FAYETTEVILLE Ark. (KNWA) — Low temperatures didn’t quell hot bats in the Razorback baseball team’s season-opening, 5-1 victory over Eastern Illinois. Fans packed Baum-Walker Stadium despite those temps and tight traffic, and the season debut didn’t stop people from talking about postseason hopes.
“We’re gonna win [the championship] this year,” said Rugby Young, a fan who sat in the ‘Hog Pen’. “We’ve got a really good team. It’s gonna get better and better as time goes on.”
Sometimes things are better when they simply stay the same, and for the Razorbacks, that means consistent winning. The team is turning into a national brand recognizable in any part of the country.
“When I first toured Arkansas, we came to a baseball game, and that’s what sold me on coming here,” said Amelia Reynolds, a freshman who moved to Fayetteville from Boston.
Fans expressed excitement about two star players, both of whom lived up to expectations in the season-opening outing. Connor Noland pitched a pristine game, while Heston Kjerstad belted two home-run bombs to bolster the offense.
“We’ve been talking about them guys for two or three years,” said Ty Winters, who drove from Jonesboro with a few friends for the game. “They’re kinda the men on campus. We’re gonna see what they’re gonna do. They’re projected to do pretty good.”
While it literally couldn’t have been any earlier in the season, fans found themselves envisioning a future Omaha run.
“I don’t know if I’m confident in us winning or not, but we might get there,” said Madison Langley, a freshman from North Little Rock.
Should this win be the first of many in a potential reckoning of the past two seasons, many of the same fans who filed in Friday will trek to the land of corn and baseball when this campaign’s wrapped up.
“Yes sir, that’s where we’re headed,” Winters said. “If they go, we’ll go. We’ll be there.”