Going into his senior season at the University of Houston, Lael Lockhart had every intention of finishing his college baseball career as a Cougar. However, when the season was cancelled due to the Coronavirus, the left-handed pitcher saw an opportunity that he had to take advantage of.
“I kind of got a golden ticket, per say, to look at new schools, new opportunities, grad schools and kind of everything of that nature and kind of just a fresh start,” says Lockhart. “So I got the perfect opportunity to kind of look at the next thing in life and going into the portal and then committing to Arkansas was the next thing for me.”
Once he decided to put his name in the transfer portal, Lockhart figured it would be a few days before he heard from coaches. That wasn’t the case.
“The next thing I know, I just hear all of these beeps going off on my phone,” says Lockhart. “I’ve got about 50 emails, a bunch of text messages and new follows from coaches. Everybody is kind of reaching out. And then finally as I’m sorting through, I finally see the ones that are interesting to me and I see Arkansas baseball. One of the emails is from Matt Hobbs.”
Everything moved quickly from there.
But Lockhart, a Texas native, hasn’t even been to the state of Arkansas before. His only time seeing the Razorbacks play in person was when the Hogs played at Minute Maid Park for the Shriner’s Classic.
“A buddy of mine played on Baylor and they were playing against Arkansas,” says Lockhart. “The entire time I’m just hearing the woo pig sooie, the entire time. I was like wow that is awesome.”
Although that was his first time seeing the team in action, Lockhart says he’s been watching the Hogs play on TV for years.
“Growing up , Arkansas has always won games,” says Lockhart. “It’s always been like the upper echelon of everything baseball was. It’s SEC. It’s great fan support. I mean, whenever I was kind of watching college baseball for the first time was when (Andrew) Benintendi was at Arkansas. So, I mean, watching them growing up, like Arkansas was always that top tier school winning games, winning at the highest level. That was kind of something like a little kid in me was like man Arkansas, what a dream come true.”
To hear more from Lockhart, watch the video above.