Van Horn nears UA milestone

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Friday, February 23, 2018
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn watches from the dugout against Alcorn State Wednesday, March 15, 2017, during the fourth inning at Baum Stadium.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn watches from the dugout against Alcorn State Wednesday, March 15, 2017, during the fourth inning at Baum Stadium.

FAYETTEVILLE -- The No. 6-ranked Arkansas baseball team will aim to extend its season-opening hot streak and deliver Coach Dave Van Horn's 600th victory with the Hogs as they open play today in the Tony Gwynn Legacy tournament in San Diego.

The Razorbacks (4-0) play Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (1-3) at 3 p.m. Central at Tony Gwynn Stadium on the campus of San Diego State.

The 411 on 1-0

Arkansas has a 7-5 record in 1-0 games under Coach Dave Van Horn, including Wednesday’s late game against Arizona. A look at the 1-0 decisions for Arkansas since 2003.



Won;4/22/16;at Kentucky

Lost;3/15/15;at Vanderbilt


Lost;3/15/14;at Florida

Won;5/17/13;at Auburn

Won;6/11/12;at Baylor*


Lost;4/21/12;at Ole Miss


Lost;5/7/04;at Ole Miss

Lost;5/9/03;at Tennessee

  • NCAA Waco Super Regional

NCAA Houston Regional

The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville will send ace right-hander Blaine Knight (1-0, 0.00 ERA) to the mound against right-hander Michael Clark (0-0, 5.40).

"From what I know, it's an older team and they can swing it from what I've heard," Knight said of the Mustangs. "I don't really know what my pitch limit is going to be. I just know my arm feels good and my body feels good and I'm going to go as long as I can or as long they want me to."

The Razorbacks edged Arizona 1-0 late Wednesday behind six strong innings from Kacey Murphy and freshman Heston Kjerstand's fifth-inning home run.

"The experience of last night's game was big for the young players," Van Horn said. "We talked about it after the game, that it felt like a Friday night game, almost a postsesason-type game as far as the two teams on the field."

Kjerstad, who is 7 of 12 (.583) with three extra-base hits and a .706 on-base percentage, provided the only run with a 400-foot shot off left-hander Randy Labaut just over the wall in left-center field.

"It's one of those swings to where you don't even feel the ball impact the bat," Kjerstad said. "You just get to watch the ball rise out of the stadium."

Van Horn, in his 16th season at his alma mater, has a career record of 1185-583 and a 599-343 mark with the Razorbacks.

Arkansas had gone a combined 1-7 in trips to Arizona and California in 2013 and 2014. Now the Razorbacks are trying to win tournament games with a top-1o ranking. They are scheduled to face tourney hosts San Diego State (3-1) and the University of San Diego (4-2) on Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at noon, respectively. The Sunday game will be played at the Toreros' Fowler Park.

Right-hander Isaiah Campbell (1-0, 2.25 ERA) is slated to start against the Aztecs on Saturday, and Van Horn is leaving his options open for the Sunday start.

"I feel good about getting Knight back out there and getting Campbell back out there," Van Horn said. "I think both of those kids would tell you that they didn't throw as well as they felt like they should have in their first outing. I just hope they make another jump and just gain some confidence and give us a chance to win the ball games.

"Sunday we're just going to go with the best available. We'll see how the next two games go. More than anything, we're just going to have everybody available. We're not going to save anybody for Sunday that might help us win one of these next couple of games. We'll just do what we've got to do to try to win."

Clark, a 6-0 junior, pitched five innings of last week's opener against Gonzaga and allowed 8 hits and 2 walks and struck out 3.

The Mustangs have dropped three games in a row since rallying for an 8-7 victory over Gonzaga in their season opener on Feb. 16 in Surprise, Ariz. Cal Poly scored five unearned runs in the ninth inning of that game to force extra innings and won it in the 10th on Scott Ogrin's two-out home run.

Cal Poly's top hitters are Nick Meyer (.429), Tate Samuelson (.313) and Alex McKenna (.286). The Mustangs are hitting .259, allowing a .333 batting average, and have a 5.75 team ERA.

San Diego State, which plays Arizona tonight, is scheduled to start right-hander Harrison Pyatt (0-0, 4.15) against the Hogs. Hyatt threw 71 pitches in 4 1/3 innings is his season debut Saturday, allowing 2 earned runs on 2 hits and a walk in an 8-4 victory over California, Santa Barbara.

Sports on 02/23/2018


Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.