Diamond Hogs Ready To Forget

FAYETTEVILLE — Too much rain and too few wins left Arkansas coaches and players in a foul mood as they returned from their weekend Southeastern Conference series at Vanderbilt. Now, the Razorbacks hope a trip just to the north will turn things around.

After sitting through countless weather delays — only to end up losing a pair of games to the Commodores — Arkansas now finds itself in an odd position.

The Razorbacks are just 2-6 in SEC play and are stuck in a slump where they've won just four or their last 14 games. But despite the recent downward spiral, the Diamond Hogs are somehow still in the thick of the SEC Western Division race, just one and a half games out of the top of division standings.

Still, no matter how far back the Razorbacks are it won't matter if they don't sort some problems out. Most noticeably, Arkansas had trouble driving in runs against the Commodores at crucial times this past weekend and it hopes to improve in that department at 7 p.m. today when it travels to Springfield, Mo. to face Missouri State.

"Really the frustration of the weekend obviously was not driving in runners," Razorbacks coach Dave Van Horn said. "I mean you go back to (Saturday) night. We score five in one inning, we've got a runner on second and third and one out. (Casey) Coon pops up, we don't score. And (Saturday) night, bases loaded, one out, we strike out or get a groundball.

"It just keeps happening. You keep thinking, ‘Hey, you're going to break loose. I mean, we break loose a little bit, we win both games. And that's what's so disheartening really." The Razorbacks (15-11) had their chances to win both games against Vanderbilt, but failed to capitalize on key opportunities in both contests. Now Arkansas must put last weekend in the past and look ahead.

"It was very tough. I mean, we come out here, play about four innings and then we had to lay over for about two-plus hours (in a rain delay), something like that," said Sean Jones, who made his first start of the season for the Razorbacks over the weekend. "It's very hard for a ballplayer, especially pitchers.

"... You go down, you sit around, you cool off and suddenly you have to come back and warm up and getting again. It's hard on every player, so it's very frustrating to come out here and have such bad weather."

Missouri State figures to give Arkansas another tough midweek challenge. But as far as Van Horn figures, the Bears (17-7) are just what his team needs as it prepares for a crucial SEC showdown with Auburn this weekend.

"It's just like any other game that we have to us," Van Horn said. "It's great competition, it's in a beautiful ballpark and we're going to try to regroup and work out and get ready to go on Tuesday."


Arkansas at Missouri State

WHEN: 7 p.m., today

WHERE: Hammons Field, Springfield, Mo.

RECORDS: Arkansas 15-11; Missouri State 17-7

TV: none

ON THE AIR: KFAY 1030 AM; KURM 790 AM, 100.3 FM; KHGG 1580 AM, 103.1 FM; KXIO 106.9 FM

SERIES: Arkansas leads, 32-18

LAST MEETING: Razorbacks won 16-2 on April 18, 2007 in Springfield, Mo.

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