baseball Edit

Updates on Diamond Hogs' recent transfers

According to studies by the NCAA, only men’s basketball experiences a higher rate of transfers than baseball.

That is particularly true at places like Arkansas, which brings in a lot of talented players each year. There just aren’t enough scholarships (11.7), at bats or innings to go around, leading to players transferring early in their careers.

Here’s a look back at several players who signed with the Razorbacks out of high school but are now playing at other schools…

Nate Alberius - Arkansas State

Stats: 13 games/13 starts, 5-4, 4.16 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 54 K/24 BB, 71 1/3 IP, .280 opp. avg.

Notable: Alberius is the younger brother of former Arkansas pitcher Josh Alberius and also began his career as an infielder, first at a JUCO and then with the Razorbacks, but redshirted in 2016 before transferring to another JUCO and finally ending up at Arkansas State as a pitcher. He has been a weekend rotation guy for the Red Wolves each of the last two seasons.

Ben Bailey - Harding

Stats: 41 games/30 starts, .287/.402/.297, 1 2B, 13 RBI, 11 R, 16 BB/14 K, 2-2 SB

Notable: After redshirting at Arkansas during the 2017 season, Bailey transferred to Division II Harding. He was a part-time starter and hit .329 as a redshirt freshman and then started more than half of the Bison’s games this year. The North Little Rock product was a designated hitter and his batting average was above .300 until slumping over the final five games, which ended with a loss in the GAC Tournament championship game.

Bryce Bonnin - Texas Tech

Stats: 10 games/8 starts, 4-1, 4.78 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 33 K/29 BB, 37 2/3 IP, .235 opp. avg.

Notable: Arguably the most heralded member of Arkansas’ 2017 signing class, Bonnin was a two-way player who emerged as a top-100 draft prospect as a pitcher. However, in his lone season with the Razorbacks, he posted a 4.26 ERA in 19 innings. Following the season, he transferred to Texas Tech and made the opening weekend rotation - but bombed to the tune of six runs (four earned) on two hits and four walks in 1/3 of an inning. However, in his last two starts, Bonnin hasn’t allowed an earned run in 10 2/3 innings against Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.

Matt Burch - Old Dominion

Stats: 51 games/51 starts, .281/.355/.353, 10 2B, 2 HR, 26 RBI, 44 R, 21 BB/35 K, 14-15 SB

Notable: In his lone season with the Razorbacks, Burch actually made seven starts at third base or designated hitter and appeared in 11 other games, but hit just .156. After a successful year at a JUCO, he landed at Old Dominion, where he’s started every game at second base.

Anthony Dahl - Valdosta State

Stats: 12 games/0 starts, 3-2, 3.75 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 21 K/12 BB, 24 IP, .221 opp. avg.

Notable: A right-handed pitcher from Texas, Dahl made 10 appearances for the Razorbacks as a true freshman in 2016, posting an 8.18 ERA in 11 innings. After redshirting during the 2017 season, he transferred to Division II Valdosta State. Coming off a medical redshirt last season, Dahl was a solid bullpen arm for the Blazers as they made a run to the GSC Tournament championship game.

Ty Harris - UAB

Stats: 15 games/0 starts, 2-1, 5.27 ERA, 1.76 WHIP, 10 K/11 BB, 13 2/3 IP, .255 opp. avg.

Notable: The left-hander out of Rogers Heritage appeared in seven games with the Razorbacks in 2016, posting a 9.64 ERA in 4 2/3 innings, before transferring to Crowder C.C. He then landed at UAB, where he’s been a key bullpen arm the last two years. Last weekend, Harris went a career-long four innings and allowed just one run to pick up a win over Charlotte.

Hunter Hart - Southern Illinois

Stats: 2 games/0 starts, 0-0, 27.00 ERA, 4.50 WHIP, 2 K/4 BB, 2 IP, .455 opp. avg.

Notable: Hart made 10 appearances at Arkansas in 2016, posting a 7.62 ERA in 13 innings, before transferring closer to home. He had to sit out the 2017 season and has made only five total appearances the last two years due to his ineffectiveness on the mound, with a 15.63 ERA in 6 1/3 career innings with the Salukis.

Brenden Heiss - Florida Gulf Coast

Stats: 15 games/6 starts, 1-2, 10.58 ERA, 2.43 WHIP, 30 K/44 BB, 24 2/3 IP, .186 opp. avg.

Notable: A late-round draft pick out of high school, Heiss made four appearances for the Razorbacks as a freshman in 2017 before transferring to a junior college. He ended up at Florida Gulf Coast this year and has been tough to hit, holding opponents to a .186 batting average, but has struggled to consistently throw the ball over the plate. Heiss has walked an incredible 44 batters in 24 2/3 innings, plus thrown 11 wild pitches and hit six batters. Florida Gulf Coast has a half-game lead over Liberty for first place in the ASUN going into their matchup to end the regular season.

Zach Jackson - Arkansas State

Stats: 13 games/13 starts, 6-4, 4.23 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 60 K/20 BB, 72 1/3 IP, .279 opp. avg.

Notable: Not to be confused with the former Arkansas pitcher by the same name, Jackson starred at Bryant and signed with the Razorbacks, but transferred to a JUCO after his first fall on campus. He put up solid numbers at Crowder C.C. to earn a scholarship at Arkansas State, where he earned a spot in the weekend rotation his first year on the team. With Alberius, that means two-thirds of the Red Wolves’ starting rotation are former Razorbacks.

Lucas Krull - Florida (football)

Stats: 13 games, 6 receptions, 75 yards, 1-1 passing, 15 yards, 3 tackles

Notable: Probably the most interesting of Arkansas’ recent transfers, Krull - a 6-foot-6 left-handed pitcher who redshirted with the Razorbacks in 2017 - spent a year at junior college only to switch sports and end up back in the SEC. Although primarily a special teams guy, he did get some action as a reserve tight end last season. The highlight of his first year with the Gators was completing a pass to his quarterback on a trick play, setting up the go-ahead score against LSU.

Ben McClain - Howard C.C.

Stats: 56 games, .298/.432/.436, 10 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 39 RBI, 66 R, 37 BB/28 K, 12-14 SB

Notable: After redshirting on last year’s national runner-up team at Arkansas, McClain decided to go the JUCO route. As Howard’s leadoff man and center fielder, he was hitting .307 until a 1-for-9 showing at the district tournament bumped him below .300.

Connor McCullough - Kansas State

Stats: N/A

Notable: One of three Arkansas natives on Kansas State’s pitching staff, McCullough actually signed with the Razorbacks. His only appearance in an Arkansas uniform, though, was for an inning of work in the exhibition game at UALR. After the fall semester, McCullough transferred to Kansas State, where he is sitting out because of NCAA transfer rules.

Noah Miller - Howard C.C.

Stats: 23 games/0 starts, 4-1, 6 saves, 2.42 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 25 K/16 BB, 26 IP

Notable: Miller signed with the Razorbacks out of Van Buren, but never pitched for Arkansas. Instead, he transferred to Howard, where he put up good numbers as a closer. He’ll play at Austin Peay next season.

Easton Murrell - Texas Tech

Stats: 13 games/3 starts, .214/.421/.286, 1 2B, 0 RBI, 6 R, 4 BB/5 K

Notable: Another member of Arkansas’ 2017 signing class who spend just one year in Fayetteville before transferring to Texas Tech, Murrell has played sparingly for the Red Raiders. In three spot starts at shortstop at the end of March, he committed an error in each game. Although he’s drawn four walks and been hit by a pitch, Murrell hasn’t done much at the plate, either.

Derek Ripp - George Washington

Stats: 43 games/41 starts, .284/.378/.355, 11 2B, 16 RBI, 17 R, 20 BB/26 K, 0-1 SB

Notable: After redshirting with the Razorbacks last year, Ripp transferred to George Washington where is is playing with his younger brother. As a designated hitter/first baseman for the Colonials, he was hitting .315 before the last two weekends.

Alex Ronnebaum - Kent State

Stats: 38 games/30 starts, .273/.370/.491, 9 2B, 5 HR, 28 RBI, 22 R, 11 BB/26 K, 1-1 SB

Notable: Ronnebaum signed with the Razorbacks, but transferred to Howard C.C. before ever playing a game. He spent two years there before landing at Kent State, where he’s been a utility guy as a redshirt sophomore - starting games at both corner infield spots and designated hitter.

Jackson Rutledge (RHP) - San Jacinto C.C.

Stats: 13 games/13 starts, 9-2, 0.88 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 134 K/30 BB, 82 2/3 IP, .148 opp. avg.

Notable: A hard-throwing right-hander with a 6-foot-8, 258-pound frame, Rutledge came to Arkansas as a highly regarded recruit and didn’t allow an earned run in his first 9 2/3 innings as a freshman. However, he gave up six in his last six innings, capped by an outing against Alabama in which he lost complete control. Rutledge walked both batters he faced and threw three wild pitches in his final appearance, which prompted the Razorbacks to leave him off their postseason roster.

That led to him transferring to JUCO powerhouse San Jacinto C.C. and it’s proven to be an excellent move. The Gators are ineligible for postseason play, so Rutledge ended his season with incredible numbers. Although he signed with Kentucky, he’ll likely never pitch in the SEC again because he is being called the best JUCO prospect since Bryce Harper. According to MLB Pipeline, he is the No. 13 overall draft prospect.

Jackson Rutledge (LHP) - Northeast Texas C.C. (Delta State)

Stats: 14 games/7 starts, 3-3, 4.59 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 46 K/19 BB, 41 2/3 IP

Notable: Not to be confused with the previous pitcher by the same name, Rutledge was a left-hander who never actually pitched for the Razorbacks. He improved his numbers enough as a redshirt sophomore to sign with Delta State, a Division II school.

Darien Simms - Sam Houston State

Stats: 31 games/0 starts, .167/.375/.167, 1 RBI, 7 R, 4 BB/3 K, 2-4 SB

Notable: After redshirting in 2015, Simms saw some action as a redshirt freshman, hitting .214 in mostly pinch-hit situations and stealing six bases. He ended up at Sam Houston State, where he plays for former Dave Van Horn assistant Matt Deggs, following a one-year stint at a JUCO. Simms actually started 15 games last season, but is now just a bench player as a fifth-year senior.

Cole Turney - San Jacinto C.C.

Stats: N/A

Notable: Turney has been unable to play since the fall with what is presumed to be an injury. He will return to San Jacinto and play next season as a redshirt sophomore.

Jaxon Williams - Texas State

Stats: 49 games/49 starts, .332/.438/.449, 8 2B, 5 HR, 29 RBI, 53 R, 34 BB/27 K, 5-9 SB

Notable: As a true freshman at Arkansas in 2017, Williams burst onto the scene with a bases-clearing double in his first at bat and 12 RBIs in his first 14 at bats. However, with Carson Shaddy returning for his senior season, he opted to transfer to a JUCO and put up monster numbers (.437, 14 HR, 53 RBIs in 52 games) at Howard C.C.

That helped him land a scholarship at Texas State, where he has been one of the Bobcats’ best players and helped them to first place in the Sun Belt. Williams started the first 49 games of the season until fouling a pitch off his foot and missing the last two games at UALR as a precaution. He is expected to return for Texas State’s final regular-season series.

Hunter Wilson - Oral Roberts

Stats: 42 games/41 starts, .306/.364/.387, 8 2B, 2 HR, 31 RBI, 38 R, 17 BB/21 K, 11-11 SB

Notable: Wilson has the unique distinction of playing at Baum-Walker Stadium for three different teams - first with Stephen F. Austin, then the Razorbacks and finally, this year, Oral Roberts. In two years with the Razorbacks, he became a fan and team favorite because of the energy he brought every day. The highlight of his tenure was a grand slam against Florida in the SEC Tournament.

Not surprisingly, Wilson received a hero’s welcome when the Golden Eagles came to Fayetteville last month. The fans gave him a standing ovation and the UA played his old walk-up song and displayed a cowboy - an ode to his nickname - tipping his cap on the scoreboard. Wilson even got a standing ovation after hitting a home run late in the game.

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