HOUSTON, Tx. -- The Arkansas baseball team will have gone more than a week since their last game when they take the field Friday for game one of the Houston regional against Sam Houston State.
“I think we’re ready to play,” said head coach Dave Van Horn. “I think we’ve been prepared to play in practice, I think we’ve been prepared to play with the season, playing in the SEC and the teams we compete against. We’re just going to let it all hang out this weekend.”
After the NCAA tournament field was announced on Monday, Dave Van Horn hinted that he wasn’t too disappointed that his team was done so quickly, saying it gave some banged up players time to heal up.
“We’re ready to go,” said senior second baseman Bo Bigham. “Everybody’s focused, everybody’s got their mind right. We’re energized. First step in getting to Omaha starts [Friday], and we’re ready to start taking steps toward that.”
Van Horn decided to start ace DJ Baxendale on Friday, as opposed to saving him for a potential clinching game later in the weekend.
“Friday’s the day,” Van Horn said. “We have to go get us a win. We have DJ on the mound. We’re pretty healthy. It’s just about playing solid defense and making them earn everything they get.”
Last year at this time, Arkansas dropped a surprising game one decision to Charlotte, immediately dropping them into the loser’s bracket, something they don’t want to repeat in 2012.
“It’ll be key, getting that first win, because we don’t want to have to go into the loser’s bracket,” said sophomore right-hander Ryne Stanek. “We learned that the hard way last year, having to fight from behind in the loser’s bracket and having to play two games in one day, and how that’s really, really tough in a regional environment.”
Arkansas takes on Sam Houston State on Friday at Reckling Park in Houston. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.