The one SEC ballpark Ty Wilmsmeyer didn’t visit during his four years at Missouri was Baum-Walker Stadium. He’ll check that venue off his list next year while wearing an Arkansas baseball uniform.
A two-year starter for the Tigers, Wilmsmeyer announced Friday that he’d finish his career with the Razorbacks in 2024. He will come to Fayetteville as a super senior with one year of eligibility.
In an exclusive interview, the 6-foot-1, 180-pound outfielder told Best of Arkansas Sports that “quite a few schools” reached out, but Arkansas was the first and Wilmsmeyer couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play for head coach Dave Van Horn and assistant Nate Thompson.
“Just in talking with Coach Thompson and Coach Van Horn, they obviously have a good thing going with the recent success of the program,” Wilmsmeyer said. “Obviously a very experienced coaching staff and have brought in lots of good players and perform at a high level year in and year out, so I’m looking to hopefully be able to play some postseason baseball and Arkansas was a place I feel like they do that consistently.”
Wilmsmeyer made the short trip from his hometown of Springfield, Mo., to Fayetteville last Monday, exactly one week after the Razorbacks were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament by TCU.
The visit gave him a chance to finally check out Arkansas’ facilities in person. What he experienced was unlike anything he experienced at Missouri.
The Tigers play at Taylor Stadium, which is widely considered the worst among the 14 ballparks in the SEC. It has a listed capacity of 3,031, but averaged just 1,428 fans this past season — by far the lowest in the conference.
For a comparison, Baum-Walker Stadium ranked fourth nationally in 2023 with an average attendance of 9,762. In fact, Arkansas nearly draws more fans for a weekend SEC series than Missouri does in an entire season — its record three-game attendance of 34,796 against Ole Miss last year was just shy of the Tigers’ 26-game total of 37,133 for this past season.
“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 said. “Arkansas has invested a lot in their baseball program and have 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.”
Ty Wilmsmeyer with Missouri Baseball
Considering his dad is originally from Columbia and he’s lived in Springfield his whole life, Ty Wilmsmeyer was a Missouri fan from birth.
That’s why, ranked as the No. 22 overall player in the Show Me State by Perfect Game coming out of Glendale High as part of the 2019 class, he turned down a couple of Division II offers to accept a walk-on spot from the Tigers.
“Mizzou was kind of my dream school growing up with my dad being from Columbia, so I wanted to take that opportunity at Mizzou,” Wilmsmeyer said. “I’ve been a walk-on there the last four years and was fortunate enough to be able to earn my spot and get some playing time.”
Although he was listed as a shortstop in his Perfect Game profile, a position at which he was ranked 239th in the country, Wilmsmeyer said he was recruited by Missouri as an outfielder.
However, he was listed as an “infielder/right-handed pitcher” on the roster and served as the Tigers’ backup shortstop in 2020 because that’s where he was needed.
After making just one appearance before the pandemic shut everything down, Wilmsmeyer shifted to the outfield as a sophomore and has played exclusively center field ever since.
A part-time starter in 2021, he has been the full-time starter in center the last two years at Missouri and his numbers have ticked up each season.
Wilmsmeyer hit just .244 in 45 at bats as a sophomore. That increased to .273 in 183 at bats in 2022 and then last year, in 193 at bats, he hit .311. He also added some power this past season.
His OPS held steady between his sophomore (.690) and junior (.687) campaigns, but shot up to .862 in 2023 — largely thanks to his slugging percentage increasing by 127 points, as he had 18 extra-base hits. Seven of those were home runs and each of them came in SEC play, during which he posted an .888 OPS.
“The coaching staff was really incredible in helping us develop our talent,” Wilmsmeyer said. “Obviously experience in this league (helps). This league is very tough and being able to see that pitching year in and year out on a consistent basis really helped me mature as a hitter and I hope it continues this next year.”
Despite those individual improvements, Missouri’s status as a cellar dweller in the SEC remained the same. The Tigers haven’t made the NCAA Tournament since joining the conference in 2013 and won less than half of their total games (.491 winning percentage) during Wilmsmeyer’s four years there, including an abysmal 28-62 SEC record. Over that same time frame, Arkansas went a combined 60-30 in conference play.
There were some good moments, such as jumping into the top 25 after beating Texas and TCU at the College Baseball Showdown and sweeping Tennessee to open SEC play this year, but it wasn’t sustained. Missouri managed to make the SEC Tournament, but after a one-and-done showing in Hoover, head coach Steve Bieser was fired.
That was the final push Wilmsmeyer needed to hit the transfer portal, something he had already been considering.
“I’ve loved my time at Mizzou and wouldn’t trade those memories or people for anything,” Wilmsmeyer said. “I loved being up there, but just kind of needed a fresh start to my baseball career.
“Obviously with Coach Bieser and his staff leaving, there was kind of an opportunity there for me to explore some different options, different avenues.”
One of his teammates during his final season with the Tigers was former Arkansas catcher Dylan Leach. A self-described “college baseball nut,” Wilmsmeyer had already talked to Leach about playing for the Razorbacks.
He reached out to Leach again when Arkansas contacted him through the portal and received a review that helped make up his mind.
“Dylan was a player I reached out to just to get his perspective on it and the coaching staff and the culture of the clubhouse,” Wilmsmeyer said. “Obviously it didn’t work out for him there, but he had positive things to say about the program and said he enjoyed his time there, so it was good to hear that from him even though things might not have worked out for him at that spot.”
How He Fits with Arkansas Baseball
When healthy, the Razorbacks had one of the best outfields in the SEC. The transfer trio of Jared Wegner (Creighton), Tavian Josenberger (Kansas) and Jace Bohrofen (Oklahoma) combined to slash .306/.434/.586 with 41 home runs, 136 RBIs and 151 runs.
Unfortunately for Arkansas baseball, it will have to replace all of them in 2024 — including Josenberger, who manned center field.
Considering how much heralded freshman Mason Neville struggled last season, striking out in 20 of his 27 at bats, and the fact that top-100 recruit Kendall George is likely to get picked in this summer’s MLB Draft, the door is seemingly open for someone like Ty Wilmsmeyer to come in and take over that starting job.
Wilmsmeyer actually posted a higher OPS (.888) in SEC play than Josenberger (.849), plus he was 21 of 24 on stolen base attempts. Stealing isn’t a huge aspect of Arkansas’ offense, but it shows he has the speed typically needed to play center field.
Throw in the fact that Wilmsmeyer’s only action in the corner outfield spots was in fall scrimmages and practices, as he was solely a center fielder for the Tigers, and it makes sense that he’d slot in there for the Razorbacks — but he isn’t taking that for granted.
“I’m not really sure where they’re going to have me,” Wilmsmeyer said. “That’s not really my (role) to make that call. I’m just going to go in and try to compete for a spot the best I can.
“If center field is where I end up, that’d be great. Just trying to find a starting spot and compete for a job there, so I’m not going to speculate on where I might be. I know I have to come in and earn my way on.”
That team-first attitude was apparent throughout Wilmsmeyer’s interview with Best of Arkansas Sports.
When asked about his experience on the mound, which includes seven career appearances in which he’s allowed three earned runs in 11 innings, he said it was due to injuries on the pitching staff that left Missouri shorthanded — similar to what led to Ben McLaughlin pitching a couple times for Arkansas in 2023. He added that he doesn’t expect to pitch in Fayetteville, but did say that “if it’ll help the team win, I’m all for it.”
After three years of fighting to simply make the SEC Tournament by not finishing in the bottom two spots of the conference standings, Wilmsmeyer is looking forward to playing on a team with goals of capturing a conference and national title.
That’s the reputation Arkansas baseball has across the country and Wilmsmeyer got an up-close view of their style in 2022 when the Tigers hosted the Razorbacks in Columbia. It was a tightly contested series in which Arkansas won two of three games.
“I remember us in the clubhouse talking (about) obviously they’re a very good team, but they’re very fundamentally sound and they don’t make many mistakes,” Wilmsmeyer said. “They might not have a ton of huge, flashy players that (garner) national headlines, but I know the coaching staff is very good about drilling in the fundamentals and not making mistakes, not making pitches over the heart of the plate or being solid defensively. It’s hard to beat a team that doesn’t make mistakes.”
What’s Next for Ty Wilmsmeyer
After four seasons as a walk-on at Missouri, Ty Wilmsmeyer will drop that title by receiving some financial assistance from Arkansas baseball.
In return, the Razorbacks are getting a transfer already familiar with the grind that is SEC baseball. Wilmsmeyer has produced against the likes of LSU, Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, etc.
That should make it a smooth transition for both parties and that’s another reason he opted to head south and play for the Razorbacks – and likely something that attracted them to him in the first place.
“They don’t want to change any big pieces of me approach-wise, hitting-wise, anything like that,” Wilmsmeyer said. “There’s going to be a couple minor tweaks to kind of help me maximize my potential there. I wouldn’t say there are any huge boxes that need to be checked.
“Just coming in and being myself, honestly, which was a huge piece of it. I’m more of a table setter, I’m not a table clearer, so to speak. I’ll get on base, swipe a few bags and that’s kind of my game. Hopefully I’ll be able to supply some of that for Arkansas.”
Instead of playing summer ball in one of the many collegiate leagues across the county, Wilmsmeyer is back home for an internship with Springfield Underground, an underground warehouse facility that stores cold-packaged foods and similar products.
It’s admittedly not the most exciting job, but it’s the final requirement for his Business Management degree at Missouri before heading to Arkansas as a graduate transfer.
Wilmsmeyer plans to work in real estate when his playing days are over, but he hopes he can delay getting a “real job” a little bit longer. While professional baseball remains a dream, his more immediate goals involve something he didn’t experience much with the Tigers: winning.
“Obviously the last four years we haven’t had a ton of success in conference, record-wise,” Wilmsmeyer said. “It’s not as much fun to play when you’re losing, so…my last year, I wanted to go out and be able to win some more baseball games, have some more fun playing ball and hopefully chase that dream of making it to Omaha.”
2024 Arkansas Baseball Roster Tracker
Exhausted Eligibility (3)
- John Bolton
- Brady Slavens
- Jared Wegner
Can Return, but Eligible for MLB Draft (16)
- Cody Adcock – senior
- Jace Bohrofen – senior
- Caleb Cali – fifth-year senior
- Dylan Carter – fifth-year senior
- Koty Frank – sixth-year super senior
- Nick Griffin – redshirt junior
- Hunter Grimes – sixth-year super senior
- Hunter Hollan – senior
- Peyton Holt – super senior
- Tavian Josenberger – senior
- Will McEntire – fifth-year senior
- Ben McLaughlin – senior
- Zack Morris – super senior
- Hudson Polk – senior
- Parker Rowland – senior
- Jaxon Wiggins – senior
Can Return, but Not Draft Eligible (18)
- Ben Bybee – sophomore
- Parker Coil – sophomore
- Kendall Diggs – junior
- Cooper Dossett – sophomore
- Jake Faherty – redshirt sophomore
- Sean Fitzpatrick – sophomore
- Christian Foutch – sophomore
- Jordan Huskey – redshirt freshman
- Josh Hyneman – redshirt freshman
- Jayson Jones – sophomore
- Cal Kilgore – redshirt sophomore
- Austin Ledbetter – junior
- Mason Neville – sophomore
- Reese Robinett – sophomore
- Hagen Smith – junior
- Peyton Stovall – junior
- Brady Tygart – junior
- Gage Wood – sophomore
Incoming Freshmen (21)
- RHP Jaewoo Choo
- RHP Jonah Conradt
- LHP Hunter Dietz
- LHP Colin Fisher
- C/UTL Nate Franco
- RHP Gabe Gaeckle
- OF Kendall George
- LHP Adam Hachman
- C Ryder Helfrick
- LHP Tucker Holland
- RHP Barrett Kent
- INF Walker Martin
- RHP Tate McGuire
- INF Aidan Miller
- RHP Dylan Questad
- INF/RHP Diego Ramos
- LHP Jack Smith
- INF/RHP Kade Smith
- INF Nolan Souza
- C/INF Ty Waid
- INF Nazzan Zanetello
Incoming Transfers (6)
- OF Will Edmunson (Hutchinson C.C.)
- C Hudson White (Texas Tech)
- OF Ty Wilmsmeyer (Missouri)
- UTL Jack Wagner (Tarleton State)
- SS Wahiwa Aloy (Sacramento State)
- LHP Stone Hewlett (Kansas)
Entered Transfer Portal (2)
- Isaac Webb
- Harold Coll (story)
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