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It’s gameday for Hogs to kick off 2020 season against Eastern Illinois

You can listen to the game on ESPN Arkansas 95.3 in the River Valley, 96.3 in Hot Springs and 104.3 in Harrison-Mountain Home and on HitThatLine.com by CLICKING HERE.

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FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas kicks off the 2020 season with a three-game series against Eastern Illinois starting Friday at Baum-Walker Stadium.

Friday and Saturday’s games start at 2 p.m. and Sunday’s finale will have a 1 p.m. first pitch.

You can listen to the game on ESPN Arkansas 95.3 in the River Valley, 96.3 in Hot Springs and 104.3 in Harrison-Mountain Home.

The game will also be carried live on HitThatLine.com by CLICKING HERE.

Pregame starts at 1:30 p.m.

It is the second-straight year the Razorbacks and Panthers have opened the season against each other, making it the first time Arkansas has played the same opponent in back-to-back openers since the 2001-02 seasons.

Last year, the Razorbacks swept Eastern Illinois, outscoring the Panthers by a total of 30-12. Arkansas is 29-2 all-time against Eastern Illinois, with all 31 games coming in Fayetteville.

The Razorbacks have won their last 18 opening weekend series dating back to 2002, including all 17 seasons under Dave Van Horn.

Arkansas has never lost opening day under Van Horn, outscoring opponents 143-41.

Connor Noland, lefty Patrick Wicklander and Blake Adams will start on the mound this weekend against the Panthers.

Noland made the most starts last season for the Razorbacks with 19, working 78.1 innings with a 4.02 ERA and 55 strikeouts.

Wicklander rung up 90 batters, the second-most on the squad last year, putting together a 6-2 record and a 4.32 ERA in 15 starts.

Adams is a freshman from Springdale, who played his prep ball at Har-Ber High School and had a high school ERA of 1.64.

Pitching rotations

Friday: RHP Connor Noland vs. RHP Will Klein
Saturday: LHP Patrick Wicklander vs. LHP Trevor Nicholson
Sunday: RHP Blake Adams vs. LHP Foster Anshutz

Three Razorback juniors have been blessed with the honor of 2020 Preseason All-America status from the various outlets that cover college baseball.

Outfielder Heston Kjerstad and infielder Casey Martin have garnered praise from five outlets, twice both landing on the first team, with Kjerstad earning first team accolades from all five.

The duo has also been joined by catcher Casey Opitz, who earned third team honors from Baseball America.

Arkansas begins the year ranked in the top 11 of all six polls, sitting as high as No. 4 from Perfect Game.

It is the second time in three years the Razorbacks have found themselves inside the top five to start the year. Last season, Arkansas began the year in the mid-teens in most of the polls.

2020 preseason rankings

Perfect Game – No. 4
USA Today Coaches – No. 5
NCBWA – No. 6
D1 Baseball – No. 7
Collegiate Baseball – No. 9
Baseball America – No. 11

Arkansas hass players from nine different states. Ten players on the 35-man roster hail from inside the state, the second-most state representation on this year’s team behind 11 from Texas.

Six position player starters and two rotation pieces return from last year’s College World Series team, as a total of 16 newcomers join the fray to make up the 2020 unit.

Information from Razorback Sports Communications is included in this story.

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