25 Georgia), but we have two games first, against Centenary.

"We really have to concentrate on Centenary and give some guys some work."

Arkansas (17-3) meets Centenary (La.) College (9-11) in Baum Stadium at 3:05 p.m. today, three hours earlier than originally scheduled because of the threat of bad weather.

What about Gents?

"They've played some people," Van Horn said. "You know coach (Ed) McCann is a good coach and he's played some good people to get his team ready for their league (Mid-Continent Conference).

"I know we're going to face a couple of left-handed pitchers. We haven't face a lot of them this season. That should help us in the long run.

"I'm glad we have some games this week."

Centenary starts left-hander Brandon Fulenchek (2-4, 5.66 ERA) today while Arkansas counters with lefty James Gilbert (1-0, 0.93).

"I know how the kids are going to respond," Van Horn said. "They are going to get after it. They care. It hurt 'em. They're sick. They blew a seven-run lead (Sunday). It was a pretty quiet flight home.

"I think our team will respond fine."

Junior outfielder Matt Webb leads the Gentlemen with a .370 average. He's followed by sophomore catcher Alex Maldonado, who's hitting .352 and a club-leading 16 RBIs. Justin Darr is right behind with a .351 average and 15 RBIs.

Arkansas is led by second baseman James Ewing (.382), outfielder Chris Hollensworth (.367) and first baseman Danny Hamblin, who's hitting .346 with a team-leading 6 home runs and 29 RBIs.

The teams meet again at 3:05 p.m. Wednesday.

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