Diamond Hogs have a hard final stretch ahead of them

Apr 14, 2024; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama base runner Gage Miller (12) is doubled off at first by
Apr 14, 2024; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama base runner Gage Miller (12) is doubled off at first by / Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News / USA

The Hogs have been on a roll, winning one weekend after another. Aside from the set at Alabama, Arkansas has won every series, sweeping three of their SEC opponents, and in the process, manufactured the longest home-game winning streak in Arkansas history.

However, when you dig deeper into the Razorbacks schedule, the hype starts to fade. Arkansas has played Mizzou, Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss, Alabama, South Carolina, and Florida. Only two of those are currently ranked in D1 Baseball's top 25. The Hogs split those series 1-1.

Of course, the performance on the mound has been spectacular, but Arkansas' offense leaves a lot to be desired. Now, the Diamond Hogs are scheduled to face three of the best squads in the conference in a row. 

No. 8 Kentucky

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the season, the Wildcats are 33-9 on the year and 16-5 in conference play. Kentucky has swept Georgia, Ole Miss, Alabama, and Auburn.

From purely a statistics point of view, Kentucky should be a middle-of-the-pack team. However, they are incredibly good at stealing bases. The Wildcats lead the conference with 92, 14 more than the next team. They also excel at small-ball offense. Kentucky has 27 runs on sacrifice bunts and another 19 on fly balls.

Kentucky is a decent pitching team, but there are some areas where Arkansas can take advantage. The Wildcats are last in the conference in struck-out batters but fifth in walks allowed and second in walks allowed. So if opposing batters aren't struck out, walked, or allowed a hit, what's happening?

Batters are making contact but are either put out or fly out. Pair that with the fact Kentucky lost its last two series, Arkansas has a hitter's chance.

No. 16 Mississippi State

Mississippi State began the season on a horrible note. With a record of 4-4, the Bulldogs split a four-game series with Air Force, swept in a midweek series against Austin Peay, and lost another game to Georgia Southern. 

However, State has fought back to national relevancy and is now the No. 16 team in the country. Like Kentucky, their batting stats aren't all that impressive, but the Bulldogs make their living playing small ball. They're top-5 in sacrifice bunts, sacrifice flies, and stolen bases. 

On the other hand, unlike Kentucky, Mississippi State is very good on the bump. They rank in the top five in team earned run average, opposing batting average, and batters struck out. Make no bones about it. The Bulldogs are a top-10 team that had a bad start. Luckily, Arkansas gets them at home. 

No. 1 Texas A&M

In contrast with the teams above, the Aggies were projected to be at the top and stayed there. After Arkansas lost its series to Alabama, Texas A&M jumped the Hogs, taking the No. 1 ranking.

A&M has been a force to be reckoned with this season. The Aggies are top-5 in nearly every category of stats you can find. Pitching, fielding, and batting are all elite. Their fielding numbers aren't great, but in context, they don't give up as many chances for fielding stats.

It's, by far, the biggest test Arkansas will face in the regular season. Oh, and the series is in College Station.


Both the Kentucky and A&M series are away. That means losses won't weighted as heavily in the RPI. If the Diamond Hogs can avoid a sweep and, maybe, split the two series, Arkansas should call it a success.

With Mississippi State, it's a different story. Arkansas plays them in Fayetteville, and the Razorbacks must do their best to protect their home field. However, it's arguably the easiest series left of the schedule, so the Hogs must take advantage.

If they can do those two things, the Razorbacks should have a top-8 seed locked up regardless of what happens in the SEC Tournament. Even if it doesn't happen, Arkansas has a good enough resume, including the best pitching staff in the country, to make an argument to host a regional and super regional.