FAYETTEVILLE — The 2018 Razorback Baseball Fall World Series will get underway Tuesday at Baum Stadium as the baseball team nears the end of its fall workout season.
Originally scheduled as a best-of-five series, bad weather forecasted for Monday has forced the series to become a best-of-three starting on Tuesday.
The intrasquad games will split the roster into two teams (Cardinal, White). Games one and two will go nine innings, while game three, if necessary, will go seven innings. First pitch for game one is set for 1 p.m. on Tuesday at Baum Stadium.
Arkansas was the national runner-up from a year ago, its second national runner-up finish in school history and returns 14 letterwinners from the 2018 squad.
Coach Dave Van Horn enters his 17th season at the helm of the baseball team and is coming off his best season as the head Hog as he guided the Razorbacks to their ninth College World Series appearance and seventh of his career.
Making up the Cardinal team for this year’s fall series are eight veterans and 14 newcomers.
Redshirt junior starting pitcher Isaiah Campbell and junior closer Matt Cronin headline the pitching staff, however, both will be held out after throwing in both of Arkansas’ fall exhibitions against Wichita State and Little Rock over the last two weeks.
Sophomores Kole Ramage and Angus Denton, along with junior Jacob Kostyshock will shore up the Cardinal pitching staff for this week.
Ramage and Kostyshock both saw considerable time on the mound during the exhibition games, combining for just one run allowed over six innings and striking out 11.
Last Friday at Little Rock, Ramage struck out a team-high four batters in two innings of work while allowing only one hit and one walk.
Offensively, the Cardinal team is led by All-SEC junior outfielder Dominic Fletcher, infielder Jack Kenley, and catcher Zack Plunkett. Fletcher hit .288 with 10 home runs and 49 RBIs a year ago and was named to the SEC All-Defense Team.
In the College World Series, Fletcher was Arkansas’ hottest hitter, going 9-for-26 (.346) at the plate with two home runs and eight RBIs.
He ended the year with a second-straight double-digit home run total becoming the first Razorback since Rodney Nye (1998-99) to hit 10 or more home runs in his first two seasons.
On the White team, a strong offense litters the roster including Jordan McFarland, Casey Opitz, Heston Kjerstad and Casey Martin.
Martin and Kjerstad, who were the Razorbacks top two hitters a year ago and named Freshman All-Americans, return as, arguably, the nation’s best hitting duo as both combined for a .339 average, 27 home runs, and 107 RBIs last year and set Arkansas freshman records for hits, home runs and total bases.
Opitz is coming off a strong fall exhibition series where he went 4-for-9 (.444) at the plate with three of those hits coming on Friday at Little Rock.
Last year, Opitz only appeared in 19 games but hit .222 with two of his six hits going for extra bases and is expected to be one of Arkansas’ top utility players in 2019.
On the mound for the White team, righties Caleb Bolden, Zebulon Vermillion, Kevin Kopps, and Cody Scroggins lead the way.
Kopps, who is coming off season-ending Tommy John surgery last year, pitched one inning against the Trojans on Friday, striking out two while walking one on 13 pitches.
2018 Fall World Series Schedule
• Game 1 – Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 1 p.m.
• Game 2 – Thursday, Oct. 18 at 4 p.m.
• Game 3 – Friday, Oct. 19 at 3 p.m. (if necessary) (7 inning game)