SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Northwest Arkansas Naturals return home on Tuesday, and any Razorback baseball fans that head out to Arvest Ballpark this week will spot a familiar face in the San Antonio Missions bullpen.

Former Razorback pitcher Kevin Kopps, the 2021 Golden Spikes Award winner as the best player in the nation, has appeared in 33 games for the San Diego Padres’ AA affiliate this season. Kopps was the second Hog to win the Golden Spikes Award, following outfielder Andrew Benintendi in 2015.

Kopps was a third-round draft pick in 2021 after a dominant final season in Fayetteville where he went 12-1 with 11 saves, an ERA of 0.90, and a 0.76 WHIP. This season, he has four saves for the Missions and 40 strikeouts in 40.2 innings pitched. He also recorded the final three outs of a combined no-hitter against the Arkansas Travelers on May 15.

The Missions (18-21, 56-50) come to Springdale having already secured a playoff spot, winning the Texas League South Division’s first-half title with a 38-29 record, three games ahead of second-place Frisco. San Antonio’s pitching staff has ranked among the Texas League’s best from the start of the season, ranking third in ERA (4.56) and tied for fourth in WHIP (1.46) with the fewest home runs allowed (96) of any Double-A team.

The Naturals (13-26, 44-63) are coming off a series that featured the long-awaited Double-A debuts of catcher and 2021 draft pick Luca Tresh (MLB Pipeline Royals’ No. 25), as well as outfielder Diego Hernandez (MLB Pipeline Royals’ No. 30).

The six-game series opens on Tuesday, August 16 at 7:05 p.m. and features a Nick Pratto bobblehead giveaway on Saturday, August 20 for the first 1,500 fans, courtesy of Unify Financial Credit Union.