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Connor Noland making family, hometown proud by helping lead Razorbacks to Omaha

Noland will start Arkansas' College World Series opener against Stanford, looking to continue a senior season that's showcased his talent as well as his toughness.

OMAHA, Neb. — Connor Noland has had the talent from a young age.

"At three, he could throw the ball really hard," said Angie Noland, Connor's mom. "He was out with his brother's six year old team, practicing baseball, and could throw the ball harder than any of the six or seven year olds out there."

He continued to show that talent in high school as a two-sport athlete at Greenwood, excelling in football and baseball.

"You knew he was something special when he came in as a freshman," said Greenwood play-by-play announcer Tim Terry. "He just had a little swagger about him and that was cool."

Even more cool? Noland has continued to show that talent, arm strength and swagger throughout his career at Arkansas, but especially this year in his senior season.

Noland has been the Friday night starter all year, earning seven wins and nine quality starts in 17 starts overall. 

In an up and down season for the Razorbacks, the righty has been one of the constants, and earned a win in both the Stillwater Regional and the Chapel Hill Super Regional to help send the Hogs to Omaha.

Noland was in Omaha with the Hogs in 2019, but this time around, he returns to the College World Series as the ace on the Razorbacks' pitching staff.

"You've got to be tough around us," said Frank Noland, Connor's dad. "All of our kids are tough… and he's a tough kid and he works hard. That's what it's all about. If you're going to have success not only in baseball but in this world, you've better be tough."

While showing that toughness on the mound, Noland has made his hometown proud.

"When they show those stats at the very first when he comes out, and it says 'hometown: Greenwood, Arkansas', everybody cheers and get's a little bit of pride," Terry said. "It'll put a smile on your face."

And he's made the state of Arkansas proud as well, including his parents.

"Our kids are sixth generation Arkansans, so we have pride and love for our state," Angie said. "It's kind of emotional. Our kid is representing our state, a state that we love."

A state that Connor and the Razorbacks would love nothing more, than to give a first College World Series title.

"They came here for one reason, and Connor's with the University of Arkansas to win a national championship," Frank said. "So anything that's short of that, yeah it's been a great season, but that's the ultimate goal.

"They might not talk about it a lot, " Frank said. "But every single one of the players, and every single one of the coaches know why they're here and what the goal is. So that's what we're going to get."

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