We get that you need something to cheer you up after that loss to Auburn. The good news is that baseball is back TOMORROW. Arkansas will open the 2016 season against Central Michigan, who is picked to win the MAC West. So make of that what you will. The opening day starter will be Dominic Taccolini. Injuries to pitchers really soiled any chance the Hogs had of making any noise in the College World Series last year, but most are healing well. Here is an update on Taccolini and a handful of other pitchers, including Keaton McKinney who will start Sunday. The Saturday game will feature freshman Blaine Knight on the mound.
The announcement of the rotation confirms All-American Zach Jackson will come out of the bullpen, at least to start the year. He is also on the preseason list of 50 players on the Golden Spikes watch list. Last year Andrew Benintendi won the award for the top player in the country. Not surprisingly, the SEC leads the way with 11 players on the list, and Florida led the way with three players represented.
Walk up songs are an incredibly important thing for any baseball player. And the athletic department has delivered with a neat site showing all of the team's walk up songs again. Now we all get to praise which players have the best music taste and ridicule who doesn't. The winner for best song has to be between Josh Alberius picking Space Jam, and Cannon Chadwick with "No Diggity." It also raises plenty of questions as well. Does Auston Catron listen to Santana regularly? Which member of Earth, Wind and Fire is Alex Gosser's favorite? Fans need to know.
The start of the season also means plenty of preseason predictions as well. The coaches' predictions have been released, and Arkansas is third in the west. The Hogs are just behind the top tier of teams in the conference, getting the most amount of votes for teams that didn't get a first place pick. Not surprisingly, Florida was picked first overall and Texas A&M was the top choice in the West.
At D1Baseball.com, their preseason field of 64 has also been released. The Hogs are put as a 2 seed in the Fort Worth Regional at TCU. This falls in line with where the Hogs have been in the preseason polls thus far. If a few players over-perform then the Hogs could sneak into that top 16 and host, and they will get plenty of opportunities to get quality wins because the SEC is stacked, as usual. Ten of the conference's teams made the projected field of 64.