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Diamond Hog Update: March 1, 2012

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Ten games into the regular season, the Diamond Hogs are performing as expected, with a 9-1 record heading into the Houston College Classic this weekend. In route, the Razorbacks have swept Villanova, Northwestern State, and BYU, while taking 2 of 3 from Valparaiso (home of this guy).

The Razorbacks absolutely thrashed the Wildcats (who, admittedly, are not supposed to be a very good team) by a margin of 41-7 over the entire weekend, with over half of Villanova's runs coming off a grand-slam during the 6th inning of Game 1 when the Arkansas bullpen walked the bases loaded.

During a midweek series with Northwestern State, the Hogs got their first taste of mortality in Game 1 of the series. Trailing 4-6 in the 8th, the Razorbacks put up 3 runs in the bottom of the inning to take a lead, but allowed the Demons to tie the game in the top of the 9th. After committing 4 errors during the game to let the Demons keep it interesting, the Demons repay the favor by walking the winning run across in the bottom of the inning.

The Hog's perfect record took a tumble against Valparaiso. After easily taking the first game, and mounting a comeback to win the second game 4-3 (the Crusaders scored 3 runs in the 1st inning, and the Hogs again committed 4 errors), their luck ran out in Game 3. Leading 5-0 going into the 5th inning, starting pitcher Randall Fant absolutely melted down, giving up 4 ERs before ever recording an out. One inning later, reliever Trent Daniel gave up another 5 runs to put the Hogs down 7-9. Arkansas chipped away and tied the game in the bottom of the 9th, but ultimately fell 9-10 in the 10th inning. Reliever Nolan Sanburn came in to pitch the 8th and was mostly dominant, striking out 8 batters in the 8th, 9th, and 10th and holding the Valparaiso offense to 2 hits (compared to the 12 they had prior to the 8th inning). Unfortunately, one of those 2 hits gave up the winning run.

After that slight setback, Arkansas responded by easily taking two midweek games from a solid (but not great) BYU team.

Up next, the Hogs have a date with 3 old SWC foes in Houston: Texas Tech, Houston, and #21 Texas. How the Longhorns are still ranked is a mystery. After starting out the season #5, they currently sit with a 3-5 record after taking 2 of 3 from Duke, losing to Texas-Arlington in Austin, getting swept by Stanford, and posting a 2-0 win over Houston Baptist.

As for the Hogs, they're top 10 in every major poll (ranging from #4 - #7), have a top 10 RPI, and a top 20 SoS (which is more of a testament to who other top teams have been playing). This weekend will give a much better indicator of how the Diamond Hogs will fare this season.