Q. Our first question is from Charlie Golden who wants to know: What’s your assessment of the Fayetteville NCAA Regional? Looks like we got hosed by the selection committee. A national three seed and we will have to beat TCU, one of the hottest regional 2 seeds in the tournament.
A. Not only that but Arkansas opens up against another hot team. Santa Clara has won eight straight games. In their last three games in the West Coast Conference Tournament they beat Portland, St. Mary’s and Portland again by a combined score of 38-6. They are the very definition of a team hitting post season play at the right time.
They have six guys in their lineup hitting .300 or better. Three with double digit home runs. Their team ERA is 4.42. They don’t play a comparable schedule to Arkansas but statistically they hit better and pitch better. Arkansas is much better defensively. Just 38 errors to 52 for Santa Clara.
The crowd factor? Safe to say that these guys haven’t seen anything like the atmosphere of a regional game at Baum. Their average attendance is 352 fans.
Now to TCU. You’re right. After slumping in the middle of the season they’ve won six straight including a 12-5 whipping of Oklahoma State which is hosting a regional.
Remember, the Fogs beat Arkansas 18-6 back on February 18.
Throw in Arizona which lost in the finals of the Pac 12 Tournament and this is anything but a soft regional field.
Q. mousetown wants to know: What is your biggest concern about Arkansas heading into regional play? I feel like we are looking really good right now.
A. Game three pitching, or worse, game four pitching (if necessary) could be an issue with DVH going deep into his bullpen. If the Hogs come up empty at the plate with the tying or lead runners on base like Saturday against the Aggies, that could be a real concern also.
But Arkansas’ .273 team batting average has not been an issue because individual players have usually stepped up.
As long as that doesn’t change Arkansas is in good shape. Their home record of 30-4 is amazing.
Q. Hawgredneck says: I know that the Saturday loss to the Aggies means nothing but it still got to me. There are bigger fish to fry but I’d love to be 5-0 against them instead of 4-1. Guess as a fan I’m never satisfied.
A. It takes discipline. You have to keep reminding yourself that once regional play starts the SEC Tournament means nothing. In a season like this it didn’t mean much before it started.
Arkansas went 2-1 and ended up with the same number of losses as Vanderbilt, the tournament champion.
Q. Pigsfeat asks: Can you explain how baseball determines matchups post season? Is it like basketball where #1 plays #64 down the line?
A. The winner of the number one seeded regional plays the winner of the number 16 seeded regional in super regional. Number two plays number 15 and so on.
However, the visiting three teams in each of the regionals are not necessarily placed there based a national seeding. If the selection committee did that, the number one overall seed would be paired in game one against the last team in. The two seed in that regional field would be the lowest ranked two seed and the same for the three seed.
However, the selection committee takes geography into consideration and other factors which can make for a good TV match up. That’s how Arkansas, in 2021 as the number one national seed, ended up playing a very good Nebraska team in the Fayetteville regional and was paired in the super regional against a super hot North Carolina State team.
Q. Edwardclutch wants to know: Do you think with the new SEC schedule starting next year we will play Missouri earlier in the season or will it stay at the end? I honestly think the reason we struggle in that game every year is because of where it is on the schedule…..
…..By that time we are usually beat up and know if we are bowl eligible or not. So sick of losing what is a very winnable game every year.
A. There’s no way to answer that right now. We don’t even know if Arkansas will continue to play Missouri every year. Arkansas and several other SEC schools are pushing for an eight game football schedule featuring just one permanent opponent with the remaining teams rotated annually.
Here’s a guess. If that plan is approved Missouri will get shoved off on Arkansas as its permanent opponent even though nobody associated with Arkansas would want that.
Why? Because the SEC has decided and Arkansas and Missouri are rivals probably because of geography. As to when that game would by played, since it’s treated like a rivalry game, it would likely continue to be played in rivalry week.
Other possibilities include LSU and Oklahoma.
RazorAlex88 says: Why must we have a dysfunctional Twitter fanbase? There are good fans but also crazy yahoos…..
I’d like to add that A&M Twitter is full of bozos. They are so high on themselves for sending us home a day and game early. They are very unintelligent and I can’t wait to see Vandy lay a whipping on them.
A. You got your wish. Vandy used a big 8th inning to pulverize the Aggies. For all that effort they moved from a three seed to a two seed in the Stanford regional. Does that really matter? Well they’d play Cal State Fullerton either way but they do get to be the home team in their first game. That’s what the SEC Tournament did for the Aggies.
Q. H.L McCamish says: I get why our fans would be pulling for the Aggies to beat Florida and Vandy but I cannot make myself do that ever…..
…They are so idiotic with the bubbles and that dugout game with the bellhop trolley. Did they steal that thing from the team hotel?
A. It would be interesting for someone to do some research and write a guide to the various Aggies traditions and how they got started. If you talked to Arkansas fans I think you’d find that most don’t have an issue with the various traditions of other SEC schools. But I think it’s safe to say that unless you are an Aggie, most of their traditions seem very odd.
Q. WVHogfan wants to know: Does it frustrate you that we seem to strike out too many times on called third strikes; especially when we have men on base…..?
….Is this a coaching philosophy? A couple years ago we had batters striking out by swinging at pitches well out of the strike zone.
A. This stuff comes and goes and it mostly has to do with the individual hitter in specific situations. You strike out looking either because the pitch fooled you or you thought it was a ball and the ump is blind. If a pitcher is walking batters then you might sit on a pitch but not usually on a strike two count.
Q. TimTeNO says: Love the new set! What do you think about it?
Q. I like it. It’s flexible. We can do a lot of different things with it. I’m not a big fan of standing in front of a wall of monitors and pointing at video but it’s a thing right now. Notice that for this show we are sitting behind a movable set. I like that.
We’ll continue to come up with new ways to use it.
Q. Marty Byrde’s proxy asks: With the possibility of another run to Omaha looming, can you give us a refresher on that first trip they made in ’79? What was their path in regionals and who were some of the key players?
A. Lets start with the SWC Tournament.
They Beat Baylor 6-1, lost to Texas 6-2, beat A&M 6-2 and lost to Texas 12-6.
In the East Regional Arkansas beat George Washington 12-11, killed Florida 9-1, beat Delaware 8-6 and beat Delaware again 4-3.
At the College World Series Arkansas beat Pepperdine 5-4, beat Arizona 10-3, beat Texas 9-4. At that point I thought they were gonna win it all.
But they lost Cal State Fullerton twice, 13-10 and 2-1. So close to a national title in baseball. Here we are 42 years later and Arkansas still doesn’t have one. Maybe this is the year.
Q. s-glies wants to know: I’m a big believer in raising kids right. There are few things better for me as a fan than a great athlete who is humble and shows class…..
….Who is the most polite, respectful Razorback you’ve come across in your years covering the various teams?
A. That’s a toughie because there have been many of them but with some thought I came up with Anthony Lucas, a stud wide receiver in the Clint Stoerner years. He made the winning catch against Tennessee in ’99 at what was Razorback Stadium at the time. It was one of the biggest TD catches in school history.
I was around him for four years and I could never get him to stop calling me Mr. Irwin. He said his mother would consider it to be disrespectful. When I finally suggested in his senior year that his mom was 200 miles away and would never know, he said, “My mom is always with me. I would know and therefore she would know.”