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Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn is shown during a scrimmage Friday, Jan. 29, 2021, in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE — The NCAA has allowed college baseball conferences the option of beginning extra innings with a runner on second base.
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said SEC coaches aren't likely to utilize the optional rule.
"In the SEC, we won’t agree on that," Van Horn said. "We’re going to play regular baseball unless there’s a get-away time, maybe a commercial flight situation."
Major League Baseball announced this week it will begin extra innings with a runner on second, a rule that started last year during a season shortened by covid-19.
While Van Horn thinks the SEC won't be using the extra-innings rule, he said it could make for some interesting end-of-game situations.
"You put whoever made the last out, say in the ninth, out there and put him at second base," Van Horn said. "You have to figure out if you just want to hit, you want to bunt — what do you want to do? I guess there will still be some strategy because you don’t go to the top of the order. If my 2-hole hitter made the last out and he goes to second base and I have 3, 4 and 5, I’m going to swing. If the other team’s got No. 8, 9, 1 coming up, maybe I just try to punch one in."
Sophomore infielder Robert Moore said baseball players have to be versatile and adapt to any situation, but he doesn't think the extra-innings rule would be a problem if the Razorbacks agree to use it in a game this year.
"Whether they start with no one on base or a runner on second, or bases loaded — whatever the situation is, we’re good enough, everyone in that locker room, to get the job done," Moore said.
Van Horn said the rule may be good for some conferences, but when it comes to the SEC he would rather play the game like it has been played.
"I just like regular baseball, I guess," Van Horn said. "I only would really want to do it if we kind of had to."
According to D1 Baseball's Kendall Rogers, some other covid-19 rules that will be in place for the season include:
• Pitchers will be allowed a damp rag on the mound to keep them from licking their fingers or blowing into their hand
• Games can be started or completed with just one umpire
• Coaches cannot cross the foul line if front of their dugout or enter the home-plate dirt to ask a question of the umpire
Whatever the rules are for the season, Van Horn said his players are just glad to have baseball back.
"I think our guys are just super excited to get this regular season going," he said. "I think it’ll make them feel a little more normal than we have for the last 10 or 11 months."
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