Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics (Walt Beazley)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - No. 15 Arkansas, which has won four of its first six conference series, continues SEC play this weekend as it travels to Athens, Ga., to face the Georgia Bulldogs. Game times for the weekend series are scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Arkansas enters the weekend with a 27-15 overall record and an 11-7 mark in conference play. The Razorbacks are currently in second place in the SEC Western Division, four games behind division leader LSU. Arkansas is coming off a series victory against Texas A&M last weekend at Baum Stadium. The Razorbacks were scheduled to play Oklahoma on Tuesday, but the game was cancelled due to inclement weather.
The Razorbacks are hitting .269 at the plate and are coming off a strong offensive performance last weekend, hitting .323 in the three-game series vs. the Aggies. Brian Anderson leads Arkansas at the plate with a .317 batting average, two homers and 25 RBI. Joe Serrano is hitting .308 with a homer and 13 RBI, while Tyler Spoon has a .306 batting average with three homers and a team-high 38 RBI. Matt Vinson is hitting .301 and has one home run and 19 RBI.
The Razorback pitching staff leads the country with a team ERA of 1.81 and also lead the nation with 6.36 hits allowed per nine innings. Junior right hander Barrett Astin will get the start in the series opener on Friday. Astin has a 2-2 record with a 2.34 ERA in 12 appearances, including eight starts. Junior righty Ryne Stanek is projected to start Saturday's game. Stanek has started 10 games this season and is 5-2 with a 1.63 ERA. In SEC games, Stanek has a 4-1 record with a conference-best 0.70 ERA. Senior southpaw Randall Fant will take the mound for the finale on Sunday. Fant is 3-1 with a 2.23 ERA in eight starts.
The Arkansas bullpen has compiled a 9-5 record with 11 saves and a 1.38 ERA. Jalen Beeks has pitched in a team-high 19 games and has a 4-1 record with two saves and a 1.86 ERA. Brandon Moore has appeared in 15 games, all in relief, and is 1-2 with a 1.47 ERA. Colby Suggs has seen time in 13 games and has a team-high five saves with a 2.38 ERA. Trent Daniel has pitched in 14 games and is 0-1 with one save and a 1.47 ERA. Chris Oliver and Michael Gunn have each pitched in 11 games. Gunn is 1-0 with one save and a 0.43 ERA, while Oliver has a 2-2 record with a 1.93 ERA.
Georgia enters the weekend series with a 16-26 overall record and a 4-14 mark in conference play. The Bulldogs are currently seventh in the SEC Eastern Division. Georgia has been playing some of its best baseball of late, winning four of its last six games, including an impressive 17-0 shutout of No. 19 Georgia Tech on Tuesday night at Turner Field.
The Bulldogs are hitting .278 as a team entering the series and are led at the plate by Curt Powell, who is hitting .378 with 20 RBI and 27 runs scored. Nelson Ward is batting .322 with 13 RBI and 28 runs scored, while Jared Walsh has a .306 batting average with two homers and 19 RBI. Hunter Cole is hitting .305 with three homers and 28 RBI. Kyle Farmer leads the Bulldogs with 40 RBI to go along with his .299 batting average and three home runs, while Brett DeLoach has hit a team-high four homers and driven in 24 runs.
On the mound, Georgia has a team ERA of 4.52. The Bulldogs will start junior left hander Patrick Boling in the series opener. Boling has pitched in 16 games, including 10 starts, and has a 2-5 record with a 4.37 ERA. Freshman right hander Sean McLaughlin will start the middle game of the series. McLaughlin has compiled a 4-4 record with a 3.33 ERA in 10 starts. Senior righty Bryan Benzor will get the ball in the series finale. Benzor has pitched in 15 games total, four as a starter, and has a 3-2 record with a 4.38 ERA.
Out of the bullpen, Jarrett Brown has pitched in a team-leading 21 games and has one save with a 1.99 ERA. Ross Ripple has made 19 appearances, all in relief, and is 1-1 with a 3.90 ERA. Dylan Cole and Blake Dieterich have each pitched in 16 games. Cole has three saves and a 2.65 ERA, while Dieterich is 2-2 with a save and a 2.54 ERA. Jared Walsh has saved three games and compiled a 2-3 record with a 2.05 ERA in 15 appearances, 12 in relief.
Arkansas and Georgia have played 46 times previously with the Razorbacks holding a 26-20 advantage in the series. The Bulldogs have a 12-8 advantage when the two teams play in Athens. Arkansas has won six of the last 10 games vs. Georgia, including taking two of three last season in the regular season series at Baum Stadium.
The second and third games of the series will be televised with
SportSouth televising Saturday's game and CSS having the broadcast for
Sunday's game. Saturday's game will air in Northwest Arkansas on Fox
Sports Southwest, while Sunday's game will be available in Northwest
Arkansas on Cox Sports Television. All three games against the Bulldogs
will be available on the Razorback Baseball Radio Network from IMG.
Three-time Arkansas Sportscaster of the Year Chuck Barrett will have the
call. A live blog and live stats for each game will be available on ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Series Schedule (Times Central and Subject to Change)
Friday, April 26 - 6 p.m.
Saturday, April 27 - 11 a.m.
Sunday, April 28 - 1 p.m.
Probable Pitching Matchups (Arkansas listed first)
Friday (6 p.m.)
RHP Barrett Astin (Jr., 2-2, 2.34) vs. LHP Patrick Boling (Jr., 2-5, 4.37)
Saturday (11 a.m.)
RHP Ryne Stanek (Jr., 5-2, 1.63) vs. RHP Sean McLaughlin (Fr., 4-4, 3.33)
Sunday (1 p.m.)
LHP Randall Fant (Sr., 3-1, 2.23) vs. RHP Bryan Benzor (Sr., 3-2, 4.38)
Arkansas - No. 12 (Perfect Game), No. 14 (Baseball America), No. 15 (USA Today/NCBWA), No. 16 (Collegiate Baseball)
Georgia - Not Ranked