Details released for 2021 State Farm College Baseball Showdown - Arkansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, TCU, Texas, Tech
baseball Edit

Details released for 2021 State Farm College Baseball Showdown

Arkansas is one of six top-10 teams in a loaded tournament to open the 2021 baseball season.
Arkansas is one of six top-10 teams in a loaded tournament to open the 2021 baseball season. (Texas Rangers)

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For the first time in more than a decade, Arkansas will begin its baseball season outside the friendly confines of Baum-Walker Stadium.

The Razorbacks are one of six top-10 teams set to participate in the inaugural State Farm College Baseball Showdown at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas., on opening weekend. The last time they opened a season away from Fayetteville was 2007.

After originally announcing it would play Texas on Opening Day, Feb. 29, Arkansas will instead play Texas Tech, followed by the Longhorns on Saturday and TCU on Sunday. First pitch of all three games is 7 p.m. CT.

Ole Miss and Mississippi State are the other teams in the event, essentially making it a Big 12/SEC Challenge.

“Just really excited about getting to start the season in such a special venue,” Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. “I know that our players are extremely excited about it. The competition is second-to-none. I think it’s going to be something that’s heavily scouted, heavily watched.

“Just to start the season off with this type of tournament after losing last year’s season, I think it’s going to be amazing for our sport and we’re looking forward to seeing everybody down there.”

Attendance at Globe Life Park, which opened in March last year as the new home of the Texas Rangers, will be between 14,000-15,000 and tickets are already on sale here. A single day ticket, which is good for all three games in a particular day, is $25, while a weekend pass good for all nine games is $50.

Fans unable to make it to Arlington will be able to stream the games on FloSports, a subscription service that starts at $12.49 per month. There will also be a radio broadcast on the Razorback Sports Network.

It is unusual for the Razorbacks to open the season on the road, especially against this level of competition. Back in 2007, they played a three-game series at Louisiana Tech.

This event has an SEC weekend series feel to it, Van Horn said, but he didn’t hesitate to accept the invitation when TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle reached out to him a few years ago.

“When I got the call from Jim about this, to me it was a no-brainer. Just really for the student-athletes. I know that I would be disappointed if my head coach turned this down because it was opening weekend if I found out about it. I don’t know if we’re going to be quite ready or where we want to be, but the experience will definitely tell us what we need to work on and answer a lot of questions, you hope.”

Not only are there numerous potential first-round MLB Draft picks, with seven of MLB Pipeline’s top 50 2021 prospects across the six teams, but there are several others who are expected to hear their name called early in this summer’s draft.

Schlossnagle, who is entering his 18th season as TCU’s head coach, said a veteran scouting director told him there were more than 60 “high-end follows” in the event, something the scout had never seen before.

“You’re basically going to be seeing guys that are going to be playing in the big leagues, several in probably less than 18-24 months,” Schlossnagle said. “It’s going to be super exciting.”

That word - “exciting” or “excited” - was thrown around by all six head coaches during a Zoom videoconference Thursday.

However, Texas head coach David Pierce probably best hinted at the apprehension all of them feel to a certain extent about opening the season against such high-level competition when asked about playing Arkansas.

“I don’t know about excited,” Pierce said with a smile. “Dave’s running a juggernaut over there, but it’s been awesome competing against them the last few years. They’ll test you and you’ll find out about your team and where your weaknesses are.”

2021 State Farm College Baseball Showdown Schedule

Friday, Feb. 19

11 a.m. - Mississippi State vs. Texas

3 p.m. - Ole Miss vs. TCU

7 p.m. - Arkansas vs. Texas Tech

Saturday, Feb. 20

11 a.m. - TCU vs. Mississippi State

3 p.m. - Texas Tech vs. Ole Miss

7 p.m. - Texas vs. Arkansas

Sunday, Feb. 21

11 a.m. - Mississippi State vs. Texas Tech

3 p.m. - Ole Miss vs. Texas

7 p.m. - Arkansas vs. TCU