Arkansas Razorback Baseball Dealing with the Cold Weather – by UATVSports’ Tyler Woessner
Every year in mid-February, Arkansas head baseball coach Dave Van Horn finishes preparing his Diamond Hogs for the upcoming season. Usually it is cold outside, but this year has brought exceptional winter weather. With six inches of snow on the ground and sub-freezing temperatures this past week, Van Horn has been thrown a curveball in getting his team prepared for its first game of the season on Friday.
“We try not to talk about it a whole lot,” Van Horn said. “It’s been a bad winter. As a team, we almost make a joke out of it. We’re going to get through it, and we’re not going to complain about it. I think I talk about it more than they do. I’m just trying to make sure the new guys don’t think this is normal, because I don’t want them going off next year to some Junior College in the south.”
These obstacles make Van Horn eager for the team’s new indoor practice facility that’s scheduled to open in three months. It will include a full-size infield, along with pitching mounds and batting cages. In the meantime, the baseball team has had to borrow the indoor football field to practice on during the cold weather. Junior preseason All-American second baseman Brian Anderson says it will be nice to have an indoor facility of their own to use.
“It’s going to help out, especially during winter’s like this where it’s really wet and cold outside,” Anderson said. “They can get live scrimmaging done in there. It’s going to be a nice indoor facility. It will definitely be something to look forward to. I think it will help with recruiting as well, knowing that we can get a bunch of work done in the offseason.”
Getting the pitching staff in order is Van Horn’s primary concern as Opening Day looms closer. Only five of last year’s 15 pitchers are returning this season. Among the 21 pitchers on this year’s roster, 11 are freshmen. Van Horn has mixed emotions about his young pitching staff that hasn’t gotten much work in outside because of the inclement weather.
“Preparing for this season has been different as compared to the last couple, due to the fact that except for a few guys, we have such a young and inexperienced pitching staff,” Van Horn said. “The unknown makes you a little bit nervous, but at the same time, it’s kind of exciting.”
Expectations may not be as high for this team as compared to year’s past, but that’s no reason to sleep on Dave Van Horn’s ball-club. He has been a consistent winner since first arriving at Arkansas. The season kicks off this weekend with a three-game series against Appalachian State at Baum Stadium.