FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A trio of Arkansas players put their names in the transfer portal Tuesday morning and one announced his commitment to an old Razorback rival.
Razorback pitchers Heston Tole and Gabriel Starks along with freshman catcher Max Soliz Jr. had their names on the D1Baseball transfer tracker Tuesday morning. Soon after his name landed in the portal, Tole announced his commitment to the Texas Longhorns.
Despite glimpses of success, Tole was never able to secure a consistent spot in the Hogs’ pitching rotation during his two seasons in Fayetteville. He threw 26 ⅓ innings in two years and had a career ERA of 3.08.
Tole struck out batters at a high rate, racking up 40 strikeouts compared to just five walks. His fatal flaw was that he just did not have the stuff or velocity to keep bats off the ball. Tole surrendered 20 hits — six for extra bases — and opponents had a .508 sin his 14 ⅓ innings pitched this season.
Starks always found himself as a fan favorite among the Razorback faithful, but like Tole, could never crack the rotation. He threw just 15 ⅔ innings as a Hog and had a 5.74 ERA in his two seasons. Starks struggled a lot with command, and despite his high velocity, batters had no issue getting hits off of him.
This postseason, Starks threw twice — in a 14-10 loss to Oklahoma State and during the 13-5 loss to Ole Miss in the College World Series. He gave up 12 runs on 12 hits during his two seasons as a Razorback.
The loss of Soliz leaves Arkansas without a catcher on the current roster, even though he was not primarily a catcher. He saw action in five games as a freshman this season and recorded two hits in nine at bats. Soliz slotted in at designated hitter or outfielder in those five appearances.
The Hogs will definitely be targeting two or three catchers in the transfer portal this offseason, but the loss of Starks and Tole is likely due to 12 freshmen and two JUCO pitchers coming in for next season. Arkansas will return a lot of arms that threw this season, and the addition of at least 14 more results in a lot of competition.
For a full breakdown of the 2023 Razorback roster, click here.
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