As the old Meat Loaf song goes, “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” in love or baseball.
Taking two out of three games in last weekend’s series with the Texas A&M Aggies kept Dave Van Horn’s Razorbacks on top of the SEC West, in a tie with Vanderbilt for No. 1 in the SEC, and as the undisputed No. 1 team in the college baseball ranks.
Despite letting the final game of the A&M series get away from them 11-10 in a wild and wooly affair Sunday afternoon, the Hogs stand a sterling 30-6 overall and 11-4 in SEC play. The Razorbacks have won every SEC series thus far this season by racking up some simply splendid offensive numbers.
Next up for the No. 1 Razorbacks
Grambling State – Canceled
5 p.m. Tuesday, April 20
April 22-24 – at South Carolina
As Razorback fan Ryan Folkes pointed out on Twitter Monday, Arkansas led the nation with 70 home runs, 224 walks, and 306 runs, and lead the SEC with 269 RBI, 626 total bases, .412 on-base percentage, and .979 fielding percentage. All of that has added up to 30 victories for the Razorbacks which ties them for the most wins so far this season.
As Hog fans, we need to soak that up and marinate in it just a little bit. We’re in the midst of an outstanding season in so many respects.
While Van Horn has routinely provided Hog fans with outstanding teams during his tenure as head coach, you have to reach back to the mid 1990s since a Razorback squad has been so highly ranked for so long in a revenue sport.
That’s significant. Fans need to enjoy these heady times for all they are worth.
Now, of course, as Van Horn has pointed out being No. 1 at midseason can become a historical footnote really quickly in a league like the SEC and in a game like baseball. The Hogs have five of their 10 SEC series left to play in the regular season, and at the moment, each one of them is more important than the five Arkansas has already won.
As strong as the Razorbacks have been, the Hogs starting pitching is a nagging itch for Van Horn and pitching coach Matt Hobbs to sort out. For the most part this season, Van Horn and Hobbs have done an excellent job of knowing when to hang with their hurlers and when to go get them. And of course, the Razorbacks offensive and defensive prowess has allowed them to make some enormous comebacks this season.
We almost saw another in the loss to Mississippi State on Sunday. The Hogs were a well-timed base rap away from the sweep. It was that close in a contest that Van Horn concluded was a game the Hogs just did not play very well in.
It seems most SEC squads other than Vanderbilt are having similar pitching struggles. A lot of games are determined by which team’s middle relief holds up the best once the starter is chased off the mound by the league’s prolific hitters. Then it’s whose closer has the best stuff at the end.
I have to say, it makes for some pretty compelling ballgames. Many games it’s like walking a tightrope.
Here’s hoping the Razorbacks can maintain their balance in the back half of the conference slate. I have to say it’s pretty fun to write that the Razorbacks are No. 1 team in the land week after week.