HOOVER, Ala. — Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn may not say it, but it's sounding more and more like he has no answers.
If there is a button that could flip the direction of this Razorback team, he hasn't found it yet.
They have steadily not developed much and now, in the postseason, the wheels have come off the Hogs as they get ready for an NCAA bid.
Forget about hosting a regional. They will be in the tournament, but exactly where nobody knows and they are going to have to turn it completely around to avoid a short exit.
"It's not like we've fallen apart," Van Horn said after a 7-5 loss to Florida to exit the SEC Tournament without a win. "We haven't done enough to win."
A lot of fans don't want to believe it's that simple, but it really is.
"Winning is hard, losing is easy," Van Horn tells the team. "You have to do something special sometimes to win and we didn't do anything special this week."
That was the case against the Gators on Friday.
Florida tagged Arkansas starter Connor Noland for five runs on six hits and a walk in his 4.2 innings. He struck out five, but didn't get a lot of help behind him.
Down by five runs in the top of the sixth, Cayden Wallace and Michael Turner hit back-to-back solo homers to narrow Arkansas’ deficit to three.
Wallace’s blast was hit 11th of the season, while Turner’s homer was his seventh of the year.
Florida took it back in the bottom half of the frame with a pair of runs, including a leadoff solo home run. The Gators led 7-2 headed into the seventh inning.
The Razorbacks put together a two-out rally in the ninth after Jalen Battles drew a leadoff walk to start the inning. Battles came around to score on a passed ball before Braydon Webb jacked the Hogs’ third home run of the day.
Webb’s team-leading 14th homer of the season scored Zack Gregory, who had drawn a two-out walk, to make it a two-run game. That was as close as it got.
The Hogs’ bullpen was once again steady in relief. Evan Taylor, Brady Tygart, Zebulon Vermillion, Hagen Smith and Jaxon Wiggins combined for 3.1 innings of two-run ball after Noland’s departure from the game in the fourth.
That was setting up pitching for the NCAA.
"Obviously that's what we were trying to do," Van Horn said.
Arkansas will learn its NCAA Tournament fate in the next few days. Regional sites are announced this Sunday, while the selection show is set for 11 a.m. Monday on ESPN2 and Fubo.tv.
The NCAA Tournament will begin with the regional round on June 3-6, continue with super regionals on June 10-13 and finish with the College World Series on June 17-27.
"We just need to re-group," Van Horn said.
We'll see if a week is enough time. Everybody has talked about this team needing to get out of their own heads.
Exactly how, they do that, apparently nobody knows for sure.
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