All three SEC teams that advanced to the College World Series had to beat a conference foe.
Mississippi State knocked off Vanderbilt, Florida squeaked by Auburn and as everyone knows Arkansas slobber knocked South Carolina in two of three games.
This season the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville is 2-2 against Florida -- its second-round opponent if both teams win their first game -- and 0-3 against Mississippi State, but all three games were in Starkville. The Razorbacks also played Texas, their first-round opponent, beating the Longhorns 13-4 and 7-5 in Baum Stadium in March.
The Razorbacks, who finished 34-4 at home, have the 1 p.m. game Sunday on ESPN.
Dave Van Horn did a great job of keeping some homegrown talent in the state. Of the nine usual starters, three are from Arkansas. Carson Shaddy (.341 batting average) is from Fayetteville, Casey Martin (.344) from Lonoke and Grant Koch (.251) is also from Fayetteville.
Top pitcher Blaine Knight (12-0, 2.84 ERA) is from Bryant, and Kacey Murphy (8-5, 3.12 ERA) is from Rogers.
After carefully reviewing Saturday's Belmont Stakes, it appears the closest any horse got to Justify was Free Drop Billy when they were No. 1 and No. 2 in the gate.
Many experts, including your trusty scribe, were skeptical that Justify could get the 1 1/2 miles just three weeks after having to hold on to win the Preakness by a half length.
Trainer Bob Baffert added to the doubt when he groused about drawing the No. 1 post position.
We were wrong.
Justify led stablemate Restoring Hope, who was wide, by a head for a mile, but he was never a challenger because he immediately dropped to ninth.
Vino Rosso made his move and was second by a half length, only to finish fourth.
Lightly regarded Gronkowski, at 24-1, was second by 1 1/2 lengths with about 100 yards to go and finished second, 1 3/4 lengths behind.
The arguments have begun about which was the better Triple Crown winner trained by Bob Baffert -- American Pharoah or Justify. Not that it matters, as both are in the history books as two of 13 horses since 1919 who have won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont.
There is talk that the owners would like to run Justify one more time before putting him out to stud, but why take a chance on an injury or an upset?
Retire him as an undefeated champion, which puts him alongside Seattle Slew as the only Triple Crown winners to pull that off.
Saturday is the annual All-Arkansas Preps awards banquet at the Statehouse Convention Center.
About 400 high school athletes and coaches will be honored from 6-9 p.m. It is a night to behold, and tickets are on sale. For more information, go to www.allarkansaspreps.com.
The guest speaker is Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who won three gold medals, one silver and two bronze in the heptathlon and long jump competitions during four Olympics.
Ren Hefley is the starting quarterback for Bryant High and lately his summer basketball coach Tony Moore has been writing letters to Harvard trying to get the school interested in Hefley, who has the academics to qualify for the Ivy League school.
Moore may want to add something else to the resume. A couple of weeks ago Hefley was at a football camp at Tennessee-Martin and was getting attention from a volunteer coach.
After Hefley ran a 4.5 40-yard dash, third best among 200 campers, he was offered a preferred walk-on spot at Michigan by head Coach Jim Harbaugh.
Sports on 06/13/2018
Print Headline: OmaHogs familiar with many CWS faces