The Southeastern Conference and Big 12 Conference baseball races are heating up as the playoffs loom in the background. There are numerous teams with loads of talent, but Arkansas in the SEC and Texas in the Big 12 are flexing their muscles as usual this time of year.
Arkansas is ranked No. 1 in the majority of the nation-wide polls, unanimously in some of the most respected polls. The Razorbacks have 31-6 overall and in sole possession of the SEC Western Division with a 13-2 mark. Mississippi State follows Arkansas with (28-9, 10-6 records) and Ole Miss is third at (28-12, 10-8).
The Razorbacks real competition appears to be Vanderbilt (30-6, 12-4), which leads the SEC Eastern Division. Tennessee (31-8, 11-5) is second in the East and Florida third at (27-11, 10-6).
Texas is tied with TCU for first place in the Big 12, both with 11-2 conference records. The Longhorns have won 15 games in a row to improve their record to 32-8 while the Horned Frogs are 28-9 on the season.
If you're wondering, Arkansas and Texas have played each other once this year, when the Razorbacks blanked the Longhorns, 4-0, at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. Three Arkansas pitchers, including former Pleasant Grove standout Caleb Bolden silence Texas' bats to only two hits. Bolden got the save by pitching four innings of hitless ball, striking out seven and walking one.
Bolden had a hand in the Hogs' 2-1 sweep over South Carolina in Friday night's doubleheader in Columbia, S.C. The Gamecocks on the first game, 6-2, before the Porkers rebounded to take the nightcap and the series, 5-1. Arkansas is the only SEC team that hasn't lost a series in SEC play this season.
Bolden saw action in the Thursday's opening game against South Carolina, as four pitchers limited the hosts to only two hits, the team's fourth 2-hitter of the season.
Bolden got the start, followed by Ryan Costeiu, Caden Monke and Kevin Kopps, who combined to allow one run on two hits and four walks while striking out 10 in total.
"Our pitchers are giving us some good outings, and they're working hard," said Arkansas 19-year coach Dave Van Horn.
A rowdy South Carolina crowd heckled Arkansas second baseman Robert Moore, who responded blasting two home runs, including the game-winning two-run blast in the seventh.
Texas played a doubleheader against No. 24 Oklahoma State. The Longhorns won the first game, 4-3, at Stillwater, Okla. Those two teams were to conclude the 3-game series with a single game starting at 1 p.m. today.
Texas' Zach Zubia drove in three runs in the opener for the 'Horns, including a two-run homer. Texas managed only four hits in the contest.
The Razorbacks won't return to the diamond until Friday when they travel to Baton Rouge, La., to face LSU on the SEC Network.