FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - Winners of its last six games, the No. 15 Arkansas baseball team opens Southeastern Conference play this weekend as it hosts No. 8 Ole Miss at Baum Stadium. Game times are set for 6:35 p.m. on Friday, 2:05 p.m. on Saturday and 1:05 p.m. on Sunday.
The first two games of the series will be available on RazorVision, while the series finale will be televised on Cox Sports Television and also available on ESPN3. All three games will be available on the Razorback Baseball Radio Network from IMG. A live blog and live stats for each game will be available on ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Fans can also follow updates of each game on @RazorbackBSB, the official Twitter account of the Razorback baseball team.
Single-game reserved tickets are available for Friday and Sunday's games, while only general admission tickets remain for Saturday's game. Tickets are $10 for reserved seats and $8 for general admission and may be purchased by calling 1-800-982-HOGS (4647), by visiting the online ticket center or on gameday at Baum Stadium, while supplies last.
Several promotions are planned for the first weekend of SEC play. On Friday, Chris Bucknam, head coach of the national champion men's track & field team, will throw out a ceremonial first pitch. Fans in attendance at Friday's night can also receive a Razorback baseball bat key ring. On Saturday, Razorback lanyards will be given away to fans in attendance. For the series finale on Sunday, fans will receive a St. Patrick's Day Shirt, sponsored by Arvest.
The Razorbacks, currently on a six-game winning streak, enter conference play with a 13-5 record. Arkansas is coming off a two-game series sweep of Alabama A&M during the midweek. The Razorbacks outscored the Bulldogs 33-2 during the two games. As a team, Arkansas hit .421 in the series and drew 20 walks, including a school-record 19 in the series opener. On the mound, the Razorback pitching staff had a 0.50 team ERA vs. the Bulldogs.
Brian Anderson was 6-for-10 with six RBI and five runs scored in the two games vs. Alabama A&M. Jordan Farris went 4-for-6 with a pair of RBI, while Willie Schwanke was 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Jacob Mahan hit .429 with a RBI and four runs scored. Isaac Hellbusch hit the first home run of his collegiate career in the series opener and drove in five runs. On the mound, nine different pitchers turned in a scoreless outing, led by Chris Oliver and Landon Simpson, who each worked three innings and struck out five.
For the season, the Razorbacks are batting .297 as a team. Spoon, who has reached base safely in all 18 games this season, leads the team with a .388 batting average with three homers and 22 RBI. Anderson is batting .364 with 16 RBI, while Mahan is hitting .333 with a homer and eight RBI. Matt Vinson is hitting at a .315 clip and has driven in five runs.
On the mound, Arkansas leads the SEC with a 1.60 team ERA. Freshman right hander Trey Killian will start the opener on Friday night. The reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, Killian has pitched in four games, three starts, and has a 2-1 record with a 0.86 ERA. Last weekend, he tossed seven no hit innings and struck out seven in a victory over San Diego State. On Saturday, senior southpaw Randall Fant will get the nod. Fant has a 0-0 record with a 0.90 ERA in two starts on the season. Junior righty Ryne Stanek will start the series finale on Sunday. Stanek has a 1-1 record with a 3.71 ERA in four starts.
Out of the Razorback bullpen, Jalen Beeks has appeared in a team-leading eight games and has a 2-0 record with one save and a 1.42 ERA. Barrett Astin has pitched in six games, three in relief, and boasts a 1-1 record with a save and a 1.71 ERA. Brandon Moore has made six appearances and has a 1-1 record with a 1.45 ERA. Michael Gunn and Tyler Wright have each turned in four scoreless outings.
Ole Miss, 18-1 on the season and 5-0 on the road, enters conference play on an 11-game winning streak. The Rebels are coming off a two-game midweek sweep of ULM. Ole Miss' only loss of the season came in a midweek contest vs. Memphis, a 4-3 loss. As a team, the Rebels are hitting .310 on the season, while the pitching staff has a 2.21 team ERA.
Offensively, the Rebels feature five players that are batting over .320, led by Stuart Turner, who leads the SEC with a .492 batting average and has hit two homers with 28 RBI. Austin Anderson has a .397 batting average with a homer and 18 RBI, while Auston Bousfield is hitting .333 with a home run and 10 RBI. Andrew Mistone has a .328 average with 16 RBI and Preston Overbey is batting .323 with a homer and 12 RBI.
On the mound, the Rebels are scheduled to start junior right hander Bobby Wahl in the series opener on Friday. Wahl, a preseason All-American, has a 4-0 record with a 1.99 ERA in four starts. Junior righty Mike Mayers will start Saturday's contest. Mayers is 2-0 on the season and has a 1.52 ERA in four starts. Sophomore right hander Sam Smith will start the series finale. Smith has compiled a 2-0 record with a 2.70 ERA in four starts.
Out of the bullpen, Tanner Bailey has pitched in a team-leading 10 games and has not allowed a run in 11.2 innings. Bailey enters the weekend with a 1-0 record and two saves. Brett Huber has appeared in seven games and has a team-high six saves with a 1-0 record and a 1.35 ERA. Aaron Greenwood (2-0, 0.64) and Matt Denny (0-0, 0.77) have also pitched in seven games this season.
Arkansas and Ole Miss have met 70 times previously with the Razorbacks holding a 38-32 edge. The Razorbacks have a 17-14 advantage when the two teams meet in Fayetteville.
Series Schedule (Times Central and Subject to Change)
Friday, March 15 - 6:35 p.m.
Saturday, March 16 - 2:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 17 - 1:05 p.m.
Probable Pitching Matchups (Arkansas listed first)
Friday (6:35 p.m.)
RHP Trey Killian (Fr., 2-1, 0.86) vs. RHP Bobby Wahl (Jr., 4-0, 1.99)
Saturday (2:05 p.m.)
LHP Randall Fant (Sr., 0-0, 0.90) vs. RHP Mike Mayers (Jr., 2-0, 1.52)
Sunday (1:05 p.m.)
RHP Ryne Stanek (Jr., 1-1, 3.71) vs. RHP Sam Smith (So., 2-0, 2.70)