FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas Razorbacks junior right-handed pitcher Blaine Knight of Bryant was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the third round of the Major League baseball draft, as the first of Razorbacks drafted Tuesday.
Arkansas junior switch-hitting right fielder Eric Cole of Southlake, Texas, was drafted in the fourth round by the Kansas City Royals, junior catcher Grant Koch of Fayetteville drafted in the fifth round by the Pittsburgh Pirates, junior shortstop Jax Biggers drafted in the eighth round by the Texas Rangers and fifth-year senior second baseman Carson Shaddy drafted in the 10th round by the Washington Nationals.
None of the drafted are expected to negotiate with the teams that drafted them until the Razorbacks complete their season.
Knight, second-team All-SEC currently is 11-0, has a 2.74 earned-run average with 88 strikeouts versus 21 walks in 95.1 innings.
Cole, the leadoff hitter for coach Dave Van Horn’s Razorbacks, sports a .338 batting average with 13 home runs and 47 RBI.
Koch is renowned defensively on the SEC All-Defensive team, hits .250 with seven home runs and 34 RBI.
Biggers, hitting .281 but 5-for-15 since returning from a broken finger and helping Arkansas turn 30 of its SEC-leading 56 double plays.
Shaddy was voted First-Team All-SEC by SEC coaches and currently hits .331 with career-highs 11 home runs and 43 RBI.
Top-seeded winners of the Fayetteville Regional defeating Oral Roberts, 10-2, Southern Miss, 10-2 and Dallas Baptist, 4-3 last Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Baum Stadium, the nationally fifth-seeded SEC West co-champion Razorbacks, 42-18, on Saturday and Sunday and Monday, if necessary, at Baum oppose the SEC East runner-up South Carolina Gamecocks, 36-24, in the best 2-of-3 Super Regional, advancing the winner to be among the elite eight teams playing for college baseball’s national championship at the College World Series in Omaha.
Coach Mark Kingston’s Gamecocks as the No. 2 seed unscathed, won the rain-delayed Friday through Monday Greenville (South Carolina) Regional, defeating Ohio State, 8-3, 4-2 over top-seeded host East Carolina, and eliminated North Carolina-Wilmington, 8-4 in the championship game.
Arkansas and South Carolina played four times this season. The Razorbacks lost, 3-2 in their first meeting at Baum then won the next two, 2-0 and 3-0.
The 3-2 defeat was the only home SEC loss that Arkansas encountered this season at Baum.
In the first round of the SEC Tournament at Hoover, Alabama, Arkansas outslugged the Gamecocks, 13-8.
Television crews and newspaper photographers hoping for a celebrating dog pile video or photo shoot of Razorbacks celebrating winning the Fayetteville Regional Sunday night had to be disappointed.
There was no dog pile. While understanding if one takes place, Van Horn would just as soon not see one if, on Saturday or Sunday, they advance past South Carolina on to Omaha.
“That’s what you are supposed to do,” Van Horn said during Sunday’s postgame about his Hogs exuding happiness but not piling on each other to show it. To me, you don’t dog pile at a regional. To me, the only time you dog pile is if you get to go to Omaha and I don’t even like it then. I don’t want anybody to get hurt.”
Especially with what looms this weekend and he hopes beyond.
“They are pretty businesslike,” Van Horn said. “They know we’ve still have got some work to do to get to the goal that we’re trying to achieve and go from there. I appreciate the way they acted. They act like they’ve been there before.”
The SEC is guaranteed three teams advancing from Super Regionals to Omaha with the winners advancing between Arkansas vs. South Carolina in Fayetteville, Auburn vsersus Florida in Gainesville, Florida, and Mississippi State versus Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee.
The other best 2-of-3 Super Regionals pit Texas Tech vs. Duke; Tennessee Tech at Texas; Stetson vs. North Carolina and Cal State-Fullerton vs Washington.