Bahn: Razorbacks Lose Series To South Carolina, Maintain Hope For Late Push

by Chris Bahn  on Monday, May. 7, 2012 7:45 am  

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Beating South Carolina on Sunday and earning a series victory against the two-time defending national champs was going to be proof Arkansas was back. Defeating the Gamecocks was going to give the Razorbacks two consecutive weeks of series victories against Top 5 opponents.

Instead, Arkansas lost 10-7 on Sunday at Baum Stadium and dropped the series to fall further behind the SEC’s elite this season. Rather than adding to the their resume on paper, the Razorbacks added to the loss column.

And Dave Van Horn still came away happy with his team.

Arkansas (34-15, 12-12 SEC) showed enough that the Razorback coach showed little disappointment in the postgame chat with reporters. In fact, Van Horn sounded encouraged as the team prepares for the final two weeks of the regular season.

“I pretty much like everything I saw about this team,” Van Horn said. “It’s a good team. If we weren’t a team before today we are now.”

On an odd day that included an in-game rain storm that effectively broke up a DJ Baxendale shutout and ended with an outfielder pitching and the team’s starting shortstop at catcher — the fourth player behind the plate Sunday — Van Horn’s response might not have been completely off base.

Considering the Razorbacks finished the weekend with 39 hits and 20 runs over three games, they actually felt better about the offense than they have in weeks. It was a marked improvement for a team that struck out 40 times in a series loss against SEC West-leading LSU.

Arkansas collected six runs on seven hits in the opener. Next came 17 hits and seven runs Saturday. Sunday's loss included seven runs on 15 hits. All positives for a Razorback team that has been held back at times because of its offense.

"We’ve turned the corner completely," first baseman Dominic Ficociello said of the team's offense. "It’s just about at the right time."

Ficociello held himself up as proof things were changing. He opened the South Carolina series by batting 0 for 9, but ended with three hits Sunday.

It was enough for the players and coaches to view the weekend as progress.

Van Horn also liked that the team came back for a Saturday victory in the series after opening with a loss. Not only did Arkansas lose Friday, but the Razorbacks blew a 6-0 lead against the Gamecocks. But the coach appreciated the way the team battled back to force a meaningful Sunday finale.



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