OMAHA, Neb. — When the Razorbacks face LSU tonight at Rosenblatt Stadium, they'll encounter the pitcher who experienced the most success against Arkansas this season.
The Tigers will start 6-foot-4 senior right-hander Louis Coleman, who tossed a two-hit shutout in LSU's 5-0 victory May 2 in Fayetteville. Coleman struck out six and walked only one, baffling the Razorbacks with his unorthodox delivery.
"Hitters would probably call (Coleman) filthy, especially the right-handed hitters because of his crossfire action," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "It looks like he's throwing it behind them, and then he locates it away. Very few guys can do that as consistently as he does."
Coleman, who earned the Southeastern Conference pitcher of the year award, throws with what Arkansas sophomore Andy Wilkins called a "funky delivery." The unique way of pitching fooled the Razorbacks the first time around, and Coleman's shutout actually marked the start of Arkansas' eight-game SEC losing streak.
Asked by a reporter if the Hogs were "glad to have another crack at Coleman," Van Horn chuckled and said, "I wouldn't say that." Wilkins had a different take, saying the Hogs couldn't wait to try and avenge their last performance against Coleman (13-2, 2.74).
"Seeing him one time will help," said Wilkins, who is hitting .593 (16-for-27) with four homers and 17 RBI in six NCAA Tournament contests. "Maybe the second time we'll see him, we'll get to send him a message."
The Razorbacks experienced a pretty relaxed Sunday, a day after winning their College World Series-opener 10-6 over Cal State Fullerton. They attended a lakeside cookout courtesy of the Kiwanis Club of Bellevue (Neb.), practiced for about 70 minutes at Bellevue East High and took the rest of the day off.
Their short workout at Bellevue East consisted of stretching, batting practice and running.
"I thought (the day) went good," Van Horn said at the conclusion of Sunday's practice. "We just had a meal with the Kiwanis Club. They were kind enough to provide steak and chicken. It was good. Guys had fun. The guys had ice cream on the way out, and they were begging not to run, but I told them they were still going to run.
"We've done it for the last month or two, so we're not going to change now. It's been a good day. We got them out of the hotel. Just try to stay sharp, not do too much and not wear them out."
Cox Heating Up
Freshman third baseman Zack Cox isn't shying from the fact that he's seeing the ball well these days.
Cox is batting .333 (14-for-42) with six home runs, 12 runs and 14 RBIs in 10 games since the start of the SEC Tournament. Cox has homered in four of Arkansas' last five games.
"I've just been getting a pitch I can hit and getting a hold of it," Cox said. "That's all it is. It's a tough thing to do, but sometimes you're in that rhythm, you're hot and you don't miss those pitches."
Wilkins said he slipped into bed early Saturday night after Arkansas' victory over Cal State Fullerton. Not before watching a bit of surreal TV, though.
He clicked to ESPN SportsCenter before falling asleep around 11 p.m.
"I think I saw myself in an ESPN highlight for the first time," Wilkins said. "I was taking pictures of the TV with my phone. It was a good deal, but it's time to move on. It was cool for like 10 minutes, and then it was like, 'OK, let's move on the next one.'"
Arkansas gets another shot at Coleman
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