FAYETTEVILLE -- Dave Van Horn won his first 10 games as head baseball coach at his alma mater the University of Arkansas in 2003.
Since then, his teams have put together seven more winning streaks of 10-plus games, including the current binge the Razorbacks are riding heading into today's 3 p.m. nonconference game against Southeast Missouri State at Baum-Walker Stadium.
Arkansas, which jumped to a tie for No. 3 with Florida on Monday in the USA Today coaches poll, will take a 13-game winning streak into today's game against the Redhawks (10-12) of the Ohio Valley Conference.
The Razorbacks are off to their fifth 18-2 start under Van Horn after accomplishing that feat in 2003, 2005, 2012 and 2019.
Arkansas is 16-1 during its season-long 18-game homestand, with the lone loss coming in a 12-3 setback against Eastern Illinois on Feb. 26.
"We're excited about getting off to a good start, but we know we've got a lot of work ahead of us," Van Horn said.
Two freshman right-handers from the Kansas City area will square off on the mound today, with Arkansas' 6-6 Ben Bybee (1-0, 2.35 ERA) of Overland Park, Kan., facing Southeast Missouri States 6-0 Eddie White (0-1, 4.15) of Bishop Miege High School in Kansas City, Kan.
The Redhawks are coming off a three-game sweep of Western Illinois at home in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Coach Andy Sawyers played catcher for Van Horn at Nebraska and associate head coach Trevor Ezell, a native of Bryant, is a former Redhawk who hit .329 with 25 doubles and 72 runs as a senior transfer at Arkansas in 2019.
"Andy Sawyers, a former catcher of mine, and Trevor Ezell, a former infielder, that's a good combination," Van Horn said.
Arkansas' pitching seems to be stabilizing after losing key bullpen pieces Brady Tygart and Koty Frank to injury during a five-day stretch in early March. The Razorbacks got three-inning starts from Hunter Hollan, Will McEntire and Cody Adcock during a three-game sweep of Auburn last weekend, which followed a strong mid-week start from Bybee. Lefty ace Hagen Smith notched a save while working 3 2/3 innings in two appearances against Auburn.
"We feel like we're getting a little stronger," Van Horn said of the Razorbacks' pitching. "We're getting a little deeper, and obviously the experience these guys are gaining is going to help us down the road."
SEMO will represent the sixth Arkansas opponent that was projected to win its conference title, following games against TCU, Wright State, Army, Louisiana Tech and UNLV. The Razorbacks will add to that list with a weekend series at projected SEC champion and No. 1 LSU.
Arkansas is led by outfielders Jace Bohrofen (.406, 5 HRs, 17 RBI), Jared Wegner (.384, 9, 33) and Tavian Josenberger (.346, 3, 13), designated hitter Kendall Diggs (.344, 6, 24), second baseman Peyton Stovall (..323, 3, 16) and first baseman Brady Slavens (.297, 2, 16).
The Redhawks, hitting a collective .250, do not have a regular hitter above .300, but Jevon Mason (.297, 2, 12), Josh Cameron (.282, 3, 15) and Lincoln Andrews (.280, 3, 16) are all at .280 or better, and Chance Resetich (.257) and Carlos Aranda (.254) have 15 and 14 RBI, respectively.
m Arkansas has had eight winning streaks of 10-plus games in Coach Dave Van Horn's 21 seasons at the helm:
16*March 7, 2020-March 13, 2021Last 4 games of '20, first 12 of '21
13March 1-19, 2023Streak started with 10-9 win over Illinois St.
13April 3-23, 2010Swept Miss. State on road, Georgia at home
12Feb.11-March 8, 2005Season-opening tear lasted into South Carolina
12March 5-25, 2022Hogs 4-0 in SEC before loss at Mizzou
10Feb. 11-March 5, 2003DVH's sterling debut streak ended at K-State
10March 4-21, 20126-0 vs. Texas, Gonzaga, Alabama in this one
10May 16-June 5, 2021Won SEC Tournament, 2 games in NCAAs
*Streak spanned two seasons due to covid-19