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Razorbacks open run to Omaha in NCAA Regional at Baum-Walker

Arkansas is set for its 31st NCAA Tournament appearance in program history this weekend, starting with Central Connecticut State at 1 p.m.

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FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas is set for its 31st NCAA Tournament appearance in program history this weekend, starting with Central Connecticut State at 1 p.m.

You can hear the game on ESPN Arkansas 95.3 in the River Valley, 96.3 in Hot Springs and 104.3 in Harrison-Mountain Home. It will be televised on ESPN3.

Matchup: No. 1 Arkansas vs. No. 4 Central Connecticut St.
TV: ESPN3 >> WatchESPNApp
Talent: Jim Barbar (PXP), Scott Pose (Analyst)
Radio: ESPN Arkansas 95.3 in the River Valley, 96.3 in Hot Springs and 104.3 in Harrison-Mountain Home
Probable Starters: (ARK) RHP Connor Noland (2-4) vs. (CCSU) RHP Brandon Fox (3-5)

Along with NEC champion Central Connecticut, two-seed and Pac-12 foe California, as well as three-seed TCU from the Big 12 make up the regional field with the Razorbacks.

This is the first time the Razorbacks have faced the Blue Devils in their histories and the first time Arkansas has faced a team from the NEC in the NCAA Tournament since facing Bryant in the 2013 Manhattan Regional.

Arkansas could potentially face California on the second or third day, which would mark the first time the Hogs have faced the Golden Bears since a midweek series in Berkeley, California, in 2014.

This is also not the first time Cal has played in Fayetteville as it played a three-game series in 2009, a series the Razorbacks won, 2-1.

As for TCU, the series history between the Hogs and Horned Frogs dates back to 1961 during its Southwest Conference day.

Arkansas leads the all-time series 45-19, but have only played once since 1995. Arkansas and TCU have never met in the NCAA Tournament, but this will be the first time the Horned Frogs have played in Fayetteville since 1995.

Super Regional matchup

The winner of the Fayetteville Regional will advance to the Super Regional against the winner of the Oxford Regional that features No. 1 Ole Miss, No. 2 Illinois, No. 3 Clemson and No. 4 Jacksonville State.

Friday’s probable starter Connor Noland

Freshman right-hander Connor Noland will get the ball for Arkansas’ opening game of the 2019 NCAA Fayetteville Regional.

Noland was chosen by coach Dave Van Horn to make the start against Central Connecticut State earlier this week and comes in with a 3.71 ERA in 16 starts and has struck out 51 over 68 innings with 13 walks.

Last week, he made the start against Ole Miss in the SEC Tournament and gave up just one earned run on two hits over five innings.

Since his start against Vanderbilt (April 14), Noland leads all Razorback pitchers with a 1.56 ERA and has two victories in seven starts. He’s also given up a team-low six earned runs and walked three.

Player to watch – centerfielder Dominic Fletcher

Fletcher has started all 58 games this year and is hitting .316 with 10 home runs and 22 doubles, which are all on pace to finish as career-bests for the California native.

Fletcher has hit 10 or more home runs in each of his three seasons as a Hog and currently leads all SEC players with his 22 doubles.

Fletcher only has three hits in his last six games, but prior to that had 29 hits in his previous 17 games and had his average as high as .333.

2019 NCAA Fayetteville Regional Schedule

Friday, May 31
Game 1 – No. 1 Arkansas vs. No. 4 Central Connecticut, 1 p.m. CT (ESPN3)
Game 2 – No. 2 California vs. No. 3 TCU, 6 p.m. CT (ESPN3)

Saturday, June 1
Game 3 – Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 12 p.m.
Game 4 – Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 6 p.m.

Sunday, June 2
Game 5 – Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 2 p.m.
Game 6 – Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 4, 8 p.m.

Monday, June 3
Game 7 – Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6 (if necessary), 6 p.m.

RAZORBACK PRIME 9

• Arkansas is making its 31st appearance overall in the NCAA Tournament this weekend and 16th in the last 17 years. This is the eighth time Fayetteville has been selected to host a regional and first time it has been selected in three-straight years..

• The Razorbacks won a share of the SEC Western Division title for the second-straight year, finishing with a 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 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.

• Over the last two seasons, Arkansas has had the pleasure of playing 11 NCAA Tournament games at Baum-Walker Stadium. In those 11 games, the Razorbacks have hit .298 as a team and are averaging 6.9 runs per game.

• Isaiah 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 (95.0), ERA (2.37) and strikeouts (100) are all top-10 totals in the SEC.

• Campbell topped the 100-strikeout total for the year last week in the SEC Tournament. It’s the third-straight year Arkansas has had a pitcher total 100 or more strikeouts in a season (T. Stephan, B. Knight) and Campbell needs five more to crack into the top-10 all-time totals in school history.

• 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 NCAA Regionals. As a team, Arkansas has hit 78 home runs, which ranks second in the SEC and 12th in the nation.

• Freshman Connor Noland will get the call to start the regional-opener for Arkansas against Central Connecitcut State. Noland has the most starts on the pitching staff and has worked five or more innings in four of his last six starts.

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