FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — College baseball is a strange sport. Only here would a team like Arkansas, ranked sixth in the nation, be called “overrated” by its own fans.
The reason? Arkansas has not won an SEC series on the road all year long. It’s a good thing, then, that they’re at home this weekend.
Arkansas is set for the home stretch. Dave Van Horn’s team hosts Texas A&M for three games this weekend then hits the road for three games at Georgia in the last weekend of the regular season. Those six games will determine where the Diamond Hogs land come NCAA Tournament time.
Sort of. Arkansas will be playing a regional at Baum Stadium almost regardless. As long as the Razorbacks don’t go, say, 0-6, in the final six games of the regular season, Arkansas already has done enough to lock up a top-16 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Where the fear comes from — which is why the “overrated” word is bandied about — is a top-8 seed. Arkansas needs a top-8, and to win the regional round in the first place, to host Super Regionals in Fayetteville. Anything lower than a top-8, if Arkansas were to win a regional, and the Diamond Hogs would have to travel, with the stipulation being the team opposite Arkansas was higher-seeded.
The Texas A&M series is important in that sense. Consider, too, the tightness of the SEC West. The league is the best in college baseball and there is some cachet to winning a division in the conference. Arkansas currently holds a one-game lead on Auburn and Ole Miss in the West and a two-game lead on LSU and Texas A&M. Hardware would suit the team nicely.
And, really, reaching the four necessary wins is a lot easier if Arkansas gets most of them at home versus on the road.
Arkansas baseball vs. Texas A&M series information
- Friday, May 11, 2018 — 6 p.m. CT
- Saturday, May 12, 2018 — 1 p.m. CT
- Sunday, May 13, 2018 — Noon CT
How can I watch?
The series is getting the big-time treatment. Game 1 can be seen on SEC Network. Game 2 is on ESPN. Game 3 is on ESPN2. All games can be seen on WatchESPN app.
Who is calling the Arkansas games?
Phil Elson and Bubba Carpenter will provide the radio broadcasts on the Razorback Sports Network on IMG for radio, per usual.
No more regular-season games in Fayetteville. Arkansas heads to Georgia next weekend for the final series with the Bulldogs. After that comes the SEC Tournament.