Heading into the Fayetteville Super Regionals, college baseball experts are divided on who will win between Arkansas and Ole Miss. Kendall Rogers of D1baseball.com thinks Arkansas will take it.
Indeed he thinks Arkansas will play Vanderbilt for the national championship, as he noted on a recent D1baseball podcast. He thinks the Hogs addressed many of the question marks hanging over the program entering the season. Plus, Rogers thinks Arkansas’ 2019 lineup is more balanced than its 2018 edition. “I think this year’s lineup is a little bit better at the bottom,” he said.
But Rogers’ podcast co-host, Aaron Fitt, isn’t so high on the Hogs. He predicts Ole Miss will win. “I love the lineup, the whole thing, the experience, the firepower, I think the athleticism is really good. You’ve got superstar defenders at short stop and at catcher with [Grae] Kessenger and Cooper Johnson. And Jacob Adams [a Conway native] at second base….”
“Really?,” Rogers asked Fitt after Fitt shared his prediction. “Razorback Twitter’s gonna get after you tomorrow.”
For other experts’ predictions for the Fayetteville Super Regional check out my most recent piece in ArkansasFight.com
Saturday’s Probable Starter – RHP Isaiah Campbell
Redshirt junior right-hander Isaiah Campbell will get the ball for Arkansas’ opening game of the 2019 NCAA Super Regional, making his 17th start of the year. Campbell has been the Hogs’ No. 1 starter from the season opener and has solidified himself as one of the best pitchers in the nation.
Last week, he had his best outing of the season, going eight innings against TCU and giving up just one run on four hits with one walk and eight strikeouts. Campbell was drafted in the Competitive Balance Round B earlier this week to the Seattle Mariners, No. 76 overall.
Arkansas Baseball Player to Watch – INF Jack Kenley
Junior infielder Jack Kenley has had a career year at the plate this season and its continued into the postseason. In last week’s regional, Kenley had two hits in all three games, leading the team with a .600 average with two doubles and two RBIs.
After hitting .133 his freshman year and .222 his sophomore year, Kenley has exploded to hit .324 this season with 12 home runs and 50 RBIs. Kenley didn’t have a home run before this season, but is now third on the team in longballs and was drafted in the eighth round by the Detroit Tigers earlier this week.
2019 NCAA Fayetteville Super Regional Schedule
Saturday, June 8
Sunday, June 9
Game 2 – Arkansas vs. Ole Miss – 2 p.m. CT (ESPNU)
Monday, June 10
Game 3 (if necessary) – Ole Miss vs. Arkansas – 3 p.m. CT (ESPN2)
Arkansas Baseball Eight Facts
>> The Razorbacks won a share of the SEC Western Division title for the second-straight year, finishing with an 20-10 conference record. It’s Arkansas’ sixth division title in school history and fifth under Dave Van Horn.
>> The Razorbacks swept through the NCAA Fayetteville Regional last week and has won four of their last six games. Over that stretch, the Hogs have a 2.42 ERA and opponents are hitting just .157 against the Razorback pitching staff.
>> Arkansas and Ole Miss have never faced off in the NCAA Tournament, but the Razorbacks have faced SEC opponents nine times in the tournament and are 4-5 in those games.
>> A Super Regional win this weekend over Ole Miss will give Arkansas its 10th College World Series appearance in school history and sixth under head coach Dave Van Horn.
>> Over the last three seasons, Arkansas has had the pleasure of playing 14 NCAA Tournament games at Baum-Walker Stadium. In those 14 games, the Razorbacks have hit .301 as a team and are averaging 6.9 runs per game.
>> Combined last week, Arkansas starters (Campbell, Noland, Wicklander) had a combined 0.99 ERA over 18.1 innings and struck out 17, while walking only 2 for an 8.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
>> Isaiah Campbell had his best outing of the year and tie for his best of his career last week, going eight innings against TCU and giving up just one run on four hits with one walk and eight strikeouts. It was his 13th quality start this year.
>> The Razorbacks weren’t expected to hit as many home runs as last year’s record-setting team (98), but have still set a good pace going into the NCAA Regionals. As a team, Arkansas has hit 81 home runs, which ranks second in the SEC and 11th in the nation.