Baseball Team Poised For Run To Omaha

FAYETTEVILLE -- Finally, something Razorbacks fans can agree on.

While the bickering continues on whether this coach should stay or go, or if this player should have transferred or not, Tuesday presented Hogs faithful with a breath of fresh air as Arkansas baseball took center stage -- or at least tried to -- with its annual media day in Baum Stadium.

Down the road, the mess known as Arkansas postseason football might be getting most of the attention from the fan base. But with the hype this Razorbacks baseball team is receiving in its own preseason, that may soon very well change.

"This is kind of unusual," said Arkansas' fifth-year baseball coach Dave Van Horn. "We've had a lot of privacy, let's put it that way."

No matter what fans might choose to disagree on in other sports, there should be few complaining about the 2007 Diamond Hogs. At least, not yet.

With a roster full of experience -- including four-year lettermen Danny Hamblin and Jake Dugger -- and a pitching staff led by preseason All-American Nick Schmidt, which should be Van Horn's best yet, the Razorbacks aren't just dreaming of a final stop at the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

They're almost counting on it.

"No doubt, this is our most talented team," Van Horn said. "Yeah, we're planning on making a run at Omaha."

A year ago, Arkansas looked ready for another run, only to fall short in its own NCAA Regional to finish the season 39-21 overall and 18-12 in the Southeastern Conference.

Good numbers, indeed. But this Razorbacks team is thinking about much, much more in 2007.

Apparently, they aren't the only ones, as Arkansas is a preseason Top 10 team in every publication that has hit the stands, including a No. 4 national rating in Collegiate Baseball's preseason Top 25.

So even though their own fans might need some time to come around, it's clear this Razorback team has someone's attention. But as junior catcher and team co-captain Brian Walker pointed out, rankings mean about as much as Internet rumors this time of year.

"The rankings, they're great. But what are rankings?" Walker said. "What do they really mean? Nothing."

Arkansas opens the 2007 season with a three-game series at Louisiana Tech, Feb. 2 through Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 4. The Razorbacks' home opener isn't until Feb. 16, when Wisconsin-Milwaukee visits Baum Stadium for a three-game series.

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