Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy, Biletnikoff Award and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt was awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2000 and 2015.
SEC Baseball Report:
Arkansas wraps up long trip
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn watches from the dugout during a SEC Tournament game against LSU on Saturday, May 24, 2014 at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Ala.
HOOVER, Ala. -- After 11 days on the road, the Arkansas Razorbacks finally headed home Saturday after being eliminated from the SEC Tournament in an 11-1 loss to LSU.
"We'll get in about 1 or 2 in the morning," Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said. "I figure my dogs will bark at me because they won't know who I am."
Arkansas has been on the road since May 14, when the Razorbacks traveled to Columbia, Mo., for a series at Missouri to end the regular season. The Razorbacks flew on a chartered plane from Columbia to Hoover and took a bus home Saturday.
"Obviously we wish we were still playing, but we've been gone a long time," Van Horn said of today's SEC Tournament championship game. "It will be good to get home."
Including the Missouri series, the Razorbacks played eight games in 10 days with five in a row in the heat of the day in Hoover.
Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said junior left-hander Jalen Beeks (5-4, 2.11 ERA), the Razorbacks No. 2 SEC starter most of the season, remains questionable for a regional after being held out the past three weeks because of elbow soreness.
"We don't know what Beeks' status is yet," Van Horn said. "We might not know until Wednesday or Thursday if he's going to be available to start or come out of the bullpen or even pitch in a regional."
Van Horn said Blake Baxendale, a designated hitter and backup catcher who hasn't played since injuring a hamstring at Ole Miss on May 4, is doubtful for a regional.
"He hasn't swung a bat since he hurt his leg," Van Horn said. "He really hasn't really done anything except get treatment."
Van Horn said catcher Jake Wise, who missed the SEC Tournament because of a hand injury, is questionable for the regional as well.
Van Horn held third baseman Bobby Wernes (back) and outfielder Andrew Benintendi (quad) out of Saturday's game, but he said both could have played. They sat out as a precaution.
Arkansas catcher Alex Gosser hit a pop-up in the second inning that LSU third baseman Christian Ibarra lost in the sun. The ball hit Ibarra on the forehead, then bounced to shortstop Alex Bregman, who made a hustling catch.
“Of course I was concerned, but once I was confident Christian was OK we had a chuckle or two about it,” LSU Coach Paul Maineri said. “I told him ‘we probably need to take an X-ray of your head but I don’t think we’ll find anything.’
“Fortunately for us, he has a nice flat forehead, so when it hit him it bounced straight up. I said, ‘It’s amazing the lengths some kids will go to in order to get themselves on SportsCenter.’ “
Ibarra was sporting a red mark on his forehead where the ball hit him but said he wasn’t concerned about it.
“I’m pretty used to getting hit everywhere on my body,” he said. “Doesn’t really matter to me.”
LSU hit three home runs Saturday, but it could have been four.
Razorbacks left fielder Joe Serrano made a leaping catch and reached above the wall to take away a home run from Tigers shortstop Alex Bregman in the sixth inning.
"I wasn't very happy about it, quite frankly," Tigers Coach Paul Mainieri said when asked what he thought of the catch. "I was hoping it would be a two-run homer, but Serrano's a good player and he made a good hustle play."
Eagan stays hot
Arkansas freshman Clark Eagan has been everything a coach could want in a leadoff hitter since becoming a regular in the lineup because of Blake Baxendale's hamstring injury.
Eagan is batting .385 (15 of 39) in the Razorbacks' past 11 games with 11 runs and 7 RBI. He has a .511 on-base percentage in that span, which includes seven walks and twice being hit by pitches.
"I've just been trying to get a quality at-bat every time," said Eagan, who went 2 for 4 Saturday to extend his hitting streak to nine games.
Kyle Bouman's second start against Arkansas turned out a lot better for him than his first.
The LSU junior left-hander lasted one inning and gave up a grand slam to Blake Baxendale in the Razorbacks' 10-4 victory April 13 at Baton Rouge.
Bouman held the Razorbacks hitless for five innings Saturday and allowed 2 hits and 1 run over 6 innings.
Alex Gosser lead off the sixth inning with a single to break up Bouman's no-hitter, and Micheal Bernal walked and Clark Eagan singled to load the bases with no outs, but the Razorbacks scored just one run on Eric Fisher's two-out walk.
"Kyle Bouman was the story of the game for me," LSU Coach Paul Mainieri said. "When he finally got in some trouble and they loaded the bases with no outs, we gave him the opportunity to pitch out if and he did. He really beared down and made some good pitches."
Sports on 05/25/2014