Van Horn: Arkansas moving fence in for recruiting 

Arkansas baseball coach Dave Van Horn has seen college baseball change quite a bit during his 23 seasons as a head coach.

The latest change, as the game has continued to grow in recent years, has been the proliferation of negative recruiting — a well-known practice in both football and basketball.

Van Horn addressed the issue on Friday before the Razorbacks' first practice of the season, saying the school is moving Baum Stadium's right-center field fence in 10 feet, from 375 to 365.

"It's starting to get a little bit difficult to recruit left-handed hitters," Van Horn said. "(It's) starting to get to the point where Division I baseball is becoming ... I wouldn't call it maybe a business, but it gets tough out there recruiting and they're using everything they can against you."

Arkansas was last in the Southeastern Conference with a .270 team batting average last season, and the wind predominately blows in from right field in Baum Stadium.

Van Horn, entering his 10th season with the Razorbacks, said he's wanted to move in the right field fence since he was hired. He said he's talked with former left-handed hitters such as St. Louis Cardinals prospect Zack Cox and the Chicago White Sox's Andy Wilkins about the impact of the wind, but they didn't notice it while playing at Arkansas.

However, Van Horn said other schools have brought up the subject with recruits.

"I think there (are) coaches out there trying to make sure left-hand hitters know it," Van Horn said. "I think this is really going to help us. We've noticed just by the few skill-instruction workouts that we've had hitting that with the wind blowing in, we're still able to get balls off that fence now that were caught right at the front of the warning track."

The negative recruiting hasn't hurt the Razorbacks on the field since Van Horn was hired. They are 359-201 in nine seasons under the former Nebraska coach and have reached the College World Series twice, in 2004 and 2009.

Arkansas was 40-22 last season and reached an NCAA regional before falling to Arizona State. This season, the school is expected to be one of the top teams in the SEC and is ranked No. 4 by Baseball America.

Van Horn said he considered it a compliment of sorts that other coaches feel the need to resort to such tactics.

"I think we're in real good shape," he said.

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