In every sport it is hard to get a reading on any team, predict how they finish, who will be players of the years and how far a team will advance in the postseason (or make it there). Arkansas has a very favorable non-conference schedule to manage through. If they can win their home series and win a couple in the road, this young Razorback team could have a repeat of the 2017 season.
Eastern Illinois, Fayetteville (3 games)
I believe Arkansas will opens up with firepower early on. Casey Martin gets game one started right off the bat with a double. Then, Heston Kjerstad steps to the plate and as a wild pitch gets away from the catcher, the speedy Martin steals third and Arkansas threatens to score. The next pitch, Kjerstad bombs a home run into center field as the floodgates open. Arkansas wins their season opener 19-3.
Game two has true freshman, Connor Noland as the starting pitcher. He pitches 6 3/4 scoreless innings and impressed as the Hogs grind out a 7-1 victory. Matt Goodheart records his first home run in his career. Casey Martin almost hits the cycle as he misses a home run.
Game three has Jacob Kostyshock starting his first career game at pitcher. Kostyshock gives up three runs early but settles down after that. The Razorback infield rotation seems sluggish early after an error but they soon wake up Trevor Ezell, who moved from second base to first after surgery during the offseason makes a solid case to stay there after a solid debut as a Razorback. After being ripped a new one in the dugout, the Hogs regained their defensive prowess. Arkansas’ bats wake up for a Sunday slugfest to win 14-5.
Eastern Illinois comes to serve their purpose this weekend in Fayetteville as a very winnable three game series to start the season. I say Arkansas gets their first sweep of the season and the young Razorbacks show they are not a team to take lightly for 2019.
-Southern California: 3 game road series in LA
Arkansas goes 1-2
-Memphis: midweek game @ Baum: 10-3 HOGS
Stony Brook: 3 game home series
Charlotte: Midweek home series
Louisiana Tech: 3 game home series
Western Illinois: Midweek home series
Missouri*: SEC Opening Home Series
Texas: Midweek road series
Alabama*: SEC Road Series
Missouri State: Midweek Road Game
Ole Miss*: SEC Home Series
Little Rock: Midweek home game
Auburn*: SEC road series
Oral Roberts: Midweek home game
Vanderbilt*: SEC Road Series
Arkansas-Pine Bluff: Midweek Home game
Mississippi St.*: SEC Home Series
Northwestern State: Midweek Home Series
Tennessee*: SEC Home Series
Grambling St.: Midweek Home Series @Little Rock
Kentucky: SEC Road Series
LSU*: SEC Home Series
Texas A&M*: SEC Road Series
Season Record: 39-17 (17-13)
Player of the Year: Casey Martin
Newcomer of the Year: Matt Goodheart
Team home runs: 76