It’s a good thing the powers-that-be behind the NCAA’s baseball tournament are more diligent in selecting their site hosts than in checking state abbreviations.
On Sunday, the NCAA announced that Fayetteville, Arkansas will be one of the 16 regional site hosts for next weekend’s NCAA Regionals that are slated to begin Friday. Its social media communications team didn’t exactly pull this announcement off cleanly.
Fifteen times, the NCAA announced the correct city and correct corresponding state for each host site. But when it came time for Razorback baseball’s turn, the state abbreviation refers to Alaska, not Arkansas:
The AK-for-AR snafu immediately came to the attention of Razorback baseball fans on Twitter.
“This wasn’t a ‘mistype.’ This was straight up ‘not knowing our state abbreviations. Embarrassing,” Reed Simpson wrote.
The NCAA, to its credit, did offer a meme-tastic apology within 25 minutes:
But, to the NCAA’s discredit, it did not actually send out a corrected, new version of its “Fayetteville, Alaska” Tweet. As of Sunday night, the error still stands.
Mistake aside, this is big news for Razorback baseball. It’s the first time in program history that Baum-Walker Stadium has hosted three straight NCAA Regional series. And it puts Arkansas in the driver’s seat for making a second consecutive College World Series (and third in five years).
Arkansas, after all, does work at home come NCAA Tourney time. It’s 23-12 all-time in NCAA Tournament games played in Fayetteville.
Fresh off their first 40-win regular season since 2010 and second 20-win conference season in school history, the Hogs will make their 31stappearance overall in the NCAA Tournament, and 16th in the last 17 years. This is the eighth time Fayetteville has ever been selected.
The Hogs (41-17), currently ranked No. 4 in the nation, and finished the regular season with a 28-6 home record. Over the last three seasons, Arkansas has won 17 of its last 18 weekend series going back 2017.
The Razorback baseball program comes into the postseason with 41 wins and completed the 55-game regular-season schedule with a 40-15 overall record and a 20-10 record in SEC play. It’s the fastest it has won 40 games since 1989. This was the first time under coach Dave Van Horn that the Hogs have won 20 or more games in SEC play.
Each regional field features four teams, playing a double-elimination format.
UPDATE: Arkansas will play against Central Connecticut on Friday. The winner of that game will play the winner of California and TCU. See more – including a video preview from Van Horn — on the match-ups here:
The 16 regional sites for the 2019 NCAA Tournament
- Athens, Georgia – Georgia (44-15)
- Atlanta, Georgia – Georgia Tech (41-17)
- Baton Rouge, Louisiana – LSU (37-24)
- Chapel Hill, North Carolina – North Carolina (42-17)
- Corvallis, Oregon – Oregon St. (36-18-1)
- Fayetteville, Arkansas – Arkansas (41-17)
- Greenville, North Carolina – East Carolina (43-15)
- Los Angeles, California – UCLA (47-8)
- Louisville, Kentucky – Louisville (43-15)
- Lubbock, Texas – Texas Tech (39-17)
- Morgantown, West Virginia – West Virginia (37-20)
- Nashville, Tennessee – Vanderbilt (49-10)
- Oxford, Mississippi – Ole Miss (37-25)
- Stanford, California – Stanford (41-11)
- Starkville, Mississippi – Mississippi St. (46-13)
- Stillwater, Oklahoma – Oklahoma St. (35-18)
What the Experts Are Saying about Razorback Baseball
Pig Trail Nation’s Drew Amman talked with two of the nation’s best college baseball reporters about the chances of Arkansas baseball breaking through to win its first national championship. Here are some excerpts:
“When you look at the SEC, really the top four teams, Georgia, Mississippi State, Vandy and Arkansas are all teams I feel like have a chance to win a national championship. Again the big key for me when I look at Arkansas is how those two freshmen pitch throughout the postseason. It is a little different pitching in a weekend in the SEC, then pitching with your season on the line…”-Kendall Rogers, D1Baseball
“For what you see week in and week out for this ten week season in the SEC you are battle tested. No matter what they get thrown by the committee in a regional or super regional if they get there. I think they are going to have some experience they can fall back on and say we have been through something like this before.”–Teddy Cahill, Baseball America
Make sure to catch their full interviews below: