Arkansas’ streak as the consensus No. 1 team in college baseball reached six weeks Monday, and there appears to be no stopping the Razorbacks as they close in on their first SEC regular-season title since 2004.
The Razorbacks (39-10, 19-8) are 9-0 in conference series, including 6-0 in deciding third games, after winning two of three at Tennessee over the weekend.
They would join 2013 Vanderbilt as the only teams in conference history to go 10-0 in SEC series if they win at least two of three at home against Florida this week.
“They show up every day and they play hard and they think they can win,” coach Dave Van Horn said. “Somebody usually steps up and gets it done, whether it’s a hitter or a pitcher or somebody who’s been struggling all of a sudden has a great game. We don’t get too uptight.”
Arkansas went 13-5 in SEC road games, which illustrates a point assistant coach Nate Thompson made to the team about its talent and potential.
“We thrive in different atmospheres and we embrace the challenge,” second baseman and leadoff man Robert Moore said. “Like coach Thompson said, we don’t always have to have everything go our way. We’re better than that. We don’t need all the breaks, we don’t need all the calls, we don’t need the ball to bounce our way all the time because we’re better than that.”
Moore, son of Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore, is among five Arkansas players with at least 10 home runs. The Hogs have gone deep 83 times, tied for second most in the nation, and their average of 7.8 runs per game leads the SEC.
They also have one of the best pitchers in the nation in reliever Kevin Kopps, who has an NCAA-best 0.80 ERA in 56 1/3 innings and before Sunday hadn’t given up a run in 28 innings since April 17.
Arkansas came out of the weekend with a one-game lead over Tennessee in the overall SEC race and a two-game lead over Mississippi State in the West.
“The only thing we can really control is what we do,” Van Horn said. “We don’t play everybody in the East. I want to win the West. We went 15-3 against the West. If we win the overall, that’s awesome, but let’s win the West. We’re right where we want to be, at the top of the standings going into the last week.”
IN THE POLLS
Texas (38-12) is No. 2 and Vanderbilt (36-12) is No. 3 behind Arkansas in the D1Baseball.com poll. Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball newspaper rate Vanderbilt second.
Baseball America has Notre Dame (26-10) third; Collegiate Baseball has Mississippi State (36-13) No. 3.
Virginia and Kansas pitched no-hitters Friday, increasing the Division I season total to an NCAA-record 24.
Virginia’s Andrew Abbott, Jake Berry and Griff McGarry held Wake Forest hitless in a 17-0 win. Kansas’ Eli Davis threw a seven-inning no-hitter in a 10-0 win over Kansas State.
Of the 24 no-hitters, 13 have come in games of at least nine innings. Starting pitchers have gone the distance in six of the nine-inning no-hitters.
The previous record was 23 no-hitters in 2018.
TOUCH ‘EM ALL, TECH
Texas Tech continued to feast on Oklahoma pitching over the weekend. The Red Raiders hit 12 home runs in three games and, including a nonconference meeting two weeks ago, have 16 in four games against the Sooners.
Cole Stilwell has hit four of his seven homers against Oklahoma. Jace Jung, Braxton Fulford and Cal Conley each have gone deep three times against the Sooners.
TALK ABOUT TURNABOUT
Stanford starter Quinn Mathews struck out the first five California batters and seven of the first eight Sunday. The bottom fell out in the fourth inning. Quentin Selma hit a grand slam for four of Cal’s seven runs off Mathews in the inning, and the Bears went on to win 9-5.
Cal won a series against the rival Cardinal for the first time since 2014, with home runs accounting for 12 of its 16 runs in the three games. It was Stanford’s first Pac-12 series loss of the season.
VCU owns the nation’s longest win streak at 16 games entering its two-game nonconference series at James Madison. The Rams (32-14, 13-3 Atlantic 10) are 36th in the RPI with six quadrant one wins and are looking for their first NCAA Tournament bid since 2015.
Conference tournaments are underway or begin this week.
The Patriot League played over the weekend, with top-seeded Lehigh and No. 2 Army advancing to the best-of-three championship series at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, beginning May 26.
The Southwest Athletic Conference opens Wednesday, the Metro Atlantic and Mid-Eastern Athletic on Thursday, Atlantic Sun on Friday, America East on Saturday and West Coast on Sunday.