As the wintry weather took the weekend off, and the Razorbacks' fans toted their coolers filled with cold ones onto the lawn in left field, there was a palpable excitement that baseball was finally here. It was the start of one of, if not the most anticipated season for the Razorbacks in history. Dave Van Horn's fourth ranked diamond Hogs completed a three game sweep of the Villanova Wildcat, in what turned out to be a weekend-long beatdown of elephantine proportions. The Hogs won the first three games of the year 11-5, 13-1, and 17-1. At no point in Villanova's rambling, incoherent play were they even close to anything that could be considered athletic. Everyone in this stadium is now dumber for having watched them play. I award them no points, and may God have mercy on their soul.
Game 1: If the first inning of the season was any indication of how the rest of the season would go, the Razorbacks can go ahead and book their tickets to Omaha. After preseason all-Almerican pitcher, DJ Baxendale, forced three flyouts to the first three batters he faced, the Hogs put up a 6 pack in the bottom of the first. Baxendale would continue to tear through the Cats' hitters, going 5 complete innings, while allowing no runs on 4 hits, with 1 walk and 3 strikeouts. Nine Razorbacks came up with hits and three of those had multi-hit games (Reynolds, Morris, Carver). Jacob Morris hit the team's first homer of the season in the bottom of the fourth, when he got all of one and sent it over the left field wall, where the drunks sit. The Wildcats only put up 5 runs in the whole game, and 4 of them came on one swing of the bat, a Grand Slam in the top of the 7th by Matt Fleishman off Mark Reyes. The almost 6,500 in attendance at Baum Stadium were pleased.
Game 2: Pitching and defense were not necessary for the Hogs in this one, as they hung 13 on Villanova. The way the Hogs baseball team treated 'Nova pitcher Pat Young may have inspired the Florida Gators' basketball Pat Young and his club to throttle the Razorbacks at Bud Walton shortly after the baseball game ended. 'Nova's Young got shelled for five earned runs (allowed 8 total) in just 3 innings of work. The Hogs scored 6 in the second inning after being shut out in the first. Sam Bates was the star for the Hogs' offense as he had three hits that drove in five runs, including a three run blast in the sixth inning. Eight Razorbacks had hits, and four had multi-hit games. Ryne Stanek made pretty easy work of the Wildcats, allowing just 1 run on 2 hits in 4 innings of work. He also struck out 4 and walked 3.
Game 3: The early-game success continued for the Hogs on Sunday as the Hogs scored 4 runs in the first inning, including a two-run homer from the Man of the Weekend over the center field wall. The Razorbacks scored at least one run in each of the first five innings, including 6 in the 4th. Arkansas pitcher Barrett Astin earned SEC Pitcher of the Week honors for his 5 no-hit innings, and striking out 7 of the 19 batters he faced. Villanova pitcher Max Almonte (unsure of any relation to Danny Almonte, definitely less skill) was rocked for 6 earned runs in just 2 innings. As if losing by a combined score of 41-7 wasn't enough, the game was called early (8th inning) because Villanova had to be home by "curfew." It is an NCAA rule so teams can travel more efficiently, but the term "curfew" makes them sound like prepubescents who have to be home by 10 o'clock. Haven't the heard of the three-way-calling technique??
Big Man on Campus:Sam Bates, after he put up an All-American type 3 game stat line:
|9 AB||5 H||3 R||0 BB||.556 Avg||9 RBI||1 2B||2 HR||0 SB|