Diamond Hogs open season against Longhorns

Just when Hog fans’ minds are concentrated on the stretch run of basketball’s regular season, and the wind-chill factor most days is still below freezing, the No. 6 Arkansas Razorbacks travel to Arlington, Texas to open their baseball season against No. 24 Texas in the College Baseball Showdown held this weekend at the home of the Texas Rangers, Globe Life Field.

The Hogs of Summer, they are not.

Mid-winter and spring? Absolutely, but not summer.

In this age in which college athletes can be on campus for the full year, why college baseball still insists on kowtowing to the MLB and beginning its season a month before most pros begin spring training in the sunniest winter spots in America, continues to be lost on my feeble mind.

College baseball season begins a month too early. It always has, and I guess it always will.

Pardon my annual gripe. I won’t mention it again until next February unless someone else brings it up.

Arkansas Baseball

Opponent: No. 24 Texas
When: 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17
Where: Arlington, Texas
TV: FloBaseball

Next 3 games

Feb. 18 — No. 17 TCU, 7 p.m. (Flobaseball)
Feb. 19 — No. 8 Oklahoma State, 2:30 p.m. (Flobaseball)
Feb. 21 — Grambling, 3 p.m. (SEC Network +)

Dave Van Horn’s reconfigured squad plays three games in three days against some of the best teams in the nation to crack the lid off 2023 season.

After tonights game with the Longhorns, the Razorbacks face No. 17 TCU at 7 p.m. Saturday, and No. 8 Oklahoma State at 2:30 p.m. Sunday to open the season in grand style.

With multiple games scheduled for each day, start times are tentative, particularly with Arkansas playing in the evening game on Friday and Saturday.

Fans will know how good this Razorback squad is out of the gates, thanks to this level of competition.

The Razorbacks will open the event with left-handed sophomore Hagen Smith, a “Collegiate Baseball” Freshman All-American last year, on the mound against the Longhorns’ junior lefty Lucas Gordon, who is a preseason All Big 12 performer.

The Razorbacks will be working with a practically brand new infield to open the season, and this will be the first time an SEC squad has faced a Longhorn squad since it was recently announced that Texas and Oklahoma would join the Southeastern Conference for the 2024-25 athletics season.

Of course, the Hogs and Steers have a long history of playing each other as charter members of the old Southwest Conference before Arkansas sought greener and sounder ground in the SEC in 1991.