Q. Our first question is from Hawgredneck who wants to know: Did DVH screw up by taking Zack Morris out after the 7th in game 2 against Vanderbilt? The kid had pitched 3 innings of no hit baseball in relief of Tygart…
…..What happened next was a disaster with the Commodores scoring 8 runs off Adcock, Wood & Coil. Cost the Hogs an outright SEC title.
A. I think his decision was was based on two things. One, when he’s pitched well this season he’s generally gone no more than three innings. He went two innings against Lipscomb. Didn’t give up a hit. Went three against Mississippi State with no hits and three against Vandy with no hits. You have to go all the way back to the A&M game at the end of April to find Morris giving up a hit or some runs. So DVH clearly knows how well Morris is pitching right now and he didn’t want to push it and get him out of his comfort zone. So he went with Gage Wood who had been really had been solid over the past several weeks. He had no reason to believe Wood would struggle but he did. Then Adcock came in and he struggled. Finally Van Horn went to Parker Coil who had enjoyed some success lately closing games and Coil gave up a three-run home run to lose the lead and the game. Stuff like that happens in baseball.
Q. Sgiles continues with more second guessing. The question: What do you think about Van Horn admitting once he knew Arkansas had earned a share of the SEC Championship he played it safe and took Will McEntire out of Saturday’s game after the fifth inning? …..
….Do you play it safe when you have a chance to win the title outright?
A. You play it safe when you have a shared title wrapped up and bigger goal is out there. The NCAA Fayetteville Regional and Super Regional. DVH said he sees McEntire pitching twice on a weekend from here on out. He was up over 80 pitches. You don’t want to do anything to cause McEntire issues in the postseason.
Q. mousetown says: A buddy is trying to convince me that Friday’s Eighth inning meltdown in Nashville was just like the dropped foul ball in Omaha in 2018 and Van Horn is jinxed. I say that’s stupid. What say you?
A. It’s definitely an overreaction. You cannot compare a conference title to a national championship. Arkansas has won several of conference championships in baseball going all the way back to the SWC days. Arkansas has never won a national title. Blowing that big lead against Vandy was annoying. Losing that game to Oregon State was heartbreaking.
Q. Armon Abbe says: I keep hearing that the SEC Tournament is no big deal for the Hogs. That’s dumb. They don’t need to win it but they need to get some issues straightened out this week. Am I right?
A. You are 100% correct and DVH actually explained the issues he wants straightened out. He wants to get his freshmen pitchers going again starting with Christian Foutch who he says has good stuff. Just needs some work. Gage Wood has to recover from that bad weekend vs. Vandy. The same thing with Parker Coil. Ben Bybee, another freshmen, will also get work in the SEC Tournament.
We will see fewer innings from Hagan Smith, Brady Tygart, Hunter Hollan, Will McEntire and Zack Morris and more innings from those freshmen pitchers plus Cody Adcock.
At the plate DVH wants Jace Bohrofen and Kendall Diggs to get a lot of at bats. They need to pick it up. Also Tavian Josenberger and Jared Wegner, who are coming off of injuries, need to get going at the plate.
Ben McGlaughlin, who came out of the lineup when Wegner returned, will play in the SEC Tournament. He’s too good a hitter to sit in the dugout. He may pitch hit or he could be inserted into a specific game based on who is pitching for the opponent.
Finally, Peyton Holt, who is killing it at the plate, maybe move up in the batting order from the seven hole to the three hole.
All of these things are a priority in Hoover. As DVH said, we’re going to try to win every game but we’re going to mix some thing up to get us ready for NCAA play next week.
Q. Thomas H. Hobbs want to know: Are you as worried about Gage Wood as I am? He was rolling before the Vandy Series but DVH said his velocity was down and he had control problems. I’m spooked by all these injuries.
A. There’s no injury but DVH was asked if maybe Wood had hit a wall and that he has pitched too much for a freshmen. He said no, Wood has actually been pitching less lately. I went back and looked. Wood threw 34 pitches in two games against Vandy, 59 pitches against South Carolina, 58 against Mississippi State, 39 against A&M, 52 against Georgia and 60 against Tennessee.
Those aren’t abnormal numbers for a relief pitcher, even a freshmen.
DVH attributed Wood’s struggles against Vandy to nerves. He came in twice with an outright SEC title on the line. That is pressure for a freshman.
Q. Van Horn Fan on youtube says: I know you don’t like those dugout interviews with players and coaches during SEC baseball games. I hate that stuff but a lot of people like it. What, are they idiots?
A. No, they are people like my wife who will read a book while watching TV while checking messages on her call phone. Look I get multi tasking but when I’m watching a game I don’t want interviews droning on as a distraction. You want to do an interview, do it between innings or ask a couple of quick questions and get it over with before the next inning starts.
It’s not only annoying to me, I think it’s rude to expect the coaches to do that. Can you Imagine Nick Saban doing an interview while the games is going on? Why is it okay with baseball?
It’s not. It’s a stupid ESPN thing.
It also can be a jinx.
Q. @newman rw12. says: Since everything is being restructured next year due to Texas and Oklahoma joining the SEC, why not give the top 6 SEC teams rated by D1 Baseball a bye for the tournament?
….The top teams have already secured their national seeds. Then let the other 10 teams go ahead and have the SEC Tournament in Hoover so they can try and improve their national seeding. Ur thoughts?
A. I would be fine with that but the SEC office is in Birmingham just a few miles from Hoover and that Tournament is their baby. Taking the top six teams out of it would kill attendance so it’s not going to happen.
Q. Timteno says: I recently went to a Razorback Baseball game… do you happen to know why Baum Walker is one of the only stadiums in the world without cupholders?
A. First of all it’s not one of the only stadiums in the world without cupholders. Frank Broyles went all over the country looking at other college stadiums when he came up with the plans for Baum Stadium in 1995. I can only guess that cupholders weren’t a big thing back then. Also his goal was to get as many seats as possible into the seating bowl so there is no extra space there. Trying to retro fit cupholders into the existing seats would be a nightmare.
I am told that when the current seats are replaced cupholders will be added. But that might not be for a long time.
Q. jbcarol asks: Do you think Pig Trail Nation is getting comfortable with the reality of a majority of Hog basketball players staying for one season and moving onto their next destination…..
…..while also getting excited about consistently making the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament with hopes of a Final Four appearance? Kentucky fans have endured this for over a decade though the NCAA advancement has seemed to peter out.
A. Arkansas fans have complained about one-and-done players, especially after this past season, but the number one name that’s being mentioned by Arkansas basketball fans on social media right now is Ron Holland who is absolutely another one-and-done. Yet many Arkansas fans are crossing their fingers until Holland makes his announcement.
So yeah, Arkansas fan love one-and-done basketball players regardless of what they say in anger.
Q. Slobberslob says: I hate that Quincey Macadoo is laid up like this and praying for a speedy and full recovery. That kid has a bright future.
A. We said last week that it seemed like a stretch for him to play this fall. After an update from his family Sam Pittman himself indicated that getting McAdoo back this season is not likely to happen.
He’s making progress. Considering how serious that accident was he’s lucky. Now he need to take it one step at a time and not rush himself back to into competition.
Q. @zeldafan1942 says: Do you think the coaching staff for our Football team is still trying to recruit scholarship players for the upcoming fall and if not ,do you think someone we already have will earn a scholarship?
….I’m especially concerned about this upcoming season. I really hope that is not true three or four years from now!
A. Based on what I’m seeing, this year Pittman is going to fill what’s left of Arkansas’ football scholarships with portal transfers. There might be one or two that end up going to a walk on but he’s got a wish list and he wants that list filled.
The reality is that unless or until the portal situation is altered coaches would be crazy not to take advantage of all the transfers that are out there.
This doesn’t mean the end of walk-on’s getting scholarships but
it will happen mostly with recruited, preferred walk-on’s and not handing out three of four of them to a practice player every year when a team drops below the 85 limit.
Q. Andrew Landry says: I heard you say on the radio that coaches and players in women’s sports are under less pressure than coaches in men’s sports. Why is that?
A. I wasn’t referring to the kind of internal pressure that all coaches and players place on themselves. I was referring to pressure from fans on social media.
I haven’t done a survey but from observation I think that fans of collegiate women’s sports tend to be a little older, maybe more mature. There are clearly exceptions but as a whole they don’t seem to go as nuts as what we see with men’s football, basketball and baseball.
If you go to some of the comments on our Pig Trail Nation Facebook site, which for men’s sports tends to get a little crazy, you will find some calm, rational comments over Arkansas exit from its own softball regional. It’s been a disappointing season but I haven’t sensed an anger about that. It’s more like, keep recruiting, use the portal and get it next year, coach Deifel.
Q. Eddy Lynn says: I saw on Twitter where you said that the biggest SEC moment for you was Matt Jones outdueling Eli Manning in seven overtimes in Oxford. There are tons of great moments. That’s a good one but why is that number one for you?
A. That was the first time we saw Jones in one of his, “you can’t beat me,” modes. He was a freshman who had only been starting for a few games. He was on the road, in front of a hostile crowd and going up against a future all pro QB in ELI Manning. Plus it was Ole Miss. There are few things better than sending a stadium full of Ole Miss fans home unhappy.