Preview: A look at the Rebels’ Super Regional Opponent, the Arkansas Razorbacks
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – At least one SEC West team is guaranteed to be playing in the College World Series next week in Omaha as Ole Miss visits Fayetteville for a best-of-three Super Regional series against Arkansas this Saturday, Sunday, Monday (if necessary). Auburn, LSU and Mississippi State are also in Super Regionals this weekend to give the division a record five teams one step away from the World Series.
The Fayetteville Super Regional sold out Baum-Walker Stadium in less than ten hours.
Arkansas comes into the weekend at 44-17 overall and 31-6 at home. Two of those home losses came to Ole Miss in late March as the Rebels took the series in Fayetteville.
In the SEC tournament last month, Arkansas prevailed in the first of two meetings; however, two days later, the Rebels defeated the Hogs, 3-2, to eliminate Arkansas from the tourney.
Scouting the Hogs
The Razorbacks swept through their regional last weekend by beating Central Connecticut State and whipping Texas Christian twice.
Arkansas is hitting a robust .299 as a team, led by sophomore Matt Goodheart who is batting .348. Four other Razorbacks are hitting above .300. Heston Kjerstad and Casey Martin share the team lead with 15 home runs each, while Dominic Fletcher leads the team with 23 doubles and 56 runs batted in.
Redshirt junior Isaiah Campbell is the ace of the Razorbacks’ pitching staff with an 11-1 record. He has struck out 108 batters in 103 innings. Campbell also has beaten Ole Miss this season.
Matt Cronin leads the pitchers with 12 saves.
Arkansas was well represented in this week’s major league baseball draft with seven Razorbacks selected.
Fletcher and Campbell went back to back with the 75th and 76th selections. Fletcher was picked by Arizona, Campbell by Seattle. Cronin was picked in the fourth round by Washington while Jack Kenley and Jacob Kostyshock went in the eighth round to Detroit and Colorado respectively.
Cody Scroggins went to Boston in the ninth round and catcher Zack Plunkett was picked by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Ole Miss bested the Hogs with eight selections in the draft.
Where to watch
Game one of the series is set for 11 a.m. (CT) Saturday and will be broadcast on ESPN. Sunday’s game two is schedule for 2 p.m. (CT) on ESPNU, and if a Monday winner-take-all game is needed, first pitch will be at 3 p.m. (CT) on ESPN2.
Interesting notes on Arkansas
ALUMS: Arkansas can boast several political figures in its history, including Bill and Hillary Clinton who began their careers teaching at the U of A law school. The University also has produced 17 governors and the president of Panama. Arkansas also has Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones, S. Robson Walton of Walmart and Scott T. Ford of Alltel on its alumni roster.
ON THE ROSTER: Arkansas does not have a single player on its roster from the great state of Mississippi. The Rebels, on other hand, boast Jacob Adams (Conway, Ark.), Kaleb Hill (Pine Bluff, Ark.), and Zack Phillips (Texarkana, Ark.) from “The Natural State,” as Arkansas is known.
SOMETHING COOL ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY: Arkansas is the founding institution of the Chi Omega sorority, and its chapter of the Kappa Sigma fraternity is the largest chapter in North America.
SOMETHING COOL ABOUT FAYETTEVILLE: The city integrated its school in 1954 becoming just the second school district to do it after Brown v. Board of Education.
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.