Smyly Not Worried About Layoff

OMAHA, Neb. - Arkansas' starting pitcher tonight against Virginia, freshman left-hander Drew Smyly, hasn't pitched yet in the month of June. Smyly silenced the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman, Okla., on May 31, sealing the Razorbacks' berth in the Super Regionals.

He came two outs from tossing a no-hitter that evening, but the Hogs haven't needed Smyly's services since his best career start. The Little Rock Central High graduate said Tuesday that he wasn't concerned about going 16 days without throwing in a game.

"I might be a little rusty at the very beginning," said Smyly, 3-1 with a 4.72 earned run average. "But I've thrown so many bullpens that I haven't really thought about not pitching for two weeks. I'm not really worried about it. I just need to locate and hit my spots, and let my defense do the work."

Smyly said he'd benefit from already watching the Razorbacks play two games at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha. He's used to the atmosphere now; nothing will surprise him as he tries to help Arkansas eliminate the Cavaliers from the College World Series.

Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said he didn't expect a letdown from Smyly, who recovered from a midseason slump in which he didn't pitch out of the first inning three times. After all, Van Horn said, Smyly had thrown only 4 2/3 innings in the previous 19 days before humbling Oklahoma, the NCAA Tournament's No. 7 national seed.

"When he threw the outstanding ballgame at OU, he hadn't thrown for a while," Van Horn said. "He had some good rest. If he'll just feed off the experience there and the confidence that he gained by throwing in the regional, he should be alright. I really believe Drew will give us a good outing."

Smyly won't only be battling rust, though. He'll be dealing with personal grief, as well. Smyly's grandfather died last week.

That has bothered Smyly the last few days, especially considering how much his grandfather cared about Arkansas getting to Omaha.

"He was real excited for us to make it here," Smyly said.

Eibner Shatters Window

Tuesday's practice at Bellevue (Neb.) East High ended with smiles and laughter. The reason: Brett Eibner's 400-foot bomb over the left field fence that smashed the window of a moving van.

Eibner lofted a towering fly to left, not thinking anything about it at first.

"I hit it and knew it was gone," the sophomore outfielder and pitcher said. "And then (hitting coach Todd) Butler started yelling about something. I don't remember what he said. I looked up and it was right on top of the van and smoked it. Broke the window."

Van Horn chuckled when asked about the incident by reporters.

"We've broken one out here before, and I know that's the third one that's happened at this ballpark already," Van Horn said. "Just bad timing on his part."

Jim Fern, a Bellevue resident retired from the Air Force, wasn't laughing, however. He slammed on the brakes, turned the van around and walked onto the Bellevue East field, curious as to who would pay for the damages. An Arkansas official gave Fern a contact number for another official at the university.

Smyly even joked if Eibner felt threatened when Fern showed up.

"It is pretty funny, but I feel bad for the guy," Eibner said. "Hopefully he'll get a ball out of it or something. He looked kind of mad. I heard some Cal State Fullerton guy (Jared Clark) hit a car and signed a ball for the guy and took a picture with him. But this guy took it pretty harsh."

Caught On Camera

ESPN caught the audio of Van Horn arguing first base umpire Darrin Staley's controversial call on Chase Leavitt at first to end the fourth inning of Monday's game.

Van Horn's exchange with Staley was replayed Monday night and Tuesday morning on SportsCenter. Van Horn evidently just couldn't believe Staley made the correct decision.

"You missed it, didn't you?" Van Horn sternly shouted after running toward Staley in short right field. "You missed it. Just tell me you missed it."

Staley, finally getting a few words in, was evasive.

"I'm not going to go there with you, Dave," Staley told Van Horn.

Van Horn said Tuesday that he knew the conversation would go public.

"I knew that he had a mike on, and that's why I kept it real clean," Van Horn said with a laugh. "You know I haven't gotten thrown out of a game all year, don't you? First time ever. He missed (the call). You could tell. I had to run 50 yards just to talk to him, so I had to get something in."

Van Horn also said he felt bad for the situation in which dugout reporter Erin Andrews found herself, having to interview him on ESPN's broadcast mere seconds after he argued with Staley.

"The first thing she said was, ‘I'm really sorry, Coach, that I have to talk to you right now. He did miss the call. We just watched it,'" Van Horn said. "And I said, ‘I know he missed the call.'"

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