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Hunter Hollan may fill a most important role for Razorbacks

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Most people worry about Fridays in college baseball.

Sundays might be the most important day.

“I like the throwing on Sunday spot,” Hollan said. “If we’re 2-0, I want to sweep. If we’re 1-1, we’re not going to lose. So, I like that role. If I stay in it, I stay in it.”

He didn’t mention it, but that final day of weekend series can avoid a sweep, which can be a huge deal when you get to late May in the season.

It helps to have a pitcher that enjoys that role and the 6-5 transfer from California might give Dave Van Horn something just about every coach really wants.

“He’s a guy that every time we put out there, we have a chance to win,” he said after an 18-1 win on Sunday over Oklahoma State that was the third win for the Razorbacks in the College Baseball Showdown in Arlington, Texas.

All too often we see these Sunday games turn into an offensive free-for-all with nobody able to find one of five pitchers they run out there able to get aybody out that doesn’t hit it right at somebody.

Hollan looks like he may be a little different.

“We know how good he can pitch, especially when he’s on,” Van Horn said. “He can throw secondary pitches in any count. 3-1, 2-0, he’s just got command. When you have command and can control the baseball, you can do some damage if you’re right and you’re feeling good.”

He didn’t have a complete arsenal of pitches working against the Cowboys, but he found a way.

“I had a fastball and cutter working, but nothing else,” Hollan said. “I was just showing pitches. Really didn’t have my best stuff, just had to battle a little bit. When you have 10 runs in the third inning, it’s pretty easy. You just settle down and go pitch and throw to the catcher. Overall, it was a good day to get the first win, but still a long way to go.”

That’s something the Hogs can use with a pitching staff that has been a work-in-progress since opening-day starter Jaxon Wiggins went out with an elbow injury that’s going to require surgery.

“Today, he felt good,” Van Horn said.. “Pnce he got through the first inning, he got better. He could have come back in the fifth, but we hit so long in the fourth, and we knew it was possibly a seven-inning ball game.”

It’s a move he hopes pays a little dividend in May.

That’s when it will really matter most.

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