Zack Cox and Andy Wilkins have been on beast-like tears in NCAA tournament play. Hence, Wilkins was worried about his freshman star after Saturday's 10-6 Arkansas victory over Cal-Fullerton.
You see, the Razorbacks were looking forward to a nice evening away from baseball -- at the Omaha zoo. Wilkins said the animal keepers might spot Cox and lock him up after some of the beastly blasts Cox has hammered over the last three weeks.
"Yeah, we better keep an eye out for Zack at the zoo," Wilkins said. "They might lock him up."
Cox has hit six home runs in postseason play while breaking the UA record for circuit clouts by a freshman. He's got 13 on the season and is swinging a hot bat after a slow start.
Cox battled a lower back problem early in the year, after suffering an injury over the winter after wearing himself out in the batting cage.
"It was a tough year for him because of his back injury," hitting coach Todd Butler said. "We had to platoon him for awhile. He couldn't play in the field for awhile because he couldn't get in a defensive position.
"But I didn't worry about him because he's got such a great heart. He's got the heart of a winner. He just needed to get some at bats and when he did, I knew he would take off.
"His back bothered him the first two months of the year, but he did his rehab. He's a tremendous worker. Once we found out about it and got him the rehab, it started to get better. But it was a slow process. He's a tremendous worker. He got in the weight room and just was a tireless worker to get that rehab done.
"The back really bothered him defending and to swing the bat. Now, he's rocking and rolling."
On the offensive streaks, Butler said, "I really thought we would have a good offense. I know we did not perform well at times this year. We had that one-month period where we really battled, but knowing percentages, our batting average was so low, and we expected a lot more than that, I just figured it would turn and balance out.
"We've got some young ones in there. Sometimes you have to season the young ones and give them some playing time, let them get comfortable and get some confidence. Then, we got a boost when we put Bo Bigham in the lineup. He didn't play like a freshman. He came in with confidence.
"We play a lot of freshman and we are proud of them. I really felt like they deserved to be in Omaha when the season started. I always did."
Cox and Wilkins have been on post-season tears.
"Those two can change the game," Butler said. "There's one other guy who can do that. I keep waiting for Brett Eibner to bust out. I don't know when that's going to happen, but we need him to go off, too.
"But those two, Wilkins and Cox, are hot.
"This is a good team. It's well assembled. I said that in the fall. I've been recruiting a long time and I felt like all the pieces to the puzzle were here. Maybe we are short one or two players, but we've had a good bullpen, we have good starting pitching, swinging the bats now. I thought Dallas Keuchel pitched well today against an outstanding Cal State-Fullerton hitting team.
"We delivered with some big hits today. We are swinging the bats now. A moving bat is a dangerous bat. When you are not swinging, you can't get hits."
Cox on Beast-like Streak
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