Andrew Hutchinson’s 2024 Week-by-Week Arkansas Baseball Predictions

Ribby mascot, Arkansas baseball
photo credit: Baumology

The 2024 Arkansas baseball season is finally upon us. That means it’s once again time for Andrew Hutchinson, the managing editor at Best of Arkansas Sports, to make his annual week-by-week predictions…

2024 Arkansas Baseball Predictions

Week 1: vs. James Madison (Feb. 16-19)

Like many smaller schools, James Madison is a very veteran team. It returns a large chunk of its pitching staff from a year ago and several key bats, even though it is replacing most of its everyday starters in the field.

I’m picking the Razorbacks to sweep the Dukes, but don’t be surprised if one or two of the games are tight — especially the finale on Monday. Their small-ball style could put some pressure on Arkansas and some younger and more inexperienced pitchers will get on the mound that game, so it could come down to the final few innings.

Record: 4-0

Week 2: Kubota College Baseball Series in Arlington, Texas

Feb. 23 — vs. Oregon State
Feb. 24 — vs. Oklahoma State
Feb. 25 — vs. Michigan

Even though the current players were in middle and high school during the 2018 College World Series, they likely know about the history between Arkansas and Oregon State. I expect the environment at Globe Life field to be electric for this matchup, with Arkansas fans dominating the crowd. The Hogs will feed off that and take the opening game.

It will be similar story, but in reverse, for the Saturday night matchup with Oklahoma State. Arkansas knocked off the Cowboys in an intense 2022 Stillwater Regional and then blew them out last year in Arlington. They’ll be fired up to get revenge on the Hogs.

In what will essentially be a “rubber match” for the weekend, Arkansas will easily handle Michigan to end the weekend with a 2-1 record.

Record: 6-1

Week 3: vs. Grambling (Feb. 27), vs. Murray State (March 1-3)

Arkansas has traditionally dominated the SWAC, so the first midweek game of the season should be a comfortable win that allows several younger players to get their first significant action.

When Murray State comes to town, the Razorbacks will still be riding high from a good weekend in Arlington. They’ll cruise in the opening two games, but that might lead to them relaxing in the finale and give the Racers a chance to steal a win.

Record: 9-2

Week 4: vs. UCA (March 5), vs. McNeese State (March 8-10)

In-state teams are always fired up to play the Razorbacks, but they should still be able to overpower UCA for a midweek game. McNeese State is also a solid baseball program, but after dropping one game the previous weekend, Arkansas will be locked in and focused, leading to a comfortable sweep.

Record: 13-2

Week 5: vs. Oral Roberts (March 12), vs. Missouri (March 15-17)

Oral Roberts always dominates the Summit League and had a magical run to the College World Series last season, but a lot of those players are no longer around. It should be a competitive game, but Arkansas comes out on top.

That brings the start of SEC play, with Missouri coming to town. Projected starting center fielder Ty Wilmsmeyer will get the last laugh against his former team, as the Razorbacks open conference play in dominant fashion with a sweep.

Record: 17-2 (3-0)

Week 6: at Auburn (March 21-23)

A team that consistently outperforms its preseason expectations, Auburn will abruptly end Arkansas’ eight-game winning streak by rallying for a series-opening win. The Razorbacks will bounce back in Game 2, but fall short in the rubber match to lose the series.

Record: 18-4 (4-2)

Week 7: vs. Little Rock (March 26), vs. LSU (March 28-30)

It’s been five years since Little Rock came to Fayetteville and smoked the Razorbacks 17-7 in a midweek matchup that marked Arkansas’ first game against an in-state foe. It won’t be that bad, but I do see the Trojans coming in and stealing another win. They are the preseason favorite to win the OVC and have three preseason all-conference players in their lineup — not including OVC Preseason Pitcher of the Year Jackson Wells, who likely won’t pitch in the game.

Dropping a midweek game might not be the worst thing in the world with LSU coming to town. It should once again get the Razorbacks locked in, this time for a top-5 showdown. This is the weekend Hagen Smith completely introduces himself to the country with a dominant outing in which he shuts down the Tigers. The series will come down to a rubber match, which typically hasn’t gone Arkansas’ way. In front of a packed Baum-Walker Stadium, though, the Hogs get it done this year.

Record: 20-6 (6-3)

Week 8: vs. Arkansas State (April 2), vs. Ole Miss (April 4-6)

The folks in Jonesboro will be fired up for this midweek game, but Arkansas should dispatch the Red Wolves pretty easily to set up another big weekend at Baum-Walker Stadium.

The Razorbacks have won four straight traditional series against Ole Miss, dating back to the 2019 Fayetteville Super Regional, but all four have come down to a rubber match. (The Rebels did win two of three in Omaha two years ago.) That won’t be a factor this year, as Arkansas sweeps the Rebels with three close wins.

Record: 24-6 (9-3)

Week 9: vs. San Jose State (April 9-10), at Alabama (April 12-14)

A two-game midweek series against San Jose State might not move the needle much for fans, but it will be a challenge for Arkansas because the Spartans are the preseason favorite in the Mountain West. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them split these two games, but I feel like the Razorbacks will show off their pitching depth and win both of them.

That sets up an intriguing road trip to Alabama. The Crimson Tide have strangely had Arkansas’ number lately, including several wins by double-digits — a rare occurrence against Dave Van Horn. They’ll bring the Hogs back down to earth a bit by winning two of three.

Record: 27-8 (10-5)

Week 10: vs. Texas Tech (April 16-17), at South Carolina (April 19-21)

The pitching depth that helped Arkansas sweep San Jose State will once again be tested against Texas Tech, but it will deliver again. In one of the better midweek series in Fayetteville, the Razorbacks go 2-0.

Road woes will continue in Columbia, S.C., as the Razorbacks will drop their third straight series away from home by winning only one of three games at South Carolina.

Record: 30-10 (11-7)

Week 11: *vs. UAPB (April 23), vs. Florida (April 26-28)

Arkansas baseball games at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock can get weird, but the Razorbacks shouldn’t have any problem against another SWAC team, even if it’s an in-state foe.

If the weather is good, attendance records could fall when Florida comes to town for what should be a top-10, if not top-5, showdown. With positioning atop the SEC overall standings at stake, Arkansas takes two of three from the Gators.

Record: 33-11 (13-8)

Week 12: vs. Missouri State (April 30-May 1), at Kentucky (May 3-5)

Legendary Missouri State baseball coach Keith Guttin is set to retire after this season, but not before getting one more crack at the Razorbacks. As Van Horn has said several times, the Bears do not like Arkansas. They’ll treat these games like postseason and both will be a battle, so I have them splitting the two games.

The comparisons to 2018 should stop when Arkansas finally wins a road series at Kentucky. The turf field could make things interesting, but the Razorbacks are the better team and win two of three.

Record: 36-13 (15-9)

Week 13: vs. Mississippi State (May 10-12)

I want to pick another home sweep, but sweeping both of the Mississippi schools — regardless of their recent struggles — is no easy feat. Instead, Arkansas baseball will win the first two games and, with a chance to really bolster its chances of winning the SEC, drop the third game to Mississippi State.

Record: 38-15 (17-10)

Week 14: at Texas A&M (May 16-18)

Heading to College Station with an outside shot at another regular-season SEC title, Arkansas will split the first two games and see Vanderbilt or Florida clinch it instead. However, the rubber match will loom large in the divisional race. In the final year of divisions, the Razorbacks win the SEC West by beating the Aggies in the regular-season finale.

Record: 40-16 (19-11)

SEC Tournament (May 21-26)

Dave Van Horn has never outright said he doesn’t care about the SEC Tournament — he’s a fierce competitor who always wants to win, after all — but his actions have shown he doesn’t place a ton of importance on the event.

With 40 wins already in the bag, Arkansas will be a top-8 national seed regardless of what happens in Hoover. It feels like another year the Razorbacks will win a game and then drop two straight to get home and prepare for the NCAA Tournament.

Record: 41-18 (19-11)

Postseason Prediction for Arkansas Baseball

National Seed, National Champions

Yes, you read that correctly. It’s time.

It’s time for Dave Van Horn and the Arkansas baseball program to get over the hump and win it all. Heck, the Razorbacks are due for their 30-year title: football in 1964, men’s basketball in 1994…baseball in 2024.

If that’s not enough to convince you, the pitching staff should. There are 17 pitchers who could legitimately help the Razorbacks win games this season. They only need about half of those to live up to their potential and a handful to be just decent to give themselves a shot to make a postseason run.

It helps, too, that one of those pitchers is Hagen Smith. He may not be as good as Paul Skenes was last year for LSU, but he’ll be pretty close and could be a top-10 pick when the MLB Draft rolls around.

There are more questions in the lineup, but they have so many options that Van Horn should be able to slot in someone else if one of them struggles. Figuring out the right combination might take some time, but he’ll get it figured out well before the NCAA Tournament. They might not light up the scoreboard, but it should be plenty to support the loading pitching staff.

This isn’t just a homer pick, either. This is my sixth year making these predictions and I’ve never picked Arkansas to go all the way. I can honestly say this is the best I’ve felt about an Arkansas baseball team since 2018 — and we all know how that year went.

Hutch’s Previous Predictions

201936-20 (16-14)
No. 2 seed in regional, super regional sleeper
40-15 (20-10)
No. 5 national seed, reached CWS
(pandemic-shortened season)
202135-19 (16-14)
Regional host, but not top-8 seed, possible super regional
42-10 (22-8)
No. 1 national seed, lost in super regional
202241-15 (19-11)
National seed, return to CWS
38-16 (18-12)
No. 2 seed in regional, reached CWS
202340-15 (19-11)
National seed, return to CWS
39-15 (20-10)
No. 4 national seed, lost in regional


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