FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - The 14th-ranked Arkansas baseball team closes its regular season home schedule this weekend as it hosts the Tennessee Volunteers. Game times for the weekend series are scheduled for 6:35 p.m. on Friday, 6:05 p.m. on Saturday and 1:05 p.m. on Sunday.
The Razorbacks, 32-16 overall and 15-8 in Southeastern Conference play, enter the weekend having won seven of their last eight games. Arkansas, which has won six of its first eight conference series for the first time since 2007, is currently in second place in the SEC Western Division, 3.5 games behind division leader LSU. The Razorbacks currently are third overall in the conference. Arkansas is coming off a series victory at then-No. 23 Kentucky last weekend, taking two of three games from the Wildcats.
The Razorbacks are hitting .263 as a team. Arkansas is led at the plate by Brian Anderson, who is hitting .323 with three homers and 28 RBI. Mahan is batting .299 with two home runs and 19 RBI, while Vinson has a .298 batting average with a homer and 20 RBI. Joe Serrano has a .288 batting average with a homer and 16 RBI. Tyler Spoon leads the Razorbacks with four homers and 42 RBI and is hitting .286.
The Razorback pitching staff leads the country with a team ERA of 1.77 and also leads the nation with 6.43 hits allowed per nine innings. Arkansas will start junior right hander Barrett Astin in the series opener on Friday. Astin has pitched in 14 games, 10 as a starter, and has a 4-2 record with one save and a 1.98 ERA. On Saturday, junior righty Ryne Stanek will get the ball. Stanek has a 6-2 mark with a 1.87 ERA in 12 starts. Senior southpaw Randall Fant will start the series finale on Sunday. Fant has posted a 4-1 record with a 2.27 ERA in 10 starts.
The Arkansas bullpen has compiled a 10-6 record with 16 saves and a 1.33 ERA. Jalen Beeks has pitched in a team-leading 23 games and has compiled a 5-1 record with two saves and a 1.87 ERA. Colby Suggs has a team-leading 10 saves, nine of them in conference play, and has a 1.72 ERA in 18 appearances. Brandon Moore has also appeared in 18 games and is 1-2 with a 1.36 ERA. Daniel has seen time in 17 games, 16 out of the bullpen, and is 0-1 with one save and a 1.29 ERA. Michael Gunn has pitched in 13 games and is 1-0 with one save and a 0.37 ERA.
Tennessee enters the penultimate weekend of SEC play with a 19-26 overall record and a 6-16 mark in league competition. The Volunteers are currently sixth in the SEC Eastern Division. Tennessee is coming off a 12-3 midweek victory over Arkansas State on Wednesday night. Last weekend, the Vols dropped the only game it played against Georgia in a series that was plagued by rain.
The Volunteers are hitting .276 as a team and are led at the plate by Scott Price, who is batting .353 with two homers and 23 RBI. Will Maddox is batting .348 with 20 RBI and 18 stolen bases, while Vincent Jackson has a .294 batting average with a homer and 22 RBI. Christin Stewart has hit a team-best three homers and driven in 24 runs, while batting .293.
On the mound, Tennessee has a 5.26 team ERA. Senior right-handed pitcher Zack Godley will start the series opener on Friday night. Godley, who has thrown four complete games this season, has a 4-6 record with a 3.49 ERA. On Saturday, the Volunteers will turn to junior righty Nick Williams, who is 2-3 with a 4.94 ERA in 16 appearances, including six starts. Freshman right hander Aaron Quillen will start Sunday's series finale. Quillen has compiled a 2-3 record with a 6.04 ERA in 13 appearances, including 11 starts.
Out of the bullpen, Eric Martin and Andy Cox are tied for the team high with 19 appearances. Martin has made all 19 of his outings in relief and has no record with a 4.02 ERA. Cox has pitched in 19 games, 13 as a reliever, and is 2-2 with one save and a 4.78 ERA. Trevor Bettencourt and Trevor Charpie have each pitched in 18 games. Bettencourt leads the Volunteers with three saves and has a 2-3 record with a 6.27 ERA, while Charpie is 2-4 with one save and a 7.47 ERA.
Arkansas holds a slim 28-24 edge in the all-time series against Tennessee. The Razorbacks lead 13-8 when the two teams meet in Fayetteville. Arkansas has won 11 of the last 13 games against the Volunteers, including a three-game series sweep last season in Knoxville.
This weekend also marks the final regular season home series for six Arkansas seniors. The senior class of Trent Daniel, Randall Fant, Cade Lynch, Jacob Mahan, Matt Vinson and Tyler Wright will be honored before Sunday's series finale. The Razorback senior class has totaled 161 wins over the last four seasons, one appearance in the College World Series, three NCAA Tournament appearances, two Super Regional appearances and an SEC Western Division title.
A shuttle service is also available for each game of this weekend's series. The shuttle runs from Lot 56 on the corner of Razorback Road and Martin Luther King Blvd. (MLK) and drops off at Gate B of Baum Stadium beginning two hours before game time. Return service to Lot 56 is provided after the game, with pick up at Gate B. A wheelchair accessible van is also part of the shuttle service and will drop off fans curbside at Gate B.
Friday's game will be available through RazorVision, while the final two games of the series will be televised on Cox Sports Television. Sunday's game can also be seen on ESPN3. The games will also be available on the Razorback Baseball Radio Network from IMG. Three-time Arkansas Sportscaster of the Year Chuck Barrett and former Arkansas Sports Information Director Rick Schaeffer will have the call. A live blog and live stats for each game of the series will be available.
Only general admission tickets remain for Friday and Saturday's games, while reserved tickets are still available for Sunday's contest. General admission tickets are $8 and reserved tickets are $10. Tickets can be purchased by logging on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com, by calling 1-800-982-HOGS (4647) or on gameday at Baum Stadium, while supplies last.
Several promotions are planned for the final home series of regular season play. On Friday night, the first 1,000 kids ages 14 and under will receive a Pepsi batting helmet. After the game on Friday, fans can take in the annual fireworks show. On Saturday, the first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a water bottle, sponsored by Beaver Water District. To close out the series on Sunday, the first 1,000 mothers at the game will receive a Romance Diamond Company key ring purse.
Series Schedule (Times Central and Subject to Change)
Friday, May 10 - 6:35 p.m.
Saturday, May 11 - 6:05 p.m.
Sunday, May 12 - 1:05 p.m.
Probable Pitching Matchups (Arkansas listed first)
Friday (6:35 p.m.)
RHP Barrett Astin (Jr., 4-2, 1.98) vs. RHP Zack Godley (Sr., 4-6, 3.49)
Saturday (6:05 p.m.)
RHP Ryne Stanek (Jr., 6-2, 1.87) vs. RHP Nick Williams (Jr., 2-3, 4.94)
Sunday (1:05 p.m.)
LHP Randall Fant (Sr., 4-1 ,2.27) vs. RHP Aaron Quillen (Fr., 2-3, 6.04)
- No. 11 (Baseball America/Perfect Game), No. 12 (Collegiate Baseball), No. 14 (USA Today/NCBWA)
- Not Ranked