Seven games into the season and the Razorbacks record stands at 6-1. The most impressive of those victories being the first two games in Los Angeles against the Trojans. Down to their final strike in the bottom of the 10th inning, USC managed to stay alive with a RBI single followed by a walk and then a three run jimmy jack to down the visitors.
The most improved player this year for the Hogs has been Jack Kenley. The 2nd baseman has started all seven games, hitting .308 with seven runs and RBI’s a piece. He also has a home run and a stolen base to go along with the team’s only triple. For comparison, Kenley managed an average just above the Mendoza Line at .227 and one stolen base in all of 2018. He has also cut down on his errors as he is a perfect 32/32 on plays in the field.
In the three hole, the SE Missouri State transfer leads the team with a .423 batting average, seven walks, and six steals. Trevor Ezell is doing DAMAGE. Casey Martin joins Ezell for the team lead in runs and hits, accumulating eight and 11, respectively. The shortstop from Lonoke is ahead of the pack in total bases with 18. Six home runs have been hit by an Arkansas Razorback this year, having been hit by six different members of the team.
Perhaps the most disappointing performance of this young season has been by Heston Kjerstad. The “D1 Baseball” preseason All-American has mustered only seven hits in 32 at bats, good for a .219 average. He only has three walks compared to eight strikeouts. Kjerstad is tied with Jordan McFarland for the worst slugging percentage on the team, clocking in at .286. Coach Dave Van Horn hopes the 2018 team leader in home runs and RBI’s will snap out of his early season funk.
Isaiah Campbell is the only starting pitcher to record a win for Arkansas as he is 2-0, even with a shoddy 5.23 ERA. Connor Noland and Jacob Kostyshock have combined for 17.1 innings and 3 ER across three starts with one appearance coming out of the bullpen from Kosty. Matt Cronin has been his normal self, only allowing one hit and one walk over four innings. The Hog’s shutdown man is two for two on save opportunities thus far as he looks to break his 14 save single season school record set by himself in 2018.
Arkansas takes on Stony Brook from the American East conference in a three game set this weekend. The Seawolves are 3-3 on the year and are led by 2018 first team All-American shortstop Nick Grande according to “Collegiate Baseball”. The Razorbacks will look towards Campbell, Cody Scroggins, and Noland to complete another sweep at Baum Stadium.
Due to potential unpleasant weather on Sunday, the two teams will play a double-header on Friday starting at 1:00 PM CT with the Saturday game being played at the scheduled time of 3:00 PM CT.
I expect the OmaHogs to light the scoreboard up and pour it on the Seawolves, even in the frigid temperatures.