Matt Jones has been the online sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 2010. He is also a feature writer for Hawgs Illustrated magazine and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in journalism.
Arkansas gets RPI bump
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn watches from the dugout during play against South Carolina Friday, April 4, 2014, at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.
Hogs in RPI
April 1: 116 NCAA, 14 SEC
Following 3-0 midweek vs. Mississippi Valley State and 1-2 weekend at Mississippi State
April 8: 85 NCAA, 13 SEC
Following 1-1 midweek vs. Nebraska and 2-1 weekend vs. South Carolina
April 15: 71 NCAA, 13 SEC
Following 1-1 midweek vs. UNLV and 1-2 weekend at LSU
April 22: 51 NCAA, 11 SEC
Following 1-0 midweek vs. Stephen F. Austin and 2-1 weekend vs. Vanderbilt
April 29: 59 NCAA, 12 SEC
Following 2-0 midweek vs. Northwestern State and 1-2 weekend vs. Auburn
May 6: 54 NCAA, 12 SEC
Following 1-0 midweek at Missouri State and 1-2 weekend at Ole Miss
FAYETTEVILLE By virtue of two road wins last week, Arkansas moved up five spots to No. 54 in the latest NCAA baseball RPI rankings.
The Razorbacks beat Missouri State last Tuesday and won one of three games at Ole Miss over the weekend to help their cause in the RPI rankings, which help determine NCAA regional participants and host sites. Road wins boost a team's RPI more than home wins, while road losses are not weighted as heavily as home losses.
Arkansas is 23-9 at home, 5-10 on the road and 2-1 in neutral site games this season.
The Razorbacks (30-20, 11-13 SEC) are on the bubble for making the NCAA regionals with two weeks left in the regular season. Arkansas has notable series wins over RPI Nos. 5 Vanderbilt, 11 South Carolina and 25 Alabama at home, but is hurt by home series losses to Nos. 67 Auburn and 143 South Alabama.
Strength of schedule - a component to RPI - also hurts Arkansas, who played a combined five games against Grambling and Mississippi Valley State this season. Those two schools are among the five worst in this week's RPI.
Texas A&M (RPI 32) travels to Arkansas this weekend. The Razorbacks close out the regular season with a trip to Missouri (RPI 111) next week.
Arkansas is 12th among SEC teams in this week's RPI. Some analysts predict the league could receive as many as 10 bids to this year's NCAA postseason.