HOOVER, Ala. — The fourth-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks are set to play their opening game of the 2019 SEC Tournament Wednesday afternoon as it will face seven-seed Ole Miss. First pitch is set for approximately 1 p.m. at Hoover (Ala.) Metropolitan Stadium and will be televised on the SEC Network.
Arkansas (40-15, 20-10 SEC) is a top-four seed for the third-consecutive year, earning the first-round bye into the double-elimination rounds. The Rebels (34-23, 16-14 SEC) defeated the 10-seed Missouri Tigers, 2-1, to advance to the double-elimination portion of the tournament. Arkansas will be the home in Wednesday’s game.
Arkansas lost two-of-three against Ole Miss earlier this season at Baum Stadium, its’ only home series loss this year.
The second, third and quarterfinal rounds are double elimination, while the semifinals and the championship game are single elimination.
Arkansas rolls into tournament play as co-champions of the SEC Western Division for the second-consecutive year. It’s the sixth division title in school history and fifth under head coach Dave Van Horn. It’s also the first time under Van Horn that the Razorbacks have won 20 or more games in conference play and second time in school history the Hogs have won 20 or more games in SEC play.
The Razorbacks are in search of its first SEC Tournament championship in program history. It will be making its 10th appearance in the tournament in the last 11 years and 24th overall. The Razorbacks have made four SEC Tournament championship game appearances in their history, finishing runner-up in 1998 to Auburn, in 1999 to Alabama, in 2007 to Vanderbilt, and most recently, in 2017 to LSU.
Last year, the Hogs reached the semifinals for the second-consecutive year, defeating South Carolina and Florida along the way. In its previous five appearances in the tournament, Arkansas has won at least two games and won three or more twice. Wednesday’s game will be the first time Arkansas and Ole Miss have faced off in the SEC Tournament since the two teams played twice in 2014, both were one-run victories in favor of Arkansas.
The most tournament wins for Arkansas came in 1999 when it won four games before falling to the Crimson Tide in the championship game. As head coach, Dave Van Horn is 21-25 in 14 SEC Tournament appearances.
Games one through 16 of the SEC Tournament are available on the SEC Network and SEC Network+ via the WatchESPN app. The championship game will be aired on ESPN2. As always, the Razorbacks can be heard on the Razorback Sports Network on the radio with Phil Elson and former Razorback Bubba Carpenter on the call.
No. 2 Arkansas vs. No. 7 Ole Miss | WATCH SEC NETWORK
RAZORBACK PRIME 9
>> Arkansas makes its 24th appearance at the SEC Tournament this week in Hoover, Alabama and holds its third-straight top-four seed in the field.
>> The Razorbacks won a share of the SEC Western Division title for the second-straight year, finishing with an 20-10 conference record. It’s Arkansas’ sixth division title in school history and fifth under Dave Van Horn.
>> Nine different Razorbacks were named to the various All-SEC teams this week with six being named to the 12-man All-SEC Second Team. Overall, Arkansas had 11 selections among the All-SEC, All-Freshman and All-Defense Teams, a school record.
>> Trevor Ezell, Casey Martin, Matt Cronin, Heston Kjerstad, Matt Goodheart and Dominic Fletcher were all named to the All-SEC Second Team. It’s the third-straight year with an All-SEC selection for Fletcher and second for Kjerstad and Martin.
>> Isaiah Campbell was named a semifinalist for the 2019 Golden Spikes Award. He’s the first Razorback to be named a semifinalist since Andrew Benintendi in 2015.
>> Campbell was left off the All-SEC lists, but had numbers that would rank among the best in the SEC and in Arkansas history. At 10-1, Campbell’s win total, innings pitched (90.0), ERA (2.50) and strikeouts (97) are all better than All-American Blaine Knight at this point a year ago.
>> The Razorbacks weren’t expected to hit as many home runs as last year’s record-setting team (98), but have still set a good pace going into the last weekend of the year. As a team, Arkansas has hit 77 home runs, which ties for first in the SEC.
>> Dominic Fletcher continues to be a doubles machine going into the SEC Tournament. Sitting at 22 two-baggers for the year, Fletcher is six off the school record and first in the SEC.
>> Catcher Casey Opitz has been a baserunner’s worst nightmare in recent weeks as he caught eight would-be base stealers in the last three weeks, five against Kentucky and two against Texas A&M. Opitz has 21 caught stolen bases this year, which leads the SEC.
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