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What ESPN’s Snub of Arkansas vs Kentucky Really Means

Jared Sprague-Lott, Arkansas Baseball, Arkansas vs. Kentucky
photo credit: Arkansas Athletics

To watch the Razorbacks attempt to reach the top 10 showdown between Arkansas and Kentucky on Saturday afternoon, fans will need to log back into their SEC Network-Plus accounts.

All three games between the SEC’s two division leaders — including the first pitch of Game 2 at 1 p.m. CT — will be available only via streaming, and not on ESPN or any of its network families.

Instead, the game between No. 1 Texas A&M and unranked LSU (which is in danger of missing the postseason) was simulcast Friday on ESPN2 and SEC Network and will be rebroadcast Saturday by ESPNU. The other televised game on Saturday is Auburn-Ole Miss. The combined record of these two teams is barely over .500 and they have only 11 SEC wins between them, yet they are on SEC Network. That game is also SEC Network on Sunday.

Of course, fans took this as a slight to the Razorbacks — ESPN hates the Hogs, after all — but it’s a really good example of what’s wrong with the TV scheduling process. All network designations, with the exception of a handful of “wildcard” dates, are determined before the season. At that point, no one knew that LSU would tank or that neither Auburn nor Ole Miss would be as bad as they were — or that Kentucky would lead the SEC East this weekend.

And there lies the problem. To get the best matchups on real television every week, there needs to be more flexibility. That’s what happens in football, where the best games get primetime ESPN slots and the worst games get the worst time slots on SEC Network.

So no, ESPN doesn’t “hate the Hogs” as so many fans think, but it could change how it goes about scheduling which SEC baseball games to air.

If you still don’t know how to use SEC Network-Plus, or you just don’t want to, you can catch some updates from Game 2 of the Arkansas vs Kentucky series below…

(READ NEXT: Check out our in-depth recap of Game 1 of the Arkansas vs Kentucky series)

LIVE UPDATES — Arkansas vs. Kentucky (Game 2)

Prediction facts

Kentucky starter Dominic Niman is 7-3 with a 5.00 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. He has 49 strikeouts and only 15 walks in 54 innings with opponents hitting .257 against him.

Starting lineups

Kentucky Baseball Arkansas Baseball
1. Ryan Waldschmidt – LF 1. Peyton Stovall – 2B
2. Emilien Pitre – 2B 2. Jared Sprague-Lott – 3B
3. Devin Burkes – C 3. Ben McLaughlin – 1B
4. Nick Lopez – DH 4. Wehiwa Aloy – SS
5. Mitchell Daly – 3B 5. Kendall Diggs – RF
6. Ryan Nicholson – 1B 6. Peyton Holt – CF
7. Nolan McCarthy – CF 7. Nolan Souza – DH
8. James McCoy – RF 8. Hudson White – C
9. Grant Smith – SS 9. Ross Lovich – LF
Pitching: LHP Dominic Niman Pitching: RHP Brady Tygart

Watch Arkansas vs Kentucky (Game 2)

Date: Saturday May 4

Place: Kentucky Proud Park (Lexington, Ky.)

First pitch: 1:00 PM CT

TV/Stream: SEC Network-Plus

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