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2023 College Baseball Showdown Preview: TCU vs. No. 8 Arkansas

The Horned Frogs battle the Razorbacks for their second game of the season on Saturday at Globe Life Field.

Big 12 Baseball Tournament Photo by Bailey Orr/Texas Rangers/Getty Images

The No. 15 ranked TCU Horned Frogs will battle No. 8 Arkansas in the second round of the 2023 College Baseball Showdown, which will be held on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Globe Life Field. The Razorbacks concluded the 2022 season as one of the best teams in college baseball, ending the season ranked No. 4 with a 46-21 overall record. Arkansas went 18-12 in the SEC last season, placing second in the SEC West behind Texas A&M, who saw former TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle take the reigns after an illustrious career in Fort Worth.

Arkansas recorded a .276/.380/.481 slash line last season, finishing fifth in the SEC in home runs (106) and fourth in hits (628). The Razorbacks ranked fifth in runs (472) and went 49-for-59 on stolen bases. Arkansas posted a .982 fielding percentage and a 4.07 ERA which ranked third in the SEC behind Tennessee and Vanderbilt, who TCU will face on Friday. The Razorbacks tied for the conference lead in saves (20) and ranked third in strikeouts (672) behind Tennessee and Ole Miss, who defeated Oklahoma to win the College World Series.

Five Arkansas players recorded at least 10 home runs last season including senior infielder Brady Slavens, who tied for the team lead with 16 home runs and was second with 58 RBIs. Another infielder to watch will be Peyton Stovall, who slashed .295/.373/.425 with six home runs and 31 RBIs during the 2022 season. The Razorbacks lost several key bats in their lineup including Chris Lanzilli (.326/.424/.513 - 11 home runs and 40 RBIs), Cayden Wallace (.298/.387/.553 - 16 home runs and 60 RBIs) and Braydon Webb (.283/.418/.542 with 15 home runs and 42 RBIs). Jalen Battles (.289/.364/.480 - 10 home runs and 45 RBIs) also departed from the 2022 roster. All four players were selected in the 2022 MLB Draft.

Left-hander Hagen Smith returns to lead the Arkansas pitching staff after starting 15 games last season, where the sophomore recorded a 4.66 ERA with 90 strikeouts over 77 and one-third innings and a .232 opposing batting average. Right-hander Jaxon Wiggins also started 15 games, struggling with a 6.55 ERA but ending the year with 82 strikeouts over 66 innings. Wiggins, who had been expected to take on a larger role in the starting rotation this spring, reportedly suffered a torn UCL and will be sidelined for the entire 2023 campaign.

The Razorbacks are looking for their next ace to replace Connor Noland, who led Arkansas with a 3.65 ERA over 19 starts last season. Noland struck out a team-high 113 batters and threw a team-leading 116 innings. Among the leading Razorbacks who threw in relief last season are right-hander Zack Morris (2.31 ERA - 26 strikeouts), right-hander Will McEntire (2.59 ERA - 49 strikeouts) and right-hander Brady Tygart (3.82 ERA - 51 strikeouts).