Dave Van Horn gets it.
The longtime Razorback head baseball coach - who just wins big every season - realizes the importance of feeding a Hog-hungry Central Arkansas fan base. It doesn't matter who you play or when you play, just show up at Dickey-Stephens Park and nine- or ten thousand fans will be there to greet you.
A second game against lowly Mississippi Valley State would be just another mid-week game in Fayetteville. Bring the Delta Devils to North Little Rock and it becomes a huge event. This is the one road trip where Dave Van Horn brings all his Hogs. Following classes on Wednesday, all 35 members of the 2013 Razorback team made the trip to Central Arkansas.
Why play at Dickey-Stephens Park? It shows the new Razorbacks just how much support they have all over the state. It's also a chance for some of the younger pitchers to get on the mound in front of a big time crowd at a minor league stadium. And it's fun. Coach Van Horn and his players love the love they get from the Dickey-Stephens crowd.
9,285 fans watched the Hogs squeeze out a 2-1 win on what was a somewhat cold, windy night. The big crowd was at its best in the final inning when the Delta Devils loaded the bases with one out. Coach Van Horn said he could feel the electricity from the crowd. Reliever Jalen Beeks delivered a strikeout and pop out to seal the win.
15 or 20 minutes after the win, you could see Hog players lined up on the first base side signing autograph after autograph. It's a great way to end what has become a goodwill trip.
As long as Dave Van Horn can find an opponent, the Hogs will continue to play at least one game a year in Central Arkansas. Why? Because Coach gets it.