As Razorback baseball gets set to begin in less than 40 days, the Hogs will be bringing four preseason All-Americans into the new year as Heston Kjerstad, Casey Martin, Dominic Fletcher and Matt Cronin were all recognized by Perfect Game Tuesday morning.
Kjerstad is the lone Hog on the first team, while Cronin and Martin made the second team. Fletcher rounds out the list on the third team making Arkansas one of only two teams with four or more players named preseason All-Americans.
After winning the 2018 SEC Freshman of the Year award, Kjerstad comes into his sophomore season as one of the most highly touted players in the nation. Kjerstad was named a freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball and the NCBWA, while also making the All-SEC Second Team and the SEC All-Freshman Team.
The Amarillo, Texas native started all 69 games for the Hogs in left field and finished second on the team with a .332 batting average, while leading with 87 hits, 14 home runs and 58 RBIs. His hit total, home runs and RBIs were all Arkansas freshman records.
As for Martin, he practically matched Kjerstad’s numbers as he led the team with a .345 average, an average that also led all freshmen in the SEC. He was named to the All-SEC Second Team and SEC All-Freshman Team at the end of the regular season and was tabbed a freshman All-American by the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper as well.
Martin was a key part in Arkansas’ run to their ninth College World Series appearance last year as he led all Razorbacks with a .352 batting average in the NCAA Tournament, including a .357 clip in the CWS. He totaled 10 of his 19 postseason hits in Omaha and made the CWS All-Tournament Team.
On the mound, Cronin returns as one of the top relievers in the nation after setting a UA single-season record with 14 saves. The save total tied for the second-most in the SEC and was the 14th most in the nation. Over his 48.1 innings, Cronin struck out 59 batters, which was the sixth-most on the staff and he held opponents to a .154 batting average, which was the lowest on the team for the second-consecutive season.
Fletcher returns to captain the outfield after another stellar year both defensively and at the plate. The junior notched his second-straight year with a .280 average or higher and 10 or more home runs becoming the first Razorback since Rodney Nye (1998-99) to hit 10 or more homers in his first two seasons. He finished his sophomore season with 23 multi-hit games and 11 multi-RBI games, which were both higher totals than his freshman season.
Fletcher’s best performances came in the postseason as he hit .346 in the College World Series with nine hits, two home runs and eight RBIs. He was one of only two players in the CWS to record a four-hit game (vs. Texas Tech) last year and he was the first Razorback to do so since Jeff King in 1985.
Arkansas will open the 2019 season against Eastern Illinois on Feb. 15 at Baum Stadium. Tickets are now on sale through the Razorback Ticket Office