Thursday, July 12, 2012

SxSE: Arkansas Baseball 1897-2012

The Razorbacks are currently a Super Regional baseball program. They have reached a level where most seasons they are expected to at least reach a Super Regional - and occasionally beyond.  The Gators' average season record over the past 10 seasons is 41-22.

Arkansas has been playing baseball since 1897, and played continuously, with little success, until the baseball program was shut down in 1930.  During that time, the team was usually coached by the Arkansas football coach.

In 1947 the baseball program was revived, coached by Razorback athletic trainer Bill Ferrell.  He only produced 139-149 record during his 16 years, but he built up interest in Razorbacks baseball.

Norm Debryin became head coach in 1970.  Under his direction Arkansas baseball began playing again in the Southwest Conference.  He took them to the NCAA postseason for the first time in 1973, and took them to the College World Series for the first time in 1979, where they finished as the runner-up to the champion Cal State-Fullerton (coached by Augie Garrido).

Debryin went on to a career 1161-650-6 record from 1970 through 2002. He took the team to the NCAA Tournament in 1973, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2002, and to the College World Series in 1979, 1985, 1987 and 1989.  He oversaw the construction of George Cole Field (1975), and then its replacement, Baum Stadium (1996)

Dave Van Horn was hired in 2003.  The Razorbacks have been to the NCAA Tournament 11 straight season, the last 10 of those under Van Horn. He has taken them to the College World Series 2 times, in 2004, 2009 and 2012.

In 2007, the Razorbacks became the first team in NCAA history to average more than 8,000 tickets sold per game. The actual attendance average was 6,007 per game, a school record.

A few notable Razorback alums
♦ Links to Arkansas Baseball history details at

♦ Learn some Arkansas Razorbacks Baseball history and details about Baum Stadium from
When Norm DeBriyn agreed to take charge of the Razorback baseball program in December 1969, few people other than the players paid attention. The stadium was at the old Washington County Fairgrounds. There were rocks in the infield, holes in the outfield and broken boards in the fence.

The team didn’t even have a full-time coach.

DeBriyn moved his squad from that cow pasture to George Cole Field in 1975. With financial assistance from former star players Kevin McReynolds, Johnny Ray and Tim Lollar, lights were added in 1985, making it possible to host the Southwest Conference Tournament for the first time.

The Razorbacks were 567-142-2 at George Cole Field.

With the construction of Baum Stadium in time for the 1996 season, Razorback baseball advanced to the next level. Without Baum Stadium, it’s doubtful that Dave Van Horn would have left his job as head coach at Nebraska to replace DeBriyn at Arkansas.
Razorback Baseball in 2012

♦ Arkansas's 2012 record was 46-22, 16-14 in the SEC.  They made it to the College World Series in 2012, going 2-2.  They were eliminated by 1-2 against South Carolina, 2-1, 0-2, 2-3.

Pitching carries Arkansas back to Omaha (AP/
The right hander, however, is far from the only outstanding option on the mound for coach Dave Van Horn. In fact, Baxendale's 3.18 ERA is actually higher than Arkansas' overall team ERA of 2.90 — the seventh-lowest overall in Division I this season and the best of any of the eight remaining teams. The pitching talent begins with Baxendale and fellow starter Ryne Stanek, but it hardly ends there. Seven regular members of the Razorbacks' bullpen sport sub-3.00 ERAs, and it was the bullpen that threw six scoreless innings in Arkansas' 10-inning, 1-0 win over Baylor in Monday. Colby Suggs finished off the win with two scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 1.22 in 37 innings this season. "There aren't many teams that can bring out guys who haven't thrown all weekend and throw like that, pumping it up there in the mid-90s, in Game 3 of a super regional," Baxendale said.

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