Laughable Stat Bears Out Hogs Outfielder’s Bracing Truth about Missouri Baseball

Missouri baseball, Arkansas baseball, sad Missouri fan
photo credit: SEC Network

Missouri continues to grow the gap between itself and Arkansas in football but the last few weeks have seen Arkansas baseball and basketball strike back. 

There were big wins by the men’s and women’s basketball teams over Mizzou, first of all. Sunday’s resulted in this:

And, this Saturday, Musselman’s Hogs have a strong chance to string together their first consecutive win streak in SEC play this season when hosting Missouri.

It’s a bit of adjusting of the scales after Eli Drinkwitz, the Arkansas native and Missouri head football coach, took a number of shots at the Razorbacks in the offseason and during the recruiting period on social media. And justifiably so, with the invasion of his home state for elite players and the 48-14 beatdown on Black Friday his team administered.

Arkansas can have a last laugh in baseball, however. It’ll get a chance to prove it in the SEC opening series March 15-17 and its fans are already getting the ball rolling by firing an indirect “Take that, Drink!” shot on Tuesday:

A four-game set with winter weather attendance figures like that over James Madison, a team picked to finish near the bottom of the Sun Belt Conference, is impressive. 

Especially since it’s more than Mizzou’s “record-setting” attendance from the 2023 season for all 26 of its home games combined.

Even if there weren’t actually 37,000-plus butts in seats at Baum-Walker, the stadium was plenty crowded. Of course, it certainly didn’t hurt that the basketball team was out of town in Starkville, and that its woeful performance in SEC play so far in 2024 has definitely heightened the anticipation and excitement for Razorback baseball.

That’s especially true with multiple folks picking Arkansas to finally get over the hump and deliver Dave Van Horn his first national championship.

Ty Wilmsmeyer’s Journey to Arkansas

Regardless, this bears out what Arkansas outfielder Ty Wilmsmeyer said about choosing to leave Mizzou for Arkansas back in the summer:

“I’m not saying it can’t be done at Missouri, but with the administration not willing to really fund the baseball program and make it a successful, high-level program, it will be a tough job at Missouri, for sure,” Wilmsmeyer told Best of Arkansas Sports. “Arkansas has invested a lot in their baseball program and has a lot backing that program.

“It obviously shows on the field in their record and their postseason appearances, so I’m looking for the chance to chase that dream of Omaha and I think Arkansas gives me a good chance to do that.”

Missouri baseball historically isn’t awful. The Tigers did win a national title in 1954 and made six College World Series appearances in the 1950s and 60s.

Oh, and that Max Scherzer guy pitched for them at one point, too.

It’s just recent success that’s hard to find for the Tigers. They’ve advanced out of a regional only once (2006) since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1999. They’ve had just six winning seasons since joining the SEC in 2013 and haven’t ever posted a winning SEC league record.

Wilmsmeyer grew up loving Missouri, however. It was his dream school growing up in the state and with his dad being from Columbia, he almost had to go there.

“Mizzou was kind of my dream school growing up with my dad being from there,” Wilmsmeyer said. “I’ve been a walk-on there for the last four years, so I was fortunate enough to be able to earn my spot and get some playing time.”

The Springfield, Mo., native spoke glowingly about the relationships and the coaching he got during his four seasons with the Tigers, but added that he felt Arkansas was the best place for him to take his career to the next level.

It didn’t take long for the fans and the atmosphere at Baum-Walker to rub off on Wilmsmeyer.

“Obviously, the stadium and the fans are great,” Wilmsmeyer said after just his second game with the Razorbacks. “The fans feed off the team, the team feeds off the fans. It’s a great atmosphere.”

That comment came after Wilmsmeyer rewarded the fans who came out with a performance that was splendid no matter who it came against.

During Game 2, he went 3 for 5 with each of his hits driving in at least one run. Even one of his outs was an RBI fielder’s choice when he beat out a double play with his speed, helping him finish with a career-high 5 RBIs.

The transfer showed off his speed on that potential double play, as well as when he scored from first on a double. Wilmsmeyer also flashed his glove with a home run robbery that made SportsCenter’s No. 2 plays on its daily Top 10, all while hitting in the 9-hole – which is where Van Horn likes him because he’s essentially a second leadoff man who helps turn the lineup over.

Bottom Line for Missouri Baseball

If Missouri ever wants to get nationally competitive at baseball again, it’s going to have to get serious about the sport.

Whether that’s hiring a coach who can recruit the kind of talent needed to do that, or just pouring money into the program with facility upgrades and marketing, which would help recruit said talent (of course, with the right coach).

Missouri did recently announce an anonymous $62 million gift to the university, its largest donation in program history, but $50 million of it is going towards modernizing the football stadium. The other $12 million will go into the Tiger Fund, which is the NIL collective benefiting Mizzou student-athletes.

It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that some of that $12 million could go toward procuring some top-shelf baseball talent, but it’s more likely it will be used on football and men’s basketball, especially with the latter staring down the barrel of a dead-last finish in the SEC after a second-round appearance in the NCAA Tournament just a year ago.

Also, in two weeks, Missouri’s athletic director leaves for Arizona, an athletic department joining the Big 12 Conference.

Therefore, a new athletic director will be coming in for the Tigers, and I doubt baseball is going to be very high on his or her priority list upon taking the job, as Missouri would’ve made the College Football Playoff last year under the newly announced 12-team format.

It’s more likely they will be focused on Missouri keeping the momentum going in football with a staff that’s now filled with Arkansans like Drinkwitz.

In short, you win some and you lose a lot more. Sorry, Missouri baseball fans.


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