Favorite

A beautiful day in Fayetteville 

Some weekends, even in the oft-tortured Ozarks, the sun shines just right on the ballfields and the energy is just right in the arenas.

Saturday, February 16, 2013 isn't going to make any sort of history books, but it was one of those rare days for Arkansas athletics that just went well from start to finish. The Razorback baseball squad pasted Western Illinois 7-2 in an efficient performance that didn't even eat up two full hours. And then it ended just in time for a chilled Baum Stadium crowd to migrate to either a pub or join the rare sellout throng at Bud Walton Arena, which watched a damned entertaining, if indisputably erratic, 73-71 win for the basketball team in its newfound rivalry game with Missouri.

Disregard, for a moment, that the baseball team promptly dropped the series finale against the lowly Leathernecks the following day. Put aside the sketchy officiating that flecked the Hogs' 16th basketball victory of 2012-13, most notably the final minute thereof. Just eat it up, folks, because every sweet morsel of enjoyment that the Razorbacks enjoy lately seems like such an aberration.

The baseball team did slip a notch in one poll from No. 1 to No. 2 because of the series-ending loss, which started with veteran lefty Trent Daniel being off-target and having shaky defense behind him and ended with the hitters not mustering quite enough of a comeback after falling behind by four runs in the seventh inning. Dave Van Horn has always treated these non-conference matchups appropriately, never investing too much in games of little actual consequence, instead shuffling the lineup frequently and giving young pitchers work. Make no mistake: the Hogs gave Western Illinois a couple of authoritative beatings on Friday and Saturday to claim the series, and this squad has the appearance of being Van Horn's safest bet in his decade-plus at the helm.

The Hogs' win Saturday was, in substance and form, a callback to the method they employed through much of 2012. Barrett Astin made his five innings count (three hits and one walk in a one-run, 63-pitch outing) before freshman Jalen Beeks turned in three spectacular frames of follow-up work. The hitting performance was anything but demonstrative, but as evidenced by the score, the Hogs made their eight hits count and seized full control of the game when presented the chance. This is the new college baseball, which you may take or leave as you deem appropriate, but it's a deeply tactical endeavor these days and Van Horn seems to be more suited to that brand.

And for the basketballers, having finally shaken the winless-on-the-road albatross at Auburn three nights earlier, they got a big lift on Saturday in claiming the first round of what figures to be a reasonably spicy bout with Mizzou. It was hardly a thing of beauty, as virtually all these games trend that way by default, but the Hogs were mostly terrific in the second half and the Tigers inexplicably continued to rely on a pitiable long-range game while enforcer Alex Oriakhi stood around, supremely and understandably bored. This speaks to what will eventually become a problem for the Tigers: Frank Haith's lackluster grip on the game.

Missouri rode high for months last year as Arkansas struggled, seeming to magnify that Mike Anderson was somehow wrong-headed for leaving the former for the latter. The crashing halt to the Tigers' season in the first round of the NCAA tournament was a loss to 15th-seeded Norfolk State, and even though Arkansas whiffed on the postseason entirely last year thanks to a February swoon, Razorback fans were eager to remind Phil Pressey & Co. of that wound with some pregame chants. It was that uncommonly spirited day at Bud Walton, where the fans bought into the Harlem Shake craze (and buoyed the team when it fell behind early and late).

Marshawn Powell and BJ Young, as they frequently do in home games, basically made the win. Powell was SEC Player of the Week after posting 20-plus points in the wins over Auburn and Missouri, and his second-half assertiveness against the Tigers may have rebooted the Hogs' tournament hopes (NIT here, people...let's not distance ourselves from reality). And Young's seven-point flourish in the final half-minute was as pivotal as any one-man burst the team has had in the past few seasons. Coty Clarke's 13-point showing, however, conveys the greatest source of optimism for the final weeks: if the junior transfer can provide that scoring as the season winds down, the Hogs become far more lethal as a whole.

And that might make for a few more blissful Saturdays this spring.

Favorite

Speaking of...

  • Belk bowling, b-ball

    December 8, 2016
    Before Pearls breaks its brief silent treatment about Razorback basketball's latest bid to shake off listless irrelevance, we'll spend a word or two on the Belk Bowl, where the football team draws a Dec. 29 matchup with Virginia Tech in Charlotte. /more/
  • Bad year a blip

    May 19, 2016
    Dave Van Horn's performance as Arkansas's baseball coach is beyond reproach. The program was respectable, if flatlining a bit, under longtime head coach Norm DeBriyn. /more/
  • Don't despair about baseball

    April 21, 2016
    Arkansas's baseball freefall is not something atypical for a Dave Van Horn team. Being 21-15, 4-11 at the midway point of the conference season would seem so distressing, if you bought into the belief that records mattered all that much. /more/
  • What coaches do lives after them

    March 28, 2016
    News that UALR was going to lose its first-year basketball coaching phenom Chris Beard to UNLV got me thinking about the potential ups and downs of coaching changes. /more/
  • Basketball Hogs in review

    March 17, 2016
    They were every bit of 16-16, 9-9. Average. /more/
  • A roller coaster for Hogs

    February 25, 2016
    You'd think that two nights in Bud Walton Arena against the undisputed dregs of the SEC would be gratifying, a return to normalcy of sorts, even for a pretty mediocre bunch coming off two horrible road losses. /more/
  • Down and out in Mississippi

    February 18, 2016
    Call it "Mississippi Burned." Arkansas took a spin through the Magnolia State, and it ended up being one of the harshest road trips in recent memory, even for a basketball team that's had its share of struggles abroad. /more/
  • Razorbacks up, down and up again

    February 4, 2016
    Even at a modest 11-10, Arkansas has so much still at stake. /more/
  • The long view on the Razorbacks

    January 21, 2016
    It's strange to feel so invigorated by a team that is just a notch above .500 and has lost to the likes of Mercer, but there's a growing and obvious reflection of Mike Anderson's coaching really resonating with this crew. /more/
  • Hogs trending up, down

    December 10, 2015
    Given that Arkansas is an indisputably intriguing team — who loses to Toledo at home and then wrecks Ole Miss' charmed season seven weeks later? — the Hogs' cemented bowl destination may come as something of a letdown. The Liberty Bowl does pay well, it provides the Razorbacks a Jan. 2 afternoon kickoff in a familiar and proximately fine location, and it affords the team a better than sporting chance at finishing with eight wins. /more/
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Beau Wilcox

  • Belk bowling, b-ball

    Before Pearls breaks its brief silent treatment about Razorback basketball's latest bid to shake off listless irrelevance, we'll spend a word or two on the Belk Bowl, where the football team draws a Dec. 29 matchup with Virginia Tech in Charlotte.
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Woeful

    On Thanksgiving night, Bret Bielema could settle into his bed knowing that after a rather miserable 2013 inauguration, he had slipped comfortably into his job and the results were bearing some small but edible fruits for this ravenous fan base. He was only 25-24, but 18-10 with two bowl wins over his last 28 contests, a smattering of takedowns of ranked teams, and a stabilized roster that showed off the staff's endeavors to enlist and develop a caliber of player that would lead to better days ahead in a rugged conference.
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Williams shines

    Alternating wins and losses has been the pattern behavior of Arkansas's 2016 season as it draws to its terminus. So after the Hogs gave their most listless and disappointing home effort in a good while against LSU, why wouldn't they just explode all over the cowbell-clanging din in Starkville the next time out?
    • Nov 24, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.

Latest in Pearls About Swine

  • Belk bowling, b-ball

    Before Pearls breaks its brief silent treatment about Razorback basketball's latest bid to shake off listless irrelevance, we'll spend a word or two on the Belk Bowl, where the football team draws a Dec. 29 matchup with Virginia Tech in Charlotte.
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Woeful

    On Thanksgiving night, Bret Bielema could settle into his bed knowing that after a rather miserable 2013 inauguration, he had slipped comfortably into his job and the results were bearing some small but edible fruits for this ravenous fan base. He was only 25-24, but 18-10 with two bowl wins over his last 28 contests, a smattering of takedowns of ranked teams, and a stabilized roster that showed off the staff's endeavors to enlist and develop a caliber of player that would lead to better days ahead in a rugged conference.
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Williams shines

    Alternating wins and losses has been the pattern behavior of Arkansas's 2016 season as it draws to its terminus. So after the Hogs gave their most listless and disappointing home effort in a good while against LSU, why wouldn't they just explode all over the cowbell-clanging din in Starkville the next time out?
    • Nov 24, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Resurrection, reflection

    • http://hairtransplantncr.com/ hair transplant in delhi hair transplant ncr hair transplant cost hair transplant cost in…

    • on December 8, 2016
 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation