"It was quiet as we walked to the bus, quiet when we got on the bus and quiet on the plane trip home," Van Horn said. "We didn't play bad. But we didn't play good. We competed hard. But it gets frustrating when you lose all three like we did."
Van Horn said he tried to loosen things up at an early practice Monday. The pitchers were playing a series of three-inning games ... with the pitchers hitting.
"We are just trying to get everyone to relax," Van Horn said. "I think we still are in it (as far as playing host to a regional) but we'd like to win some games and not have to back into it.
"I know we are a good team. We are good but we haven't had any good breaks lately and haven't gotten the big hits like we did earlier in the year.
"We've played great competition and we've been right there. I know our league is good. I know that when our name pops up on a bracket, there will be moans from the other teams in that bracket."
Van Horn called Alabama maybe the best hitting team in the nation and he noted that the Hogs may copy what he thinks is a strategy for attracting top hitters -- a small ballpark.
"That's a band box over there," Van Horn said. "Other teams have shortened the fences a little and we may try to do that. Tennessee didn't move the fences. They just moved home plate out 15 feet. You can do that, or you can alter your park, move in the fences in the alleys.
"I know we are recruiting against Alabama for a hitter in Texas. I know what Alabama is telling him ... look at the size of their park and ours. Where do you want to play? So it's something we are thinking about doing and we've been talking about it for a couple of years.
"In our park and you are a lefthanded hitter, you know the wind is going to be blowing in most of the time. So we could alter our park and change that somewhat, move the fence in in right or in the alleys."
The Hogs will start Drew Smyly in their Tuesday night game with Oral Roberts, the last nonconference game in the regular season. They will host Ole Miss in the final SEC series starting Thursday. Game time for Tuesday, Thursday and Friday is 6:30 p.m. Game time for Saturday is 2 p.m. A fireworks celebration is set for Friday night.
"Our better days are ahead," Van Horn said. "You look at our box scores and see all of these 1-run wins and losses -- and you look at my hair, I'm surprised it's not all completely white.
"We haven't hammered anyone and we haven't gotten hammered. We just have a solid baseball team. We haven't had some guys have the type year we thought they would have, especially some of the older guys.
"We told them today and ripped the stats right in half. We tore them up. We told them it's not about stats. It's all about starting tomorrow. It doesn't matter if you have 42 wins. It's all about what happens from here on out.
"We will be in a regional. I'll be shocked if we are not. I told them I still want to earn it. I want to win some games this weekend. Our RPI is sitting 16th and it will go up if we win some games. It could go to 11 or 12 or higher. It's not going to go down if we win a couple of games ... we win three or four games ... all of a sudden we will be 9th, 10th or 11th."
First things first, Van Horn wants a victory over ORU.
"They have a solid team," he said. "It was a good game over there last time we played. We jumped on them early and then had to just hold on (for a 9-6 triumph).
"They have 26 wins against 12 losses and they are used to winning. It will be a big game for both ball clubs. We have to find a way to finish games."
Van Horn was asked in a media session afterward about frustration.
"It's a fact," he said. "It is frustration. You don't lose six one-run games in the last couple of weeks and not feel some frustration.
"If we flip flop three of those games we are right there talking about championship right now. Yeah, there's frustration. The only way to change that is to go out and play well and get some wins.
"It's big down the stretch to play well and earn our spot in the (NCAA) tournament.
"We need to relax. They are as frustrated as they can be with what's gone on last five conference games. They need to go have fun, work on a few things and get better and then come out with a positive frame of mind tomorrow."
On the possibility of the fences changing, Van Horn said, "There are five or six schools that have made some adjustments. Tennessee took home out 15 feet. It might help us a little bit."