CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The Arkansas baseball team earned a spot at No. 6 in the Perfect Game Preseason Poll that was released earlier today. The Razorbacks join five other SEC teams in the top 25, all of which they will face at some point during the season.
Four teams ranked in the top 25 will visit Baum Stadium this year, including No. 4 Texas Tech (April 24-25), No. 8 Kentucky (March 16-18), No. 15 Texas A&M (May 11-13), and No. 23 Texas (March 13-14). Arkansas will travel to top-ranked and defending national champion Florida (March 23-25), while also visiting No. 11 Ole Miss (March 29-31), No. 12 LSU (May 4-6), and No. 25 Mississippi State (April 20-22).
Offensively, the Hogs return a potent lineup that includes six of its top eight hitters from a year ago. Shortstop Jax Biggers is back after hitting .338 with four home runs and 37 RBIs, as he was the first Razorback primary shortstop to hit over .300 in a season since Scott Hode in 2005.
Captaining the outfield is freshman All-American Dominic Fletcher. Fletcher was, arguably, the best freshman hitter in the SEC last year with a .291 average, 12 home runs, and 37 RBIs. His 12 long balls was just one off from tying the Arkansas freshman record set by Zack Cox back in 2009, but were the most among all freshman in the SEC.
On the mound, Arkansas returns the heart of its pitching staff in preseason All-American Blaine Knight along with redshirt sophomore Isaiah Campbell, junior Kacey Murphy, and junior Jake Reindl. Entering his second year as the Arkansas pitching coach, Wes Johnson hopes to continue seeing the pitching success the Razorbacks had last year, which combined for a 3.61 team ERA and a school-record 619 strikeouts.
Arkansas is scheduled to open the 2018 season against Bucknell on Friday, Feb. 16 with first pitch at 3 p.m. at Baum Stadium. Season tickets, mini-plan, and group tickets are now on sale through the Razorback Ticket Office.
2018 Perfect Game NCAA Division I Baseball Preseason Poll
Rank Team (2017 Final Record) 2017 Finish
1 Florida (52-19) College World Series Champion
2 Oregon State (56-6) College World Series
3 TCU (50-18) College World Series
4 Texas Tech (45-17) Lubbock Regional
5 Florida (46-23) College World Series
6 Arkansas (45-19) Fayetteville Regional
7 North Carolina (49-14) Chapel Hill Regional
8 Kentucky (43-23) Louisville Super Regional
9 Miami (32-27) Did not make postseason
10 Stanford (42-16) Stanford Regional
11 Ole Miss (32-25) Did not make postseason
12 LSU (52-20) College World Series
13 NC State (36-25) Lexington Regional
14 Louisville (53-12) College World Series
15 Texas A&M (41-23) College World Series
16 UCLA (30-27) Long Beach Regional
17 Indiana (34-24-2) Lexington Regional
18 Oklahoma (35-24) Louisville Regional
19 Cal State Fullerton (39-24) College World Series
20 Duke (30-28) Did not make postseason
21 Houston (42-21) Houston Regional
22 Sam Houston State (44-23) Tallahassee Super Regional
23 Texas (39-24) Long Beach Regional
24 Clemson (42-21) Clemson Regional
25 Mississippi State (40-27) Baton Rouge Super Regional