Back in 2018, Kendall Rogers of D1 Baseball picked Arkansas to win it all.
As many fans remember, the Hogs came extremely close to winning the National Title. So would Rogers picked them again this time around?
“Absolutely,” says Rogers. “I just think when you look at all the things that must happen for them to not win the championship I like their chances.”
Of course one of the main things that makes this Arkansas team so special, is Kevin Kopps.
“When I look at a guy like that, with his slider and his cutter and his ability to command the zone, just the way he’s dialed in like I’m trying to see a scenario where someone can actually knock him out. Just really hard to fathom. He’s been that good.”
But has Kopps been good enough to win the Golden Spikes? It’s an award that’s very rarely given to relief pitchers. However, Kopps might be the exception.
“When you look at their success it all kind of goes back to Kevin Kopps,” says Rogers. “It’s uncommon to see a reliever get any kind of major national award like that but this is a really unique year and this is a unique situation where I think he probably deserves it.”
Kopps is no doubt an ace for the Razorbacks. But Arkansas has gone through most of the season with a “normal” rotation. Some thought that may hurt the team in a tournament setting, but Rogers believes not having a set rotation isn’t a bad thing.
“We don’t have the three stud weekend starters like some of these teams usually have. But what we do have is Ryan Costieu, Connor Noland, Elijah Trest, Kevin Kopps, Zeb Vermillion the list goes on Jaxon Wiggins. So the talent is plentiful on this pitching staff and I think that matters more than a set rotation.”
As for the offense, Rogers says Arkansas has a lineup that’s dangerous from top to bottom.
“Just going up the stat sheet you see their numbers and think ‘oh okay this isn’t an amazing offense they’re hitting .272.’ But that might be the most deceiving stat I’ve ever seen. I think this is the best lineup in college baseball.”
We’ll see what this Arkansas lineup and pitching staff can do this weekend when the Hogs host NJIT, Northeastern and Nebraska for the Fayetteville Regional.
To hear more from Rogers about the Hogs and their chances at the College World Series, watch the full interview above.