Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics (Walt Beazley)
HOOVER, Ala. (Univ. of Ark.) - The 15th-ranked Arkansas baseball team will open play in the 2013 Southeastern Conference Tournament on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. as it faces No. 6 seed and 21st-ranked Ole Miss at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
Arkansas begins the postseason with a 35-19 overall record. The Razorbacks finished conference play with an 18-11 record, winning seven of their 10 SEC series for the first time since 2004. Arkansas' 18 wins were the most in conference play since the 2010 team also won 18 league games. The Razorbacks finished second in the SEC West and third overall in the league. Arkansas closed the regular season last weekend by dropping two of three games at Auburn.
The Razorbacks are hitting .261 as a team entering the conference tournament. Brian Anderson has been the hottest Razorback at the plate in recent weeks, increasing his batting average to .349 with four homers and 33 RBI. Over his last eight games, Anderson is 16-for-28 (.571) with two homers and seven RBI. Anderson finished SEC play with a .371 batting average, which ranked fourth in the league. Jacob Mahan is hitting .291 on the season with two homers and 20 RBI, while Matt Vinson is batting .287 with two round-trippers and 22 RBI. Tyler Spoon has driven in a team-high 43 runs and is hitting .280 with four homers.
The Razorback pitching staff leads the country with a team ERA of 1.90. Junior right hander Barrett Astin will start Arkansas' tournament opener on Wednesday. Astin has pitched in 16 games, including 12 as a starter, and has a 4-4 record with one save and a 2.02 ERA. Astin finished the regular season ranked seventh in the SEC in ERA.
The Arkansas bullpen has compiled a 10-7 record with 17 saves and a 1.76 ERA. Jalen Beeks has pitched in a team-leading 25 games and has a 5-1 record with two saves and a 1.80 ERA. Colby Suggs leads the team with 11 saves, 10 of those in conference play, and has a 2.04 ERA in 20 appearances. Suggs is one save shy of tying the Arkansas record for saves in a single season. Brandon Moore has pitched in 21 games and has a 1-3 mark with a 2.47 ERA. Trent Daniel has seen time in 20 games and is 0-1 with one save and a 2.35 ERA. Michael Gunn has pitched in 15 games and has a 1-0 record with one save and has only allowed one run in 25.1 innings.
Ole Miss is 37-20 on the season and finished conference play with a 15-15 record. The Rebels, who earned the No. 6 seed in the SEC Tournament, opened play on Tuesday with a 4-1 victory over 11th-seed Kentucky.
The Rebels are hitting .279 as a team entering Wednesday's game. Ole Miss is led at the plate by Stuart Turner, who is batting .379 with five homers and 47 RBI. Andrew Mistone is batting .320 with 34 RBI, while Austin Anderson has a .301 batting average with three home runs and 38 RBI. Preston Overbey is tied for the team lead with five homers and has a .283 batting average with 36 RBI.
Ole Miss has a team ERA of 3.09. The Rebels have not announced a starting pitcher for Wednesday's game. Out of the bullpen, Ole Miss closer Brett Huber has 12 saves and a 3-2 record with a 1.59 ERA in 19 appearances. Tanner Bailey has a pitched in a team-leading 28 games and is 4-1 with four saves and a 2.58 ERA. Aaron Greenwood has seen time in 24 games and is 3-4 with two saves and a 2.98 ERA. Matt Denny has compiled a 2-1 record with a 2.18 ERA in 20 appearances.
Arkansas holds a 39-34 advantage in the all-time series against Ole Miss. The Razorbacks and Rebels have met five times previously in the SEC Tournament with the Rebels winning three of the five games. Ole Miss won two of the three meetings against Arkansas in the regular season series earlier this season at Baum Stadium.
Upcoming Schedule (Times Central and Subject to Change)
Wednesday, May 22 vs. Ole Miss - 9:30 a.m.
Thursday, May 23 vs. TBD - Time TBD
Probable Pitching Matchups (Arkansas listed first)
Wednesday (9:30 a.m.)
RHP Barrett Astin (Jr., 4-4, 2.02) vs. TBA
Thursday (Time TBD)
RHP Ryne Stanek (Jr., 8-2, 1.54) vs. TBA
Arkansas - No. 12 (Collegiate Baseball), No. 14 (Baseball America), No. 15 (USA Today), No. 18 (NCBWA/Perfect Game)
Ole Miss - No. 21 (USA Today/NCBWA), No. 24 (Collegiate Baseball), No. 25 (Perfect Game)