Recapping Arkansas’ historic yet bittersweet 2021 baseball season

“… 50 wins with the toughest schedule in the country and I don’t think it was close” Arkansas baseball coach Dave Van Horn regarding the Razorbacks’ 2021 season. If Arkansas fans forget the last two games of the 2021 Fayetteville Super Regional, then it is clearly the most dominant season in SEC history. Recapping the season, Arkansas won at least two out of three against regional hosts Florida, Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and Tennessee. Arkansas also won single games against regional hosts Texas, TCU, Texas Tech, and Vanderbilt. Arkansas, despite being the number one overall seed had one of if not the toughest regional in the country. They had to use a game winning three-run homer from designated hitter Charlie Welch to break away from Nebraska in a winner take all game seven after Christian Franklin was walked-in to win the game 6-2. To open the super regional, Arkansas blew out NC State 21-2. Everyone assumed NC State was done after that. But, they fought back and won back to back one-run games to eliminate the top seeded Arkansas Razorbacks. In game two, Arkansas reliever Ryan Costeui gave up three home runs, which changed the series in a dramatic way. Had Van Horn removed Ryan after the first home run and the score holds up, Arkansas would have advanced to Omaha. It would have gone to extras if Costeui was removed after the second home run. Of course now that does not matter. Now in hindsight as I am writing this, NC State, who eliminated Arkansas, was 2-1 in the CWS before being eliminated due to COVID-19. Moving forward, expected back next season are infielder Robert Moore (16 homers), expected starting pitchers Jaxon Wiggins and Peyton Pallette, former starting pitcher Connor Noland, outfielder Cayden Wallace, star designated hitter Charlie Welch, and others. Arkansas landed Kent State transfer catcher Michael Turner who is a good hitter and can also play other positions in the field. The most important player (and best player) on this team Kevin Kopps is among the finalists for the Golden Spikes Award, the nationally recognized player of the year, that also include Vanderbilt pitchers Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter. Kopps, having won SEC pitcher of the year and other player of the year awards, should definitely be the pick to win the Golden Spikes. Christian Franklin, Kopps, star hitter Matt Goodheart are expected too be gone.

I stand by the fact that the best team in college baseball is not in Omaha right now. Arkansas had most home runs in the country (106), the best player in the country in Kopps, and no series losses in the best conference in America. It took me awhile to write this article because of how great this team truly was and how sad I am they were eliminated.

By Carter Huff

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