|Updated: 6/08/2012 9:48 pm
||Published: 6/08/2012 8:42 pm
WACO, Texas – After going a perfect 3-0 to win the Houston Regional, the Arkansas baseball team travels to Waco, Texas, to face the No. 4 Baylor Bears in the Waco Super Regional at Baylor Ballpark. Game times for the best two out of three weekend series are set for 4 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday and Monday.
“We’re excited to be here,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “We played pretty well down the stretch. We played well in Houston. We had a chance to rest some guys and get some guys healthy. Hopefully we’ll continue to play solid baseball. We know how talented Baylor is. They have an experienced team. They’re going to run some really good pitching out against us. Offensively, it doesn’t look like there’s a weak spot in their order. We know we’re going to have to play some perfect games if we’re to win this weekend.”
All games from the Waco Super Regional will be televised on the ESPN family of networks with Dave Neal and Jay Walker on the call. Saturday and Sunday’s games will be shown live on ESPNU, while the “if necessary” game on Monday will be televised by ESPN2. All three games of the series will also be streamed online on ESPN3.com. The games will also be available on the Razorback Baseball Radio Network from IMG. Three-time Arkansas Sportscaster of the Year Chuck Barrett (play-by-play) and former Arkansas Sports Information Director Rick Schaeffer (analyst) will call the action. A live blog and live stats will also be available on ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Arkansas is in the Super Regional round for the fifth time in program history and for the third time in the last four seasons. The Razorbacks are 5-4 all-time in Super Regional games. Arkansas is one of eight teams nationally to advance to the Super Regionals in three of the last four years.
The Razorbacks advanced to the Waco Super Regional after going 3-0 in the Houston Regional. Arkansas defeated Sam Houston State, 5-4, in the opener, then downed host school and eighth-ranked Rice, 1-0, to advance to the regional final. Arkansas defeated SHSU, 5-1, to win the regional.
The Arkansas pitching staff was dominant throughout the Houston Regional, only allowing one earned run in 27 innings for a 0.33 ERA. Ryne Stanek was named the regional’s Most Outstanding Player after tossing seven shutout innings in the win vs. Rice. On the offensive side, Tim Carver, Matt Reynolds and Joe Serrano were also named to the All-Houston Regional team.
The Razorbacks are hitting .277 as a team and are led at the plate by Reynolds, who was named an All-American by Collegiate Baseball. Reynolds leads Arkansas with a .343 batting average, seven homers, 42 RBI and 15 stolen bases. Carver is batting .307 with a pair of homers, 30 RBI and 14 stolen bases. Dominic Ficociello is hitting .300 with six round trippers and 37 RBI.
On the mound, the Arkansas pitching staff has a team ERA of 2.86. The Razorbacks will start junior right hander DJ Baxendale in the series opener on Saturday, while sophomore righty Ryne Stanek will go in game two of the series. Baxendale has started 17 games on the year and is 7-4 with a 2.83 ERA. Stanek has a 7-4 record with a 2.83 ERA in 15 starts this season. Arkansas has not announced a starter for Monday’s game.
Barrett Astin has appeared in a team-high 29 games, 26 in relief, and has 3-5 record with a team-leading 10 saves and a 2.22 ERA. Astin’s 10 saves are tied for the fourth most in a single season in program history. Colby Suggs has pitched in 28 games and is 6-0 with a 1.29 ERA, while Brandon Moore has seen time in 25 games, 22 out of the bullpen, and has a 5-2 record with two saves and a 2.63 ERA. Cade Lynch has pitched in 21 games and is 3-1 with two saves and a 2.11 ERA.
Baylor, a consensus top-five team, enters the Super Regionals with a 48-15 overall record. The Bears won the Big 12 regular season title after finishing the league schedule with a 20-4 record. Baylor advanced to the Super Regionals after winning the Waco Regional. The Bears battled out of the loser’s bracket, winning four straight elimination games, including a pair of victories over Dallas Baptist in the regional final.
As a team, the Bears are hitting .312. Baylor is led offensively by Big 12 Player of the Year Josh Ludy, who leads the team in all three triple crown categories with a .368 batting average, 15 homers and 69 RBI. Logan Vick is batting .344 with two homers, 39 RBI and a team-high tying 17 stolen bases. Dan Evatt is hitting .340 with eight homers and 30 RBI, while Lawton Langford has a .316 batting average with 20 RBI. Max Muncy is swinging the bat at a .313 clip with seven homers and 54 RBI, while Nathan Orf is batting .308 with two homers, 30 RBI and 16 stolen bases.
Baylor has a team ERA of 3.14. The Bears will start senior right hander Trent Blank in the opener on Saturday. Blank has pitched in 18 games, including 15 starts, and has a 10-1 record with a 2.32 ERA. Junior southpaw Josh Turley will get the start on Sunday. Turley has started 16 games and has a 9-1 record with a 1.83 ERA. The Bears have not announced a starter for Monday’s “if necessary” game.
In relief, Crayton Bare has appeared in a team-high 22 games and has a 2-0 record with a pair of saves and a 1.31 ERA. Max Garner has saved a team-best 10 games and has a 3-2 record with a 4.84 ERA in 21 outings. Dillon Newman has pitched in 20 games, 19 out of the bullpen, and has compiled a 4-3 record with two saves and a 2.25 ERA. Kolt Browder has a 1-1 record with one save and a 2.57 ERA in 18 appearances.
Former Southwest Conference rivals, Arkansas and Baylor have met 63 times previously with the Razorbacks holding a 36-27 edge. The two teams have played 30 games in Waco with the Bears winning 18 of the 30 matchups. The Razorbacks and Bears have never met in the NCAA Tournament. This weekend’s games will mark the first between the two schools on the baseball diamond since 1998, when Arkansas defeated Baylor 9-1 in Fayetteville.