The No. 6 Arkansas Razorbacks travel to Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock to face the Lipscomb Bison from Nashville, Tenn. at 6 p.m. in the Hogs’ final mid-week regular-season game.
The contest will not be televised nor is it available on the ESPN+/SEC+ streaming app because of the cost restriction of the UA offering such a streaming broadcast away from its home venues.
The game, however, will be on the radio locally on 92.1 FM The Ticket/KQSM-FM with Phil Elson on play-by-play.
Lefty Park Coli (0-0, 6.23 ERA) will get his first start for the Hogs, and he’ll be matched against fellow lefty Michael Dunkelberger (2-6, 6.35 ERA).
The Hogs’ regular season is winding down with just three more series before post-season play opens with the superfluous yet compelling Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament at Hoover, Ala. on May 23-28.
Arkansas (33-11, 14-7) travels to Starkville, Miss. this weekend for a big series with the Mississippi State Bulldogs (24-20, 6-15) before hosting No. 3 South Carolina (35-8, 14-6) on May 12-14 for the final regular-season SEC series at Baum-Walker Stadium and then closing out the regular season at No. 5 Vanderbilt (32-11, 16-5) on May 18-20.
No. 6 Arkansas (33-11, 14-7 SEC)
When: 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 2
Where: Dickey-Stephens Park, North Little Rock
6 p.m. Friday — at Mississippi State (SEC+)
6 p.m. Saturday — at Mississippi State (ESPN2)
1 p.m. Sunday — at Mississippi State (SEC+)
Even though it is late in the season, nothing has really been decided yet in terms of pole-positioning for the SEC Tournament or which SEC squads will earn national seeds for the NCAA Baseball Tournament, which will begin play the first weekend in June.
The Razorbacks are in line to be one of the NCAA’s eight national seeds as things stand at the moment, but a lot can change in a month. Mississippi State has struggled this season but the Bulldogs won’t go down easily this weekend, especially at home.
The Hogs, themselves, can’t look past tonight’s game with Lipscomb much less Mississippi State, but we can.
The final two series with the Gamecocks and the Vandy Boys will be huge and will go a long way in deciding if the Hogs will host throughout the NCAA Tournament or go on the road again like last season.
It appears the Razorbacks will be a host for the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament as a top 16 seed where Arkansas stands today, but how the next three weeks play out likely will decide if the Razorbacks are one of the top eight national seeds, which play at home up to the College World Series at Omaha, Neb., as long as they keep winning.
With an RPI of No. 5 and national rankings as high as No. 6, the Razorbacks are in a solid position to be a national seed, but the Hogs probably need to win two of their next three series to make sure they remain in that position.
The good news is that the deeper we go into the season, the shorter the Hogs’ injury list should be. Pitcher Brady Tygart got an inning of work in the first game of the three-game sweep of Texas A&M last weekend.
Outfielders Jared Wenger (broken thumb) and Tavian Josenberger (hamstring) are on the mend, though their return is not imminent. Wenger could possibly return for the South Carolina series, while Josenberger is more likely to return for the Vandy series, according to reports. Both will be reevaluated next week.
Injuries are ever good, but sometimes the result makes a team stronger in the end. Should Josenberger and Wenger regain their vitality by the time postseason play begins, Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn will only have more options as the season moves on because of the Razorbacks who have stepped forward to fill the gap have improved.
Guys like Kendall Diggs and Hunter Grimes have played well with Josenberger and Wenger out. Van Horn now knows he can count on them. Jace Bohrofen, the Hogs’ regular left fielder, has slid over to center field and picked up valuable experience there.
Other than being swept by Georgia, the Razorbacks have handled the injury issues well, and having to do so might be a blessing in disguise by the time the squad reaches postseason play.
Having the tenacity and resilience that the Razorbacks have shown in working through this series of injuries is a great quality for a team looking to make a deep run into postseason play.
SEC West Standings
LSU 15-5, 35-8
Arkansas 14-7, 33-11
Alabama 9-12, 30-15
Auburn 9-12, 25-18
Texas A&M 9-12, 25-19
Miss. St. 6-15, 24-20
Ole Miss 5-16, 23-21
SEC East Standings
Vanderbilt 16-5, 32-11
South Carolina 14-6, 35-8
Florida 14-7, 35-10
Kentucky 11-10, 30-13
Tennessee 11-10, 30-14
Georgia 8-13, 24-20
Missouri 5-16, 24-19