FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas released its 2019 Baseball Schedule on Wednesday, and for the first time, the Razorbacks will play in-state competition.
Home games against Arkansas-Little Rock on April 2 and Arkansas-Pine Bluff on April 16 are the highlights in a non-conference schedule that includes trips to Southern CalIFORNIA (February 22-24), Texas (March 19-20) and Missouri State (March 26).
The Razorbacks have had a long-standing rule not to play other Arkansas teams in the interest of keeping their statewide support. Arkansas athletics director Hunter Yurachek said in a statement Wednesday that an exception will be made for playing teams from the University of Arkansas system.
“As the flagship institution within our state, this is an opportunity for us to enhance interest in our non-conference schedules while supporting other schools within the University of Arkansas system,” Yurachek said. “We have initiated with baseball this year and are exploring opportunities for future years in other sports.”
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn, who hinted last year to difficulties in scheduling because of the in-state ban, said having UALR and UAPB on the schedule was “exciting.”
“It’s going to be great for the game of baseball in our state,” Van Horn said. “Baseball has improved so much at the high school level in the state of Arkansas. I continue to see it every year when we’re recruiting. We see more Arkansas kids coming out of the state, and they’re a big part of our program.
“I think this will help grow baseball. The fan interest is there, and it’ll be big. I know after talking to [UALR coach Chris Curry and UAPB coach Carlos James], they’re both very excited to have the opportunity to play at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville. We’ll have a really good crowd. It’ll be good for all our teams to play in that type of environment.”
Curry was a former volunteer coach for Van Horn at Arkansas from 2009 to 2010. He is one of four former Van Horn assistants on next year’s schedule, along with Louisiana Tech coach Lane Burroughs, Tennessee coach Tony Vitello and Texas A&M coach Rob Childress. Burroughs was an assistant to Van Horn at Northwestern State in the 1990s; Vitello was an assistant at Arkansas from 2014 to 2017; and Childress assisted Van Horn at Texarkana College, Northwestern State and Nebraska for 10 seasons between 1991-2002.
The Razorbacks are coming off a national runner-up campaign in 2018 in which they finished 48-21 and lost a winner-take-all game to Oregon State in the championship round of the College World Series.
“We have a really good schedule this season, especially when you look at the teams that are coming into Baum Stadium,” Van Horn said. “Last year was a testament to what a quality schedule does for a team throughout the year. I don’t think this year is going to be any different. We have 25 games against teams that were in the NCAA Tournament last year and nine against teams that ether won their conference outright or won their conference tournament. It’s a good schedule and is only going to make us better.”
Arkansas 2019 Baseball Schedule
February 15-17 – Eastern Illinois
February 22-24 – at Southern Cal
February 27 – Memphis
March 1-3 – Stony Brook
March 5-6 – Charlotte
March 8-10 – Louisiana Tech
March 12-13 – Western Illinois
March 15-17 – Missouri
March 19-20 – at Texas
March 22-24 – at Alabama
March 26 – at Missouri State
March 29-31 – Ole Miss
April 2 – Arkansas-Little Rock
April 5-7 – at Auburn
April 9 – Oral Roberts
April 12-14 – at Vanderbilt
April 16 – Arkansas-Pine Bluff
April 19-21 – Mississippi State
April 23-14 – Northwestern State
April 26-28 – Tennessee
April 30 – vs. Grambling State (in North Little Rock)
May 3-5 – at Kentucky
May 10-12 – LSU
May 16-18 – at Texas A&M