Razorbacks baseball report:

Van Horn: Confident in pitcher

By: Bob Holt , Tom Murphy
Published: Friday, June 8, 2018
Arkansas pitcher Isaiah Campbell reacts after loading the bases during an NCAA Tournament game against Dallas Baptist on Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Fayetteville.
Photo by J.T. Wampler
Arkansas pitcher Isaiah Campbell reacts after loading the bases during an NCAA Tournament game against Dallas Baptist on Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas Razorbacks Coach Dave Van Horn said he has confidence in pitcher Isaiah Campbell after pulling him three batters into Sunday's 4-3 victory over Dallas Baptist. The right-hander will start this weekend, Van Horn said, if the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville's super regional goes to a third game against South Carolina.

Van Horn said Campbell pitched to hitters Monday and looked good.

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"We all have confidence in Isaiah," Van Horn said. "I think when he gets back out on the hill, he'll do a great job."

Campbell, a redshirt sophomore, has looked good in some starts this season, including a 3-0 victory over South Carolina on April 14 when he held the Gamecocks to 2 hits and 1 walk in 5 innings. He also has had four starts in which he went two or fewer innings.

Van Horn put in Jake Reindl against Dallas Baptist when Campbell allowed two walks and a hit to load the bases with no outs.

"Isaiah just didn't command the fastball whatsoever," Van Horn said that night. "Just had to make a quick decision ... The reason we took him out, we just went off of history, and what we had seen a little bit. Sometimes you either have it or you don't. And it just didn't seem like Isaiah had it."

Van Horn said he hopes Campbell -- who was drafted in the 24th round by the Los Angeles Angels -- will return to Arkansas next season.

Campbell could be the Razorbacks' No. 1 starter with Blaine Knight and Kacey Murphy expected to sign after being drafted by Baltimore and Detroit, respectively.

"We feel like [Campbell] is going to come back unless there's something really financial that he can't pass up," Van Horn said. "But as of right now every indication is he's planning on coming back."

Omaha again?

If Arkansas beats South Carolina to win the super regional it will be the seventh time Dave Van Horn has led a team to the College World Series.

Arkansas' trips to the CWS in Omaha, Neb., under Van Horn came in 2004, 2009, 2012 and 2015. He led Nebraska there in 2001 and 2002 before taking the Arkansas job.

Van Horn said he's trying to focus on South Carolina, not what winning the series will mean.

"You just have to try to stay the course and practice each day and not think about next week," he said. "You've got to get through Saturday and Sunday and maybe again on Monday.

"That's the message I pass along to the team. You can't think about it. You've just got to go play and try to win what's in front of you and go from there."

Seven spots

Sophomores Dominic Fletcher and Evan Lee and freshman Heston Kjerstad lead the team by batting in seven different places in the batting order. Fletcher and Kjerstad have both batted in every position between second and eighth, while Lee has started at leadoff (2 games), third (1), fourth (1), fifth (3), sixth (4), seventh (2) and eighth (1).

Fletcher has started the bulk of the games -- 26 -- in the fifth spot, but has also hit second (6 games), third (4), fourth (2), sixth (10), seventh (9) and eighth (1). Kjerstad has 21 starts batting third, second only to freshman Casey Martin (24), and has hit second (2 games), fourth (16), fifth (12), sixth (2), seventh (6) and eighth (1).

Yankee funds

Arkansas signee Josh Breaux, a catcher from McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas, was a second-round draft pick by the New York Yankees at No. 61 overall. His projected signing bonus is $1.1 million according to MLB.com, but Razorbacks Coach Van Horn said the Yankees' offer will be higher than the slot value.

Asked if he expected Breaux to go pro, Van Horn replied, "That'd be real likely."

Draft conflict

Dave Van Horn said officials from college baseball and Major League Baseball have had discussions about changing the first day of the draft so it doesn't conflict with NCAA regional championship games.

Several college players were drafted Monday night when their teams were playing.

"I haven't been involved in the meetings, but I know coaches who have," Van Horn said. "I think they're not going to have a problem moving it by a day. I think that was kind of ridiculous on Monday and obviously in their mind they're thinking all of the regionals are going to be over on Sunday. But they're not, because of weather or whatever. So maybe they'll move it back to Tuesday in the future."

Around the horn

• The ESPN crew assigned to the super regional at Baum Stadium is Dave Neal on play by play, Ben McDonald and Chris Burke on color commentary.

• Both Arkansas (1 p.m.) and South Carolina (2:45 p.m.) will practice today at Baum Stadium, weather permitting, and will have their media days for the NCAA super regional. The practices are open to the public.

Sports on 06/08/2018

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