Arkansas Quickly Shifts Focus To Florida Stat

FAYETTEVILLE — The first indication was the absence of a dog pile after Arkansas sealed up the NCAA Norman (Okla.) Regional championship Sunday night.

The second clue came Monday morning, as the Hogs bused back to Fayetteville, ignoring the reading material chronicling their 11-0 victory over No. 9 Oklahoma.

These were the actions of an unsatisfied group, and Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn raved Monday afternoon about his team's eagerness to focus on No. 10 Florida State. The Razorbacks learned late Monday night they'd be traveling this weekend to Tallahassee, Fla., for their first Super Regional since 2004.

Arkansas and Florida State will start their best-of-three series at 11 a.m. Friday in Dick Howser Stadium.

"They know we haven't made it to where we're trying to get," Van Horn said, referring to the College World Series. "I think they were starting to focus on the ride home with guys talking about this weekend coming up. We had a couple of newspapers on the bus that had articles about (Sunday) night's game, and I didn't see anybody reading them.

"It was like they didn't really care, and that's a good sign."

After their bus finally pulled into the Baum Stadium parking lot at about 1:45 p.m. Monday, the Razorbacks spoke with the media and barely discussed their Norman Regional wins. That doesn't mean there wasn't any celebrating Sunday night upon returning to their Oklahoma City hotel.

Claiming three regional games by a combined score of 38-9 earned the Hogs some revelry, of course. Senior second baseman Ben Tschepikow said the half-hour bus ride up Interstate 35 to Arkansas' hotel "was so awesome."

"Winning a regional was amazing," Tschepikow said. "It's the first time we've won a regional in the five years I've been here. But we're definitely not content. We've had one major goal in mind this whole season. We want to get to Omaha (Neb.). We're just two wins away. It doesn't seem like it's that far, but it is that far."

Arkansas' first-year players savored the moment just as much as its veterans while also realizing the need to keep the long-term goal in mind.

"Until the clock hit midnight, it was exciting and there was quite a bit of partying," freshman catcher James McCann said. "But as soon as that clock hit midnight, it was a new day. Just like that, we were ready to look forward and work as hard as we can to get ready for Florida State."

Those preparations began soon after Arkansas returned Monday to Northwest Arkansas. The Razorbacks rested for a few hours before hitting the weight room and participating in conditioning drills — the same Monday schedule as last week.

Arkansas will practice at 11 a.m. today in Baum Stadium, all thoughts centered on the future.

"We're just two wins away," Tschepikow said. "It doesn't seem like it's that far away from us, but it is that far. We have to have a great week of practice. That's all we're thinking about."

Postseason Ticket

NCAA Super Regional

Arkansas at No. 10 Florida State

WHEN: Friday-Sunday; all games at 11 a.m.

WHERE: Dick Howser Stadium, Tallahassee, Fla.

TV: ESPN (Friday, Sunday); ESPN2 (Saturday).

ON THE AIR: KFAY-AM 1030; KURM-AM 790, FM 100.3; FM 103.1; KYNG-AM 1590; KHGG-AM 1580.

RECORDS: Arkansas Razorbacks, 37-22; Florida State Seminoles, 45-16.

SERIES RECORD: Arkansas leads 3-0.

LAST MEETING: Arkansas won 7-5 and 4-2 on June 11-12, 2004, in the Fayetteville Super Regional to advance to the College World Series.

FRIDAY'S OR SATURDAY'S PROBABLE STARTERS: Arkansas, LHP Dallas Keuchel (7-3, 4.12); Florida State, LHP Sean Gilmartin (12-3, 3.48).


All in NCAA Tournament play

Winner Score Site Date

Arkansas 4-2 Fayetteville June 12, 2004

Arkansas 7-5 Fayetteville June 11, 2004

Arkansas 7-6 Tallahassee, Fla. May 25, 1985

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