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‘Baseball America’ ranks Razorbacks at No. 11 in preseason poll

Arkansas has been slotted at No. 11 in Baseball America’s preseason rankings, making it four top-15 marks so far heading into the 2020 campaign.

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FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas has been slotted at No. 11 in Baseball America’s preseason rankings, making it four top-15 marks so far heading into the 2020 campaign.

It marks the second time in three years the Razorbacks have received a top-15 ranking from the outlet, beginning the 2018 season in fourth.

Last year, Baseball America put Arkansas at 18th in its first poll.

The Razorbacks are coming off a 46-20 season that produced an SEC West division title and the program’s 10th trip to the College World Series in 2019.

Coach Dave Van Horn, entering his 18th season at the helm of the baseball team, has more appearances in the CWS than any active coach in the nation with eight.

Arkansas returns a number of veterans with experience on the mound, including two-thirds of last year’s rotation in sophomores Connor Noland and Patrick Wicklander.

Noland and Wicklander were among the top freshmen arms in the conference in 2019, as the duo combined for a 4.16 ERA, nine wins, 145 strikeouts and only 51 walks. Noland was named a Perfect Game Freshman All-American while both garnered SEC All-Freshman honors.

Offensively, the Razorbacks return plenty of firepower, including last year’s top hitter in Matt Goodheart, who finished with a .345 batting average as the team’s designated hitter.

Along with Goodheart, the Hogs bring back two of the top bats in the nation in juniors and preseason All-Americans Heston Kjerstad and Casey Martin.

Kjerstad hit .325 or higher in each of his first two seasons, matching his hit total (87) from 2018, while driving in another 51 RBIs to go with 17 home runs.

Martin hit more home runs (15) and had more RBIs (57) than his freshman season, finishing with 81 hits overall last season.

Arkansas is set to host 32 games at Baum-Walker Stadium this spring, including home SEC series against Alabama, Florida, Texas A&M, Auburn and Georgia.

During the 2019 postseason run, Arkansas saw 93,868 fans pack Baum-Walker Stadium, the most of any ballpark in the country.

The Razorbacks wrapped up the 2019 season with a 33-7 home record, the second straight year Arkansas has totaled 30 or more wins at home.

The 2020 slate kicks off with Eastern Illinois for the second-straight season, beginning on Friday, Feb. 14, at 3 p.m. at Baum-Walker Stadium.

2020 Preseason Rankings

Perfect Game – No. 4
D1 Baseball – No. 7
Collegiate Baseball – No. 9
Baseball America – No. 11

Information from Razorback Sports Communications is included in this story.

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Hogs Baseball

O’Gara on Razorbacks’ flying high in spring with high rankings all over

As Arkansas’ active programs continue to rise in the rankings and win SEC titles, Saturday Down South’s Connor O’Gara is impressed.

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As Arkansas’ active programs continue to rise in the rankings and win SEC titles, Saturday Down South’s Connor O’Gara is impressed.

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Hogs Baseball

Rain shortens Hogs’ 11-4 win to finish sweep over Blackhawks

Arkansas picked up its first series sweep of the season, defeating Southeast Missouri State in a rain-shortened, five-inning game.

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Only the rain could stop the Razorback offense.

Arkansas picked up its first series sweep of the season, defeating Southeast Missouri State in a rain-shortened, five-inning game on Sunday afternoon at Baum-Walker Stadium.

The Hogs broke out for 11 runs over the first four innings before the elements wreaked havoc.

With the win, the Razorbacks start the season with a perfect 7-0 record for the second straight year and for the eighth time in the Dave Van Horn era (19 seasons).

Arkansas’ offense was hot from the start despite the steady rain, launching three home runs and collecting double-digit hits for the second game in a row.

Right fielder Cayden Wallace and first baseman Brady Slavens hit back-to-back dingers in the second inning to give the Hogs an early 2-0 lead.

Shortstop Jalen Battles’ second-inning RBI single made it 3-0, providing starter Lael Lockhart an early cushion. The left-hander went 3.2 innings on Sunday, striking out five while allowing three runs on three hits and three walks.

Arkansas’ bats, however, were not done. The Hogs tacked on two more in the third, including one on third baseman Cullen Smith’s RBI double to center, and led 5-1 entering the next inning.

SEMO narrowed the gap with two runs of its own in the top half of fourth, but the Hogs had even more in them.

The Razorbacks exploded for six additional runs, led by designated hitter Matt Goodheart’s two-run homer to right center, and staked an 11-3 lead at the conclusion of the fourth inning. SEMO got one back in the fifth via a home run, but the weather had begun to take a turn for the worse.

After right-hander Kevin Kopps recorded the final out in the top of the fifth on a strikeout, the game entered a rain delay. The umpires reconvened after an initial 30-minute pause and called it for good. The ballgame, which lasted five innings, is ruled an official contest.

Arkansas will take a seven-game winning streak into next weekend’s series against Murray State.

The Racers come to town for a three-game set, which gets started at 3 p.m. Friday, March 5, at Baum-Walker Stadium.

Information from Arkansas Communications is included in this story.

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Hogs Baseball

Van Horn after squeezing in five-inning, rain-shortened, 11-4 win

Hogs and Southeast Missouri had to deal with rain that continued but the field was too slick to keep going after five innings in 11-4 win.

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Arkansas and Southeast Missouri had to deal with rain that continued but the field was too slick to keep going after five innings in 11-4 Hogs’ win.

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