Arkansas Baseball Takes The Diamond In First P
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas Razorbacks got their first taste of the natural grass at Baum Stadium with a two hour practice Tuesday afternoon in their first workout leading up to the 2004 season opener.
Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn was pleased with the Hogs following Tuesday’s practice session which consisted of a controlled scrimmage. Van Horn added the Razorbacks made good use of unseasonably warm weather for the month of January as the players enjoyed sunny skies and temperatures in the mid to high 60s.
“This is incredible weather, we’re really fortunate to get this today,” Van Horn said. “We really wanted to reward the players for all the hard work we went through in the fall by coming out and having just sort of a fun day today.
“We got some early batting practice in and then had a simulated scrimmage with the coaches pitching and basically just laying it in there for them. It was good for a lot of the new players to get the feel of the park too. We’ve got 18 to 20 kids who have never been on the field, so it was a good experience for them.”
Although Tuesday marked the first practice for the Razorbacks since the conclusion of fall practice, Van Horn said the Razorbacks approached the day as a continuation of earlier progress.
“We told the guys that today wasn’t our first practice, but our 21st practice,” Van Horn said. “There will be a little drop off just because of the down time. Baseball is such a game of repetition and practice that we have a little ways to go to get back to where we were in the fall.”
Van Horn added one of the benefits of the 2004 Razorbacks is the increased competition for each position.
“We’ve got some guys who are pretty physical and got stronger in the weight room which has helped,” Van Horn said. “But there is so much competition out here just to get the chance to play. Last year, there was 10 or 11 guys who knew they were going to play. This year we have 15 guys who know if they get hurt or fall off a little there is somebody who is right behind them and will get the job done.”
Arkansas opens the 2004 season Friday, Feb. 13, against Louisiana Tech with a 2:05 p.m. game at Baum Stadium in the first of a three-game series.
The Razorbacks play their first eight games of the season at home in newly renovated Baum Stadium which features natural grass, a new scoreboard and additional luxury boxes.
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