Absolutely No Satisfaction

University of Arkansas baxeball coach Dave Van Horn makes it clear at his post-season media gathering that he was not pleased at all with the 2008 season and that his returning players need to either be thinking only about making it to Omaha next season or find a new place to play.

FAYETTEVILLE — Dave Van Horn wanted to make something very clear when addressing the media one final time to wrap up another season of Arkansas baseball.

As far as the 2008 season goes, there was very little satisfaction.

"I'm not happy," Van Horn said. "I'm not happy sitting here not getting ready for a super regional and I don't want anybody to think I'm happy and content. And we told the players that. When we got all the older players out of there, that's what the meeting was about.

"If you don't want to go to Omaha, find yourself a new place to play. If you don't want to work hard enough to go to Omaha, then go somewhere else. I think that's what most of the guys in that room wanted to hear. And if anybody got scared, then I don't want them to come back. I just told them fall ball is going to be different. Because mediocre, I'm not happy with it and I can't live with it."

While there was some significant achievements of note in 2008 — including making an NCAA Regional for a seventh-straight year — the overwhelming sense was that the recently completed season wasn't acceptable.

At least not by Van Horn's standards.

Arkansas failed to qualify for the Southeastern Conference Tournament for the first time since 2001. The Razorbacks finished near the bottom of the league in both team batting and pitching. And once in the NCAA Tournament — after surviving the bubble — the Diamond Hogs were quickly bounced, going 0-2 at the Stanford Regional.

Not that all of this came as a surprise to the coaching staff, though. Forced to replace its entire weekend pitching rotation from the season before and hampered by injuries throughout the spring, just making the postseason and finishing near .500 in SEC play could be viewed as quite an accomplishment for this young bunch.

"Realistically, 34 or 35 wins was probably where we thought we could get," Van Horn said. "Maybe a few more if we had some things go our way. But I guess I sit back now that it's been a couple of days and I think about and look at our numbers overall and we were probably fortunate to be where we are."

Still, being lucky enough to pull out another so-so successful season doesn't mean Arkansas intends on staying off the top of the college baseball mountain for long. And the work to get back on top starts today.

As is always the case, the Razorbacks will take their fair share of hits when the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft — beginning today — works itself out. But Van Horn is hopeful that enough will be left over from what he considers one of the top recruiting classes ever at Arkansas.

"We're looking forward to seeing how the draft goes the next couple of days," Van Horn said. "I've projected us to have anywhere from nine to 11 of our signees get drafted in the next couple of days and it might have been a couple of more if they would told the scouts they were signable. So we'll see how that goes and how that trickles down and effects us.

"Naturally we know we're going to lose a few kids, we just hope we don't get devastated with it. We know we just need to keep half of them. And if we keep half of them, the right ones, it's really going to help us the next few seasons."

Besides its five seniors — Casey Coon, Sean Jones, Travis Hill, Aaron Murphree and Jeff Nutt — Arkansas also expects to lose two current players to the draft. Junior third baseman Logan Forsythe and junior pitcher Cliff Springston have already indicated they will not return next season, while both catcher Ryan Cisterna and outfielder Chase Leavitt could be back even if drafted.

"I'm excited about next year's team," Van Horn said. "Coaches, our job is year round and of course we're always thinking about the future. "We've got to survive the draft. We just need the keep the right guys from not signing and we'll get off to a good start next year."



GOING, GOING, GONE?

Arkansas has a number of current players and several recruits who are expected to be drafted over the next couple of days. The question is, how many of those drafted will return to the Razorbacks next season?



Current players

Logan Forsythe, 3B, Jr. — Could be drafted in second or third round, will not return

Cliff Springston, P, Jr. — Possible Top 10-round draft pick, will not return

Ryan Cisterna, C, Jr. — Leaning towards returning unless drafted high

Chase Leavitt, OF, Jr. — Plans on returning

Ben Tschepikow, 2B, Jr. — Expected to either sign pro or leave team to pursue master's degree

Andrew Darr, OF, Jr. — Might leave if signed



Current recruits

Zach Cox, 3B/P, Louisville, Ky. — Baseball America's No. 24-rated college prospect. Could sign for right price, but coaches think this gem of the class might come to school

Bobby Bundy, RHP, Sperry, Okla. — Ranked No. 30 on Baseball America's top prospect list. Another risk who could leave for good money

Tyler Sample, RHP, Elizabeth, Colo. — Hogs hope to have him in the fall

Jared McKinney, OF, Hughes Springs, Texas — No. 70th college prospect by Baseball America is another draft question mark for Arkansas

Austin Wright, LHP, Schaumburg, Ill. — Baseball America has him as the No. 57 top college prospect Seth Gardner, OF, Dallas, Texas — A 6-foot-4 speedster from Highland Park, he should be in Fayetteville this fall.

Jonathan Pearlman, INF, Dallas, Texas — Another Highland Park product expected to make his way to Arkansas

Braden Schlehuber, C, Southern Nevada Community College — Van Horn expects him to join team unless drafted in top five rounds

James McCann, C, Santa Barbara, Calif. — Should come to school and provide much-needed depth behind the plate in 2009



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Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft WHEN: Today and Friday (1-8 p.m. today; 10:30 a.m-conclusion Friday)

ROUNDS: 50

TV: ESPN2, 1-5 p.m. today

NOTABLE: Arkansas had a school-record nine players selected in the 2007 draft. The Razorbacks expect to have between three to six players selected in this year's draft, not counting signed recruits


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