Van Horn’s Command Over the SEC Is Unmatched.

The Razorbacks secured another SEC Western Division title with a 6-3 win over Texas A&M at Blue Bell Park on Friday night.

Arkansas’ victory not only underscores their dominance over divisional rivals but also marks a significant milestone for head coach Dave Van Horn. When Van Horn joined the Razorbacks in 2003, he brought a successful track record from Nebraska, where he led the Cornhuskers to consecutive 20-win seasons in the Big 12 and College World Series appearances.

Van Horn was hired to build upon the strong foundation established by retired coach Norm DeBriyn. As an alum of the Diamond Hogs, Van Horn took the team to Omaha in his second year in 2004, though they fell just short.

The SEC has long been a powerhouse in college baseball, more so than the ACC and PAC-12 since 1990, with 15 College World Series titles, including the last four. Although Arkansas hasn’t yet clinched a national title, they’ve been serious contenders multiple times.

In a season where the SEC’s top four seeds are the best in conference history, Arkansas is vying for a national seed once again. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the Razorbacks have maintained one of the best runs in conference history.

Arkansas’ SEC records since 2019 are:

– 2019: 20-10
– 2021: 22-8
– 2022: 18-12
– 2023: 20-10
– 2024: 20-9*

No other active SEC coach has achieved more 20-win conference seasons in a five-year span than Van Horn. Since 2017, Arkansas has won at least 18 SEC games each year.

LSU’s Skip Bertman is the only other coach with four 20-win SEC seasons in five years, achieving this from 1994-98 and winning back-to-back national titles. Florida’s Kevin O’Sullivan also had five 20+ win seasons in conference play from 2009-18, but not within a five-year span. He did, however, lead the Gators to nine seasons with 18+ wins in conference play over a decade.

Since 2017, the Razorbacks have posted an impressive 332-128 overall record (136-72 SEC), including five Western Division championships, two SEC titles, three College World Series appearances, and one SEC Tournament title.

Van Horn’s consistent success is commendable, especially given the SEC’s strength this season. When the weekend began, the entire Top 5 of the NCAA’s RPI rankings were SEC schools – Texas A&M, Kentucky, Georgia, Arkansas, and Tennessee. The Razorbacks are 2-3 against the Aggies and Wildcats but have yet to play Georgia or Tennessee.

The top five teams have a combined 209-57 record this year. If a 20-win conference season in the SEC isn’t impressive enough, some success in Omaha might be what it takes to truly stand out.

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