FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said Monday he is still collecting details about freshman pitcher Randall Fant's arrest early that morning for public intoxication.
Fant was arrested by the Washington County Sheriff's Office and booked at 4:14 a.m. Monday just hours after recording the first road win of his career in a 13-3 decision at Mississippi State.
According to a police report, Fant was arrested walking along Highway 16 while attempting to walk home from a party. The arresting officer wrote he had to swerve to avoid hitting Fant.
"I'm disappointed with the whole situation," Van Horn said. "I think he's very immature, he's a freshman and we'll handle it. I'm disappointed it happened. I think sometimes a kid just needs to grow up. I don't know all the details, but I'm getting them."
That was before Fant's second arrest this academic year, however. He was also arrested for driving while intoxicated on Sept. 22, 2009. Van Horn said he hasn't made a decision whether Fant will miss playing time in addition to in-house discipline.
"We'll just wait and see," Van Horn said. "We didn't know we were going to throw Randall Fant until Sunday anyway. Really, Saturday during the game we just felt that was our best option and he threw extremely well after the second inning. He was throwing three pitches for a strike - the fastball, changeup and curveball. He had it going. I'm just going to look at all the details and find out what went on. It's just unfortunate because now the team is stuck in this predicament because of him and his actions. I know he feels really bad about it but it doesn't take it back. I don't know who we'll throw yet; it might be Randall and it might not. I just need to talk to him and his parents and get some things squared away.
"You're always going to have some bumps in the road but you don't want them to be self-inflicted. Sometimes kids need to make better decisions. He'll definitely have to pay the price and he's already doing that."
New Mexico Next
The No. 9 Razorbacks (26-6) return to Baum Stadium this week for the beginning of a six-game homestand. That includes a two-game midweek series with a dangerous New Mexico squad.
The Lobos (21-11) have already recorded series wins on the road at then-No. 1 Texas and USC this season.
"This is a quality team. This is a team that will be in a regional," Van Horn said. "It's a big week for us. Obviously the weekend is what really counts but you want to play well during the week."
New Mexico will enter the game with an extra day's rest having not played since Saturday.
"You always worry as a coach after you go sweep somebody and you're feeling good, then you've got a good nonconference team coming in that has had another day's rest," Van Horn said. "They really want to beat us, I just hope we can respond. I always tell the team you have to take a professional approach and show up every day. Hopefully they will."
Arkansas' pitching will need to come through against a team that averages 11.6 runs per game. The Lobos' first two batters, Justin Howard and Chris Juarez, are each hitting .414 for the season.
To combat that Van Horn said he will start freshman right-hander DJ Baxendale Tuesday night and sophomore left-hander Geoffrey Davenport on Wednesday. Baxendale, the Arkansas closer, will make his first career start. He has struggled in SEC play, with an earned run average of 10.80 in league games.
|Marc F. Henning|
|DJ Baxendale will make his first start Tuesday against New Mexico.|
"We'll do everything we can to win but we're not going to burn out our whole pitching staff to hold them down."
Van Horn said in the preseason Baxendale might factor into the weekend rotation but it hasn't happened that way.
"DJ doesn't like to start," Van Horn said. "He's warmed to coming out of the bullpen and we like him that way."
After New Mexico, the SEC West-leading Razorbacks will turn their attention to Georgia. The first game of that series will start at 6 p.m. Friday night and will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
Collin Kuhn started in three different outfield positions over the weekend, including making his first start of the season Sunday in right field. That could become the sophomore's home, Van Horn said, thanks in large part to the success at the plate of Travis Sample.
"I feel like Sample plays left field better than he plays right field," Van Horn said. "Sample has been incredible."
Sample is hitting .706 in conference play (12-for-17) with four RBIs.
"It's good for him," Van Horn said. "He hung in there when things weren't going his way and he wasn't getting to play. Then he got his shot a second time and he's come through. He's doing what we thought he could do. We got him here because we thought he could hit and he's put it together the last few weeks and really helped us."
Van Horn said he expects injured left-handed pitcher Jason Fuqua (elbow) to possibly return by next weekend's series at No. 7 Florida…Shortstop Matt Reynolds (shin) could return this week from a stress reaction that has forced him to miss the last two weeks…First baseman Andy Wilkins (hamstring) is nearing 100 percent and was able to play twice in the field over the weekend at Mississippi State…Outfielder Jarrod McKinney (ACL) will undergo surgery for his season-ending knee injury as soon as the swelling goes down, probably within the next 10 days, Van Horn said.