Monday, June 07, 2004
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Gene Stephenson will forever second guess himself for a decision he made Sunday involving a pitcher.
But so should Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn. A day after getting 6 2/3 innings and 99 pitches out of sophomore right-hander Charley Boyce, Van Horn went to the well again in the Razorbacks' 4-3 regional-clinching victory over Wichita State in Sunday's second game between the two teams.
Boyce was unbelievable, holding WSU to one run in 7 2/3 innings of relief while throwing another 104 pitches.
That's 203 pitches in back-to-back days. Only time will tell whether there is any permanent damage to Boyce's arm.
Arkansas will play Florida State in the Super Regionals, beginning this Friday in Fayetteville. Before the tournament began, the Razorbacks earned the #8 seed nationally. Boyce was named the regional's most outstanding player.
"Look, obviously we're two different types of programs," Stephenson said. "We would never pitch a guy like that, under any circumstances or for any victory, and I don't care if it's the national championship. We would never do that. Now, does that make us right and them wrong? No, because they win. It's frustrating, but we would never do that."
Wichita State is a different type of program. Wichita State is the type of program that condones its pitchers throwing at opposing hitters, who are in the on-deck circle. Former Shockers All-American pitcher Ben Christensen was recently signed by the Mariners. If you don't know the story of his incident with Evansville's Anthony Molina, read John McGrath's column from May 30.
Reading Bob Lutz's column today, it was full of homerism. You know damn well that if the roles were reversed, it would be fine and dandy. But that's typical of people from hellholes like Wichita, Kansas to make asses out of themselves.
Now, keep in mind that just because I'm in the state of Arkansas doesn't mean that I'm a Razorbacks fan. But I've never been a fan of Wichita State. Maybe that's why I get enjoyment out of Darren Dreifort's career.
Stephenson and the Shockers faithful can bitch all they want. But the fact is, they are sitting at home in Wichita, Kansas.