CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Coming off their first national runner-up finish since 1979, the Arkansas Razorbacks will enter the 2019 season ranked No. 13 in the Perfect Game Preseason Poll that was released this week.
Seven other members of the Southeastern Conference are also in the top 25 teams, five of which the Razorbacks will face in scheduled series this season. Representing the SEC in the poll are No. 1 LSU, No. 3 Vanderbilt, No. 9 Florida, No. 10 Ole Miss, No. 15 Auburn, No. 17 Mississippi St. and No. 22 Georgia.
Three of the five represented teams will travel to Fayetteville to face the Razorbacks starting with Ole Miss visiting March 29--31, Mississippi State on April 18--20 and LSU May 9--11. The Razorbacks will travel to Nashville, Tenn., to face Vanderbilt April 12--14 and will face Auburn on April 4--6 in Auburn, Ala.
Last year's national champion, Oregon State, was ranked No. 2 in the poll. Other teams that reached the College World Series that are ranked in the preseason poll include No. 5 Texas Tech and No. 6 North Carolina. No. 16 TCU, No. 19 Michigan and No. 23 UC-Irvine were also ranked in the poll but did not reach postseason play last year.
Head coach Dave Van Horn is entering his 17th season at the helm of the Razorbacks baseball program, and he returns 14 letterwinners from last year's squad that finished second to Oregon State last June. Van Horn anticipates his team to continue the success from last year that ended with the team playing in its ninth College World Series in school history.
The Razorbacks return two of the top freshman hitters in the country from last year in right fielder Heston Kjerstad and shortstop Casey Martin. Kjerstad, last year's SEC Freshman of the Year, returns to the diamond after a freshman campaign that saw him hit .332 and set a school record for freshmen with 87 hits, 14 home runs and 58 RBI.
Martin, a Lonoke native, has already garnered a pair of preseason All-American honors and will look to improve upon his team-leading .345 batting average, the best of all freshmen in the SEC. The infielder caused trouble for pitchers in the College World Series with 10 of his 19 hits in the NCAA Tournament coming in Omaha with a .357 average in the tournament.
The Razorbacks open their season on Feb. 15 against Eastern Illinois at Baum Stadium in Fayetteviille with the first pitch set for 3 p.m.Sports on 01/11/2019
Print Headline: Razorbacks ranked No. 13 in preseason poll