Baseball

The Arkansas Razorbacks stand for the National Anthem May 12, 2018 before their match up against Texas A&M.

 

The wait for Razorback baseball is finally over. After a trying offseason the Hogs return to the field with plenty of new faces, looking to continue their winning ways.

The Hogs throw their first pitch since the summer Saturday, Feb. 16 at noon at Baum-Walker Stadium, in the first game of a double-header against the Eastern Illinois Panthers. The game was supposed to be played on Friday, but was rescheduled due to poor weather conditions.

The Razorbacks finished 48-21 (including playoffs) in 2018, along with an impeccable 35-5 record at home. They had a great postseason as well, but fell one game short of winning a national title, losing to the Oregon State Beavers in Game three of the College World Series.

The Hogs enter 2019 ranked inside top-20 in polls on baseballamerica.com, D1baseball.com and perfectgame.org.

Eastern Illinois was 23-31 last year, and are ranked eighth in the Ohio Valley Conference on preseason polls at ovcsports.com. The last time the two teams squared off in 2016, Arkansas won two of three games in the series.

Isaiah Campbell starts the season on the bump on opening day. He was their third starter last season, with a 5-7 record and a 4.26 earned run average. Head coach Dave Van Horn confirmed Connor Noland and Jacob Kostyshock will be the other two starters for the weekend.

Connor Noland is a dual-sport athlete for the Razorbacks, playing as a quarterback in four games this season. Van Horn has talked highly of Noland, and so has new pitching coach Matt Hobbs.

“(Hobbs) really likes Connor,” said Van Horn. “(He’s) got good stuff. Very mature, strong, we think he’s going to be a really big part of our pitching staff.”

After this opening series, the Razorbacks head out to Los Angeles for a much larger test. They face the University of Southern California Trojans in a weekend series beginning on Feb. 21.

 

Parker Tillson is in his second year as a sports reporter for The Arkansas Traveler.

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