Walker Hopes To Continue Strong Finish

FAYETTEVILLE -- It comes as no surprise Brian Walker's batting average in the second half of this season has risen higher than record gas prices.

That continues a trend which started two years ago. Almost on cue, the veteran Arkansas catcher is following the same storyline at the plate. So, what gives? "You know, I don't know," Walker said. "I feel like every time I go into the season, I'm prepared. I think toward the end of the year, I've seen a lot of pitches and it's time to shine. You want to play well early but you definitely want to play well late. "It's just one of those things that's worked out for me well the last two years and hopefully it continues this year." Walker, a 6-foot, 232-pound junior, was hitting only .183 on March 25 with 1 double, 3 home runs and 13 RBIs. Today, he's hitting .255 with 7 doubles, 9 homers and 32 RBIs. In 27 Southeastern Conference games, Walker is hitting .284 with 6 doubles, 7 homers and 21 RBIs. Call it deja vu. In 2005, Walker hit .324 in the second half after batting .177 in the first 24 games. In 2006, he hit .337 after batting .202 in the first 24 close encounters of the first kind. "This is his third season here and his third season to start off slow but it's also his third season to finish strong," Razorbacks coach Dave Van Horn said. "He's been very good the last five or six weeks. He's gotten some big hits in conference play. He's been steady behind the plate, throwing people out, picking people off. "He didn't roll over when it didn't go good early, just like Danny (Hamblin) didn't and that's one of the reasons we're where we are at, record-wise." Record-wise, No. 10 Arkansas is 37-16 overall and 17-10 in the SEC and could be on the threshold of another SEC Western Division championship. Standing in the way of a possible title for Arkansas is Ole Miss (33-20, 14-13 in the SEC) -- Mississippi State is lurking in the background -- which invades Baum Stadium tonight to begin a critical series. Walker, of course, will be a prime subject of conversation and message boards fodder only because of what happened the last time the teams met in a regular-season SEC series.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories