Contributed by John Thomas
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – As the start of the 2019 College World Series approaches, four Razorbacks were recognized by D1 Baseball and Perfect Game on the publication’s All-America squads.
Isaiah Campbell picked up second team honors from both outlets, while Matt Cronin received third team accolades from D1 Baseball and was an honorable mention selection by Perfect Game, bringing both of their All-America totals to five this season. Additionally, Jack Kenley earned third team from D1 Baseball and Connor Noland landed on Perfect Game’s second team freshman squad.
Both Campbell and Cronin were named to the second team byBaseball Americaearlier this week after Campbell earned second team honors and Cronin third team honors fromCollegiate Baseball.Campbell also earned second team honors from theNCBWAand Cronin was named to the third team by the same publication. Campbell and Cronin are the 11thand 12thnon-freshman pitchers to be named All-Americans in school history and 16thand 17thoverall.
It’s the first All-America awards for Kenley and Noland, making it back-to-back years Arkansas has had an infielder receive the honor and three consecutive seasons picking up a freshman All-American selection.
Following the footsteps of Blaine Knight into his redshirt junior year, Campbell has given Arkansas ace-like numbers all year as the Friday night starter. With a team-leading 2.26 ERA, Campbell has garnered a 12-1 record and struck out 115 batters over 111.1 innings, which are all career-bests heading into the CWS.
Campbell is coming off, arguably, his best outing as a Razorback, working a career-long 8.1 innings in the NCAA Super Regional last week against Ole Miss, striking out seven. Campbell has a 1.65 ERA in 16.1 innings of the NCAA Tournament this year and has pitched eight or more innings in each of his two starts.
Campbell, an Olathe, Kansas native, was named a Golden Spikes Semifinalist last month, the first since Andrew Benintendi in 2015, and is just two wins away from tying the single-season school record of 14 wins set by Blaine Knight a year ago. Campbell was drafted No. 76 overall to the Seattle Mariners in the 2019 MLB Draft, joining teammate Dominic Fletcher, who was taken one pick prior, as the first Razorbacks to be taken on the first day of the draft since Benintendi went seventh overall to Boston in 2015.
Cronin has followed up his record-breaking campaign from a year ago and has continued to show why he is considered one of the best closers in the country. With 12 saves in 24 appearances, Cronin ranks in a tie for second in the SEC and 22ndin the nation. His 27 career saves rank second on the Arkansas all-time chart, just seven behind career leader and former three-time All-American Philip Stidham (33 – 1989-91).
Cronin hasn’t given up a run in seven-straight appearances (8.0 innings) dating back to May 3 and two of those outings were more than one inning, resulting in two of his last three saves. Cronin was also an All-SEC pick for the first time in his career as he was one of nine Razorback selected and was drafted in the fourth round of the 2019 MLB Draft to the Washington Nationals.
Kenley is batting .319 heading into the CWS, racking up 73 hits, 27 for extra bases, with 53 RBI and 55 runs scored. He rides into Omaha with a hit in 28 of his last 31 games, including five multi-hit performances in his last 12 starts. In six games this postseason, Kenley is hitting .400 with eight hits, two doubles and a homer, with five RBI and five runs. Overall, he has 23 multi-hit games and 14 multi-RBI performances this year, which ranks third on the team in both categories. Kenley was selected in the eighth round of the 2019 MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers.
Noland has put together a 3-5 record this season with a 4.00 ERA in 18 starts and 19 appearances on the mound. He’s rung up 53 batters allowed 33 earned runs over 74.1 innings of work. In the NCAA Fayetteville Regional, Noland tossed 5.1 frames against Central Connecticut State, allowing just two runs, one earned, on two hits, with two strikeouts in the 11-5 opening round victory. It was the sixth time he pitched 5.0 or more innings, with a season-high 7.2 scoreless coming against Mississippi State on April 20 fellow SEC and CWS squad Mississippi State.
Arkansas (46-18) will play its first game of the 2019 College World Series on Saturday against Florida State (41-27) with first pitch from TD Ameritrade Park at 6 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN.