Regular-Season Finale Frustrating For Seniors

FAYETTEVILLE -- When Arkansas seniors look back on their final regular-season home game in Baum Stadium, Saturday probably won't be one their fondest memories.

That's the bad news. Of course, the good news is they'll be remembered as having played a big role in winning the Southeastern Conference Western Division title on the final weekend of the 2007 season at home. And getting another chance in a possible NCAA regional at home. On Saturday, first baseman Danny Hamblin, outfielders Jake Dugger and Stephen Robison, along with pitchers Chris Rhoads, James Gilbert and Brian McLelland were honored in pregame ceremonies as part of Senior Day. Only three of those seniors -- Hamblin, Dugger and Robison -- played during a 5-0 loss against Ole Miss in front of 9,508 fans. Those three combined to go 0-for-8 as No. 10 Arkansas lost yet another SEC series. "We have to make some adjustments at the plate, so we can get some runs for other pitchers," Dugger said. "You know, we didn't do that today." Arkansas opens the SEC Tournament against Alabama at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Hoover, Ala. "We're already secured our position in the tournament but we're not satisfied," Dugger said. "We're not satisfied a bit with the way we finished (losing six of the last nine SEC games). "We could have done a lot better. "We have a lot of baseball left, which is the good thing. We've just got to get back to work so, we can get our hitting going. "Postseason is where you've got to show up because it's win or go home (after the SEC Tournament)." Saturday's loss might have stung Hamblin, arguably the heart and soul of this team, the most only because he showed the most visible evidence. He definitely wants one more chance for a trip to Omaha, Neb., site of the College World Series. However, he still thinks it's possible. "It's just disappointing after you have a big win the night before (Friday night when Arkansas rallied for three runs in the 10th inning to beat Ole Miss 4-3)," Hamblin said. "Then, you come out and you don't do anything at all. It's just all offense. We don't make adjustments, just stuff like that." Hamblin still found some hope for the future. "The regular season is over with and now it's fun time," he said. "We are in the position we wanted to be in the very beginning. You know, we won the West. We've just got to get ready for another hard tournament and hopefully get us ready for a solid regional. "We just to have to make the adjustments and put it into the plan and take them to the plate." Second-Half Surge Arkansas junior catcher Brian Walker came into the final weekend of SEC play as one of the hottest hitters in the league. That trend continued Saturday when he got two of the Razorbacks' four hits to raise his batting average from .252 to .258. Coming into the weekend, Walker was hitting .309 with 6 home runs and 19 RBIs over the last 22 games. At one point, his average had dipped to .183, heading into the Sunday finale against top-ranked Vanderbilt on March 25. Bullpen Praise Arkansas fans couldn't complain about bullpen woes Saturday because it did its job. Relievers Stephen Richards, Evan Cox, Dallas Keuchel and Travis Hill pitched four scoreless innings. That group combined for five strikeouts and two walks, but no runs.

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