Arkansas baseball head coach Dave Van Horn met with the media for the primary time in 2023 Friday and he introduced his group’s three captains for the upcoming season.
Senior lefty pitcher Zack Morris, junior outfielder Jace Bohrofen and sophomore infielder Peyton Stovall have been chosen by their teammates as group captains.
“The loopy factor about that voting is that there was three or 4 different guys that have been proper there,” Van Horn mentioned. “A few ‘em have been transfers, in order that they like one another a bit bit, and so they respect one another already, in order that’s actually good to see.”
Morris is coming into his fourth season as a Hog following a career-best marketing campaign in 2022. He recorded 26 strikeouts, 19 walks, allowed 9 earned runs on 29 hits and had a 2.31 ERA in 35.0 innings pitched.
“Zack’s a man that there was undoubtedly some curiosity in him professionally, as just a few of the opposite guys right here,” Van Horn mentioned. “However selected to return again. I believe he’s going to be a bit little bit of every thing for us. He could be a man that may begin. He could be a man that may are available in within the fifth and end the sport. He can are available in and get a hitter out. So quite a lot of maturity there.”
Of all Morris’ outings in 2022, his closing one was essentially the most polarizing, when he entered within the backside of the ninth inning with no outs, bases loaded and a 3-1 Arkansas lead in an elimination sport in opposition to Ole Miss within the School World Collection. The left-hander struck out his first batter after which induced a pair of fly outs to left to maintain the Hogs alive for yet another day.
“He’s been in about as powerful a state of affairs you might be in that second to final sport in Omaha,” Van Horn mentioned. “Bases loaded, win or go residence. That’s after having a foul begin earlier and we gave him the ball as a result of we had confidence in him.”
Stovall noticed his ups and downs as a highly-touted freshman in 2022, however he appears primed to be a pacesetter for Arkansas this season. He slashed .295/.373/.425 final yr and had 59 hits, eight doubles, six homers and 31 RBI. He got here on sturdy late within the postseason, even having a five-hit efficiency within the CWS in opposition to Auburn to change into the primary participant since 2009 and the primary Razorback with 5 hits in a single School World Collection sport.
“You see a child that basically, the primary three-quarters of the season, he was simply tight, nervous,” Van Horn mentioned. “Attempting to impress everyone, simply attempting to dwell as much as the hype, and eventually we talked with him, he simply mentioned, ‘Heck with it,’ then he let it go, and then you definitely noticed how good he was. He was in all probability our greatest hitter down the stretch.”
At one level, Stovall sat for 2 weeks, lacking each the Auburn and Vanderbilt sequence, as he was going by means of a dry spell. Throughout that point he had a dialog with Van Horn concerning the stress that he was placing on himself.
“We sat down and he talked to me,” Stovall mentioned. “I advised him I used to be going to proceed to work as exhausting as I might…He mentioned that he continued to consider in me and was nonetheless going to provide me loads of alternatives. Luckily for me, I used to be in a position to have success down the street. I believe an enormous a part of that performed into that assembly I had with Coach Van Horn.”
Stovall performed first base for the Razorbacks final yr, however he’s set to maneuver to second this season, which is his pure place.
Bohrofen’s 2022 marketing campaign doubtless didn’t go as he deliberate it out in his head. An unlucky collision with a wall previous to the March 10 sport in opposition to Illinois-Chicago held him out till April 1, and by that time it was powerful for Bohrofen to essentially discover his groove.
The Oklahoma switch hit with a .228 common in 92 at bats final yr, and he racked up 21 hits, eight doubles, one triple, 17 RBIs and three homers. Van Horn mentioned Bohrofen is able to show his value after final season’s struggles.
“I believe he’s fed up with what’s gone on so far as how a lot he’s gotten to play and the way he’s performed, the accidents,” Van Horn mentioned. “I believe he’s able to have a giant yr for us. The group voted him certainly one of our captains. He didn’t even get to play final yr, hardly, as soon as he damage himself when he bumped into that wall in a pregame drill, which was unbelievable while you discuss it.”
Bohrofen, who will doubtless begin in proper subject, appears to be able to put final yr within the rearview mirror.
“Final yr was freak deal that occurred,” Bohrofen mentioned. “Typically that’s simply baseball. Everybody has their very own journey. I’m simply actually excited to get on to this season and play and win video games and get to Omaha and hopefully win the final sport of the season.”
The respect within the clubhouse appears to develop shortly, as Bohrofen and Stovall are every simply of their second yr as Razorbacks — Bohrofen as a switch from Oklahoma previous to final season, and Stovall as a real sophomore. Like Van Horn talked about, some new transfers are broadly revered, together with Kansas switch Tavian Josenberger.
“He’s been an actual chief within the clubhouse and on the sector and I believe guys gravitate to him,” Van Horn mentioned.
Although the Diamond Hogs might need a bunch of unfamiliar faces coming into this season, the group has grown shut and appears to be bonding effectively previous to the beginning of preseason follow on Friday. The mutual respect is there, however quickly will probably be time to compete.