The Diamond Hogs put together some valiant efforts over the weekend, keeping games close enough against quality opponents to justify their inclusion in the tournament field. They just couldn't get all of their pistons firing at the same time this season. Their phenomenal production early in the season, including Aaron Murphree's remarkable spree of 12 round-trippers, came at a time when they couldn't muster a competitive rotation or consistent middle relief. And the eventual equilibrium from the pitching staff late in the season coincided with a struggling line-up.
The NCAA tournament continued the trend. When Cliff Springston and Mike Bolsinger gave them a good chance from the mound on Friday, the offense couldn't string together enough hits to win their opener. Victory was snatched from their fingers when a diving Pepperdine outfielder ended their ninth-inning rally. Against Stanford, their bats fell silent once again. Only junior Logan Forsythe could drive in a run.
The NCAA regional will likely end Forsythe's career on a disappointing note. The third baseman was an immediate asset when he arrived three years back, reliable in the field and remarkable at the plate. He's gone from skinny phenom to bulky leader in these few short years, and he should have a good shot at a professional career. With the major leagues' generous post-career benefits (players can always go back to school, with the tab picked up by the MLB) and the Hogs looking at Rebuilding Year Part II, he's likely to try his chances in the draft.
Forsythe's the first Diamond Hog whose career I'll have experienced in full. I started attending Razorback baseball games in person during his freshman season. As much as I love the prospect of attending countless Naturals games in the future, the minor leaguers I'll see there won't have as much claim on my admiration and hopes as the Diamond Hogs players I'll see at Baum Stadium. Minor leaguers get called up, move on to other teams, get swept up in the bloodless wake of major trades. Diamond Hogs are here for a roughly predictable amount of time. There's nothing like seeing an athlete grow into his sport. Forsythe will be missed.
Houston Nutt recently dropped an unsurprising pearl from his days on the Hill: He expected to be Frank Broyles' successor. We shouldn't be surprised to hear confirmation that the former coach of the Razorbacks wanted to be the next AD for Life. I feel like we all knew that's what was going on behind the scenes. But don't be fooled. Here's the key quote from the original Memphis Commercial-Appeal article: “[Broyles] told me that [Nutt would succeed him at AD]. He told me, ‘Let's make that our goal.' He helped me a lot of different ways. He trained me administratively to prepare me in some ways for that.” Nutt's not getting all misty-eyed over what might have been at Arkansas. The wily old Iago is simply angling for a similar career path at Ole Miss.