FAYETTEVILLE – A total of 34 regular season home games, including 17 of the first 21 at home to open the season, and 22 games against teams that made the NCAA Tournament in 2012 highlight the 2013 Arkansas baseball schedule, announced Wednesday by head coach Dave Van Horn
“I think it’s a very competitive schedule,” Coach Van Horn said. “We have a tough early-season tournament at Arizona State where we’ll face some quality competition and the next week we come home and play a good San Diego State team for four games. We’ll know a lot more about where we stand after those eight games. Overall, it’s a schedule that will get us ready if we’re deserving of postseason play.”
Along with the 34 games at Baum Stadium, the Razorbacks will also play in Central Arkansas for the fourth straight year as the Razorbacks face Mississippi Valley State on Wednesday, March 27, at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock. The game is part of a two-game midweek series against MVSU with the game on March 26 being played at Baum Stadium.
“I’m glad it worked out for us to be able to play a game in Central Arkansas this season,” Coach Van Horn said. “It gives the fans in that area of the state a chance to see us play without having to drive too far. There’s been a great response with a packed stadium each of the last three years. I think the players have enjoyed being able to play in the pro ballpark as well.”
Arkansas opens the season with an eight-game homestand. The regular season begins on Friday, Feb. 15, when the Razorbacks host Western Illinois in the first game of a three-game series. Following the weekend series vs. Western Illinois, Arkansas hosts New Orleans (Feb. 19-20) in a midweek series and welcomes Evansville (Feb. 22-24) to town for a three-game weekend series.
Following the season-opening homestand, Arkansas heads to Surprise, Ariz., where it will participate in the Coca-Cola Classic, hosted by Arizona State. The Razorbacks will play four games in the tournament, which runs from Feb. 28-March 3. Arkansas’ opponents and game times for the tournament will be announced at a later date.
Arkansas opens its second long homestand of the early season the following weekend when it hosts San Diego State, which is coached by Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, in a four-game series March 7-10. The Razorbacks will face Alabama A&M March 12 and 13, before opening Southeastern Conference play against Ole Miss March 15-17.
Along with the series against Ole Miss, Arkansas will play home conference series against Mississippi State (March 29-31), LSU (April 12-14), Texas A&M (April 19-21) and Tennessee (May 10-12).
“I think our home conference schedule is about as good as it gets,” Coach Van Horn said. “All five teams that are coming to Baum Stadium are quality opponents. As far as the fans are concerned, this should be a real popular home conference schedule.”
The Razorbacks will also play five road series in league play. Arkansas is scheduled to travel to South Carolina (March 22-24), Alabama (April 5-7), Georgia (April 26-28), Kentucky (May 3-5) and Auburn (May 16-18).
Along with the grueling schedule the SEC provides, Arkansas will be challenged in its midweek games with several quality opponents on the schedule. Arkansas hosts NCAA Tournament teams New Mexico (April 9-10), Oklahoma (April 23) and Missouri State (April 30) in midweek games. The Razorbacks will also travel to Nebraska (April 16-17) for a two-game midweek series.
“There’s really no let up from the weekend to midweek games with quality teams such as Missouri State, Nebraska, New Mexico and Oklahoma, all of which will challenge to be in the NCAA Tournament,” Coach Van Horn said.
The 2013 SEC Baseball Tournament will be played May 21-26 at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala. NCAA Tournament play begins May 30-June 2 with the regional round, while Super Regionals will take place June 7-9. The College World Series will be played June 15-25/26 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.