HOOVER, Alabama – Arkansas baseball coach Dave Van Horn ate a bad salad at a restaurant he will not name and was hospitalized early this week here with food poisoning.
A surgical procedure was considered but not done as he watched the No. 3 seed Razorbacks lose their SEC Tournament opening game, 4-3, to No. 11 seed Alabama on Wednesday from the hospital as his team committed two errors.
Van Horn, 61, returned to the dugout on Friday, but his team probably made him sick to his stomach again in a 7-5 loss to No. 7 seed Florida at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium that eliminated the Hogs (38-18).
And their chances of hosting an NCAA Regional next week with their No. 33 position in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) just took a punch to the gut with an 0-for-2 showing. The 16 NCAA host sites will be announced on Sunday with the eight national seeds and pairings coming out Monday with action beginning Friday.
The Hogs will enter NCAA play after four straight losses, and they’ve lost seven of the last 10 overall.
“One day it’s one thing, the next it’s another,” Van Horn said. “We didn’t do a lot wrong. We just didn’t do a whole lot. It’s not like we’re falling part. It’s just that we haven’t done enough to win. Winning’s hard. Losing’s easy.”
But not on the stomach lining.
Van Horn missed the first game due to illness of his head coaching career that began in 1989 and in 2003 at Arkansas on Wednesday. He missed two others in the SEC over the last decade when his daughters graduated from high school.
“It was not fun watching on TV the other night. The first few innings were tough,” he said of the loss to Alabama, which took a 4-1 lead after four innings.
The first six innings Friday were difficult, too, as the Gators (37-21) took a 7-2 lead and finished with 10 hits off six pitchers. Florida will play on Saturday against the winner of the Vanderbilt-Kentucky elimination game that followed the Gators’ game.
No one else on the Arkansas team got food poisoning as Van Horn didn’t get sick from the menu at one of the team meals.
“No, thank goodness,” he said. “We would’ve been in trouble because there would’ve been nobody going to play with what I had. I don’t want to say where I probably got it because I don’t want to get sued.”
Asked what he ate that he may be staying away from for a while, Van Horn said, “Probably salad.”