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Arkansas baseball eyes return to Omaha
The Razorbacks averaged 1,399 fans per game in 2002, the season before Van Horn’s arrival. Since that time, Baum Stadium has turned into one of the top venues in the country _ hosting an average of 7,893 fans per game last season.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling playing here and having 8,000 cheer you on,” Stanek said. “Especially in college baseball, where not a lot of schools get that.”
Arkansas’ attendance was second in the country behind LSU, one spot ahead of 2010-11 champion South Carolina. Mississippi rounded out the all-SEC top four in attendance, and Mississippi State gave the conference five of the top six in the country.
It’s that kind of passion that has Van Horn wary of the rest of the power-packed conference, which boasts five teams in Baseball America’s top 10. He’s also focused more on the grind of the regular season than the preseason hype, a point he has made time and again to the Razorbacks.
“Our guys are grounded,” Van Horn said. “They know what’s up.”
What Van Horn also hopes is up this season is an offense that was 170th in the country in runs per game (5.2) last season. That hope is fueled by an offense that Van Horn said is deeper overall this season, one led by Ficociello _ who is switching from first base to second after hitting .311 in his first two seasons.
While the offense remains a question mark, one thing is certain for Arkansas. It feels as though its time has come to sit atop college baseball. And Van Horn and the rest of the Razorbacks would just assume that time came sooner rather than later.
“That desire will be there until we win one,” Van Horn said. “… It’s there for me personally, for our whole staff.
“It’s not something we sit around and dwell on. We just work toward getting to the end, but we have a long way to go before that opportunity will be there.”
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