Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Van Horn, 4 players earn SEC honors
Arkansas reliever Hagen Smith celebrates Friday, April 14, 2023, after recording the final out of the Razorbacks’ 5-2 win over Tennessee at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas’ Dave Van Horn earned his third SEC coach of the year award and four Razorbacks earned all-conference recognition Monday.
The awards were voted on by SEC head coaches.
Left-handed pitcher Hagen Smith was named All-SEC first team and to the league’s all-defensive team; designated hitter Kendall Diggs was named All-SEC second team; right-handed pitcher Gage Wood was named to the All-SEC freshman team; and center fielder Tavian Josenberger was named to the all-defensive team.
The Razorbacks went 39-15 overall and 20-10 in SEC play to claim a share of the conference championship. Arkansas also won the SEC West outright.
Van Horn won coach of the year for the second time in three seasons. He has been named SEC coach of the year each time he has won a regular-season conference championship and previously won in 2004 and 2021.
Prior to coaching Arkansas, Van Horn won Big 12 coach of the year in 2001 while at Nebraska, and was twice named Southland Conference coach of the year in 1995 and 1997 while coaching Northwestern (La.) State.
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Smith was used a starter and a relief pitcher during conference play. The sophomore has factored into 11 decisions with an 8-1 record and 2 saves. He has a 2.56 ERA in 63 1/3 innings.
Diggs is batting .314 and leads the Razorbacks with 56 RBI. He has 23 extra-base hits, including 12 doubles and 10 home runs, and his 41 walks lead the team.
Wood replaced Smith as the team’s primary closer in April. He leads the team with 5 saves and has a 3.81 ERA in 28 1/3 innings.
Josenberger made a number of highlight-reel plays in center field. He has seven outfield assists and has contributed to five double plays.
LSU center fielder Dylan Crews was named SEC player of the year and LSU right-hander Paul Skenes was the league's pitcher of the year. Georgia first baseman Charlie Condon was named SEC freshman of the year.
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