The season may not have ended how Arkansas pitcher Hagen Smith and his teammates wanted, but his efforts were rewarded when he was named a  Collegiate Baseball All-American on Wednesday.

Smith finished the 20232 season with a 8-2 record and a 3.64 ERA while fanning 109 batters, walking 42 and allowing 29 earned runs in 71 2/3 innings and limiting opponents to a .217 batting average.

The sophomore left hander, who was a Freshman All-American last season, served a couple of roles for the SEC co-Champion Razorbacks (43-18) while starting 11 games and relieving in seven others.

“I mean, I thought I did pretty good,” Smith said.  “I thought the staff did amazing, too. I mean, it’s good to have guys come in behind me or before me, just whatever I need to do.”

A former Bullard, Texas, prep standout, Smith was 7–2 with a 4.66 ERA as a freshman while stating 15 games and coming out the bullpen in five others.

Smith, who is not eligible for this summer’s MLB draft had 90 strikeouts and 46 walks in 77 1/3 innings in his as a freshman while keeping hitters to a .232 batting average. 

“Honestly, this is probably the most fun I’ve ever had playing on a team,” Smith said. “Everybody is just out there everyday playing their hardest. It sucks to lose. I wanted to keep playing and go to Omaha with this team, but everything happens for a reason. 

“I’m really excited to see who comes back and the newcomers. I think it’s going to be a really good team. We’ll get some more guys in the portal, and we’ll find leaders like we did this year and do the same thing, go back at it.”

The Arkansas season ended Monday in a 12-4 loss to TCU, a team that has won 15 of its last 16 games, including a 20-5 rout of the Razorbacks on Sunday afternoon.

Smith allowed 8 runs on 6 hits while recording just three outs as starter in the first loss to the Horned Frogs in an effort that saw his ERA jump a run.

He bounced back Monday back to pitch 3 2/3 innings of three-hit, one-run, six-strikeout relief. 

“Yesterday, it was obviously horrible,” Smith said after Monday’s game.  “Everyone saw. So, it was good to come back and try to help the team win. Didn’t come out the way we wanted to, but I gave it my all.”

Smith, the 37th Diamond Hog selected as an All-American,  was happy for a quick return to the mound on Monday.

“I was ready as soon as I got pulled,” Smith said. “Just go out there and try to compete. I felt like I lost the game for us yesterday, so I wanted to go back out.”

Arkansas head Coach Dave Van Horn was appreciative of the bounce back effort from Smith, who will have a chance to join former Razorbacks Kevin McReynolds, Jeff King, Phil Stidham, David Walling and Nick Schmidt as the sixth two-time All American in program history.

“I thought Hagen Smith pitched great today,” Van Horn said. “Coming off getting ready for a game mentally, pitching yesterday, throwing 36 pitches. He just pitched lights out.

“I think he’d probably tell you he made one mistake, and that was on the 0-2 (second-inning) pitch on the hitter that singled up the middle [TCU’s Austin Davis]. Other than that, he was awesome.

“Really talented guy, and we’ve got to take care of him. He probably could have gone another inning or two, but we didn’t feel like that would be very smart on our part.”

Smith knows getting TCU (40-22) in the Fayetteville Regional was a major challenge and the Horned Frogs bullied their way to this weekend’s Super Regional matchup with No. 14 national seed Indiana State.

“That was a really good team, probably the hottest team we’ve faced all year,” Smith said. “Their staff and their hitters are really good. It feels like every hitter you’re facing is a tough out, and you’ve just got to give credit to them.”

Photo by John D. James