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UA Baseball Hosts Media Day

BY ANDRES FOCIL
UA Baseball Hosts Media Day
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – With the 2000 season opener against Missouri Southern two days away, the University of Arkansas baseball team held its annual media day Thursday afternoon at Baum Stadium.

On the eve of his 31st season as the Razorbacks’ head coach, Norm DeBriyn considered the transition between the Hogs’ 1999 team that won the Southeastern Conference title and this year’s edition.

“It was just a great year last year,” DeBriyn said. “We had a lot of fun and had a good ball club. Finally winning the SEC, winning the overall title was especially sweet. The damper on our year last year, obviously, was getting beat in our own regional. We’d like to take care of that, but first we’ve got to see if we can compete and see what we’re like because we’ve got a worked-over ball club with a lot of holes to fill.

“Last year at this time… if you would have said, ‘You know, you won’t have (shortstop Joe) Jester next year,’ I would have said, ‘You’re wrong. We’ll have Jester.’ Jester, to me, had a much better year than I thought he would have and ended up being a key player for us both offensively and defensively. He will be really missed. And then you knew you were going to miss people like (outfielder Ryan) Lundquist ,(infielder Rodney) Nye and (pitcher David) Walling. I knew Walling would be gone.

“We do have a new club. They can look a certain way in practice and in fall games and everything like that, but once you start competition… that’s when you really find out. That’s where we’re at right now.”

ON THE 2000 TEAM

“I don’t want to say too much about this club because I really don’t know. If you said, ‘Is (Jon) Youngblood going to be able to handle it at shortstop?’ I don’t know. What about (Travis) McDaniel? Is he going to factor in at all? I really don’t know. We’re going to have to give some opportunities right there to some people to find out what our best nine might be – not necessarily the nine best, but the best nine that complement each other and give us a chance to win.”

ON THE LEADERSHIP ON THE 2000 TEAM

“We need that as much as anything. We don’t have that right now. Probably the closest we’ve got to it right now is (catcher Greg) Blum and (first baseman/outfielder Scott) Crossett. Crossett will speak up a little bit, grab the bull by the horns. A lot of people on our club think Crossett is a senior, but… he’s a true junior. Blum is vocal. He has kind of a (Tom) Pagnozzi makeup in that he’ll tell you what he thinks and is very up-front. I like his personality. He’s not inhibited. He doesn’t get intimidated by an (opposing) coach, or another player or a team.”

ON THE REHABILITATION OF PITCHER MIKE MORIARITY FROM TOMMY JOHN ELBOW SURGERY

“That will be a big question. That will be a key to our club, I feel. It’s been so far, so good. He’s making progress. The arm is coming along. You can tell… the day after he throws he’s not nearly as sore as he was a month ago or before the surgery.”

ARKANSAS’ PROJECTED OPENING DAY LINEUP

Following is Arkansas’ projected starting lineup for Saturday’s 1 p.m. season opener against Missouri Southern, according to DeBriyn:
NO.-PLAYER-POS.
5-Jon Youngblood-SS
33-Jack Welsh-CF
1-Scott Crossett-1B
11-Greg Blum-C
18-Brian Kirby-RF
2-Bryan King-2B
17-Wes McCrotty-DH
13-Brad Hagedorn-3B
10-Jeff Hoefler-LF
45-Charlie Isaacson-RHP

Isaacson is scheduled to pitch two innings, followed by two innings each from Cliff Lee, Matt Riethmaier and Wes McCrotty and one inning from Gary Hogan Jr.



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