Razorbacks Regroup

OMAHA, Neb. — The wake-up call for the Arkansas Razorbacks came earlier Tuesday morning than any other day during their stay at the Hilton Omaha. Dave Van Horn didn't want them waiting around, stewing about their blowout loss to No. 1 LSU on Monday night in the College World Series.

So Arkansas' coach got the Hogs out of bed and over to Bellevue (Neb.) East High for a late-morning workout. He wanted them to quickly shift their focus to tonight's CWS elimination game against Virginia at Rosenblatt Stadium.

After about an hour of batting practice — with upbeat attitudes from the beginning — Van Horn deemed his Razorbacks free of an LSU hangover.

"I felt like it was good to get them up, get them out of the hotel, and try to get over it and move on," Van Horn said. "That's the way this game works. A lot of times, you don't even have a day off in between.

"We didn't do much (Tuesday). We just stretched and hit. We didn't even really run the bases at the end. But we got their legs underneath them and let them enjoy the rest of the day."

The strategy in Van Horn's mind was this: No. 8 Arkansas (40-23) has thrived throughout its postseason in part because of its loose, no-pressure approach. Facing the end of their season, the Razorbacks couldn't be faulted for feeling anxious about meeting the Cavaliers tonight.

But Tuesday's practice — complete with a high-comedy moment provided by Brett Eibner's home run that smashed a window of a moving van — accomplished Van Horn's goal.

"Everyone's energy was good, and everyone was having a good time," Eibner said. "You just have to forget about it. LSU's a good team, but we've been beating those teams all year. We'll bounce back and come out with some wins."

Van Horn said the Razorbacks "really want a chance to play LSU again," but to advance to a Friday rematch, they must topple young, yet confident Virginia (49-14-1). The Cavaliers remind Van Horn of the Razorbacks in many ways.

Most of all, they're scrappy at the plate, like the Hogs.

"Watching them a couple of games, they're solid," Van Horn said. "They pitch well and throw a lot of strikes. Their hitters are pesky guys. They use the whole field and go the other way well. They don't strike out a lot, and they put a lot of pressure on you. They run and do a lot of stuff on the bases.

"We just have to go out and swing the bats well."

The tone of Tuesday's practice should allow Arkansas to recapture its hitting success, senior Scott Lyons said.

"It was nice to get out here, get back on the field and forget about (Monday) night," Lyons said. "We were having fun, and it was a light practice to get our minds off last night and move on. It was just what we needed."



NCAA COLLEGE WORLD SERIES TICKET

NO. 8 ARKANSAS VS. NO. 5 VIRGINIA

WHEN: 6 p.m.

WHERE: Rosenblatt Stadium, Omaha, Neb.

TV: ESPN2.

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

RECORDS: Arkansas Razorbacks, 40-23; Virginia Cavaliers, 49-14-1

SERIES RECORD: Today will be the first meeting between Arkansas and Virginia.

TONIGHT'S PROBABLE STARTERS: Arkansas, LHP Drew Smyly (3-1, 4.72); Virginia, TBA.

NOTE: Arkansas will be the visiting team.

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