FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - The 13th-ranked Arkansas baseball team continues Southeastern Conference play this weekend as it welcomes No. 16 Mississippi State to Baum Stadium for a three-game series. Game times for the weekend series are scheduled for 6:35 p.m. on Friday, 2:05 p.m. on Saturday and 1:05 p.m. on Sunday.
Friday and Sunday's games will be televised by Cox Sports TV with Mike Morgan and former Razorback Troy Eklund on the call. Saturday's game will be available through Razorvision. All three games of the series will 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 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 all three games of this weekend's series. Reserved tickets are $10 and may be purchased by calling 1-800-982-HOGS (4647), by visiting the online ticket center at ArkansasRazorbacks.com or on gameday at Baum Stadium, while supplies last.
Promotional giveaways are planned for the first two games of the series. On Friday, Razorback Klipnotes will be given away to fans in attendance, while on Saturday, an AT&T cell lounger will be the promotional giveaway item.
The Razorbacks enter the weekend series on a five-game winning streak and with an overall record of 19-7, including a 4-2 mark in Southeastern Conference play. Arkansas is coming off a two-game midweek series sweep of Mississippi Valley State. Jacob Mahan went 3-for-5 with a RBI in the two games, while Jean Ramirez hit .750 with two runs scored. Brett McAfee went 2-for-3 at the plate with a run scored and Dominic Ficociello hit his first home run of the season in the series.
Arkansas is batting .284 as a team entering the weekend. Brian Anderson leads the Razorbacks at the plate with a .348 batting average with a homer and 18 RBI. Mahan, who enters the weekend on a 13-game hitting streak, is batting .338 with a home run and 12 RBI, while Matt Vinson is batting .330 with a homer and nine RBI. Tyler Spoon leads the team in homers (3) and RBI (33) and is batting .314 on the year.
On the mound, the Razorbacks enter the weekend with the nation's lowest team ERA at 1.64. Junior right hander Barrett Astin will start on the mound on Friday night. Astin has a 2-1 record with a 2.48 ERA in eight appearances, including four starts. Junior right hander and reigning SEC Pitcher of the Week Ryne Stanek will start Saturday's contest. Stanek has a 2-1 record with a 2.35 ERA in six starts. Last weekend, Stanek allowed two unearned runs and struck out seven in a complete game performance vs. South Carolina. Senior left hander Randall Fant will start the series finale on Sunday. Fant has started four games this season and has a 1-0 record with a 1.19 ERA.
In relief, Jalen Beeks has pitched in a team-high 12 games and has a 2-0 record with two saves and a 0.90 ERA. Brandon Moore has appeared in nine games and is 1-2 with a 1.09 ERA. Colby Suggs has compiled a 0-0 record with one save and a 3.68 ERA in eight appearances, while Trent Daniel (0-1, 1 save, 2.70 ERA) and Trey Killian (3-2, 3.08 ERA) have each pitched in seven games.
Mississippi State, ranked 16th in the USA Today Coaches Poll, enters the weekend with a 22-6 overall record and a 2-4 mark in league play. The Bulldogs opened the season with 17 consecutive victories. Mississippi State defeated Austin Peay, 13-5, in the team's only midweek games earlier this week. Last weekend, the Bulldogs dropped two of three games at No. 8 Kentucky.
Offensively, Mississippi State ranks second in the SEC with a .310 team batting average. Hunter Renfroe leads the team at the plate with a .427 batting average, which ranks third in the SEC, to go along with nine homers, 36 RBI and eight stolen bases. Adam Frazier is hitting .396 with 13 RBI, while Alex Detz has a .364 batting average with 20 RBI. C.T. Bradford is hitting .314 and has a homer and 14 RBI.
The Bulldogs have a team ERA of 2.53, which ranks fourth in the conference. Senior left hander Luis Pollorena will make his third start of the season in Friday's series opener. Pollorena has a 4-0 record with a 2.77 ERA in nine appearances. On Saturday, senior righty Kendall Graveman will get the ball. Graveman has a 2-2 record with a 2.84 ERA in six starts. Mississippi State has not announced their starter for Sunday's series finale.
Out of the bullpen, Myles Gentry and Chad Girodo are tied for the team lead with 15 appearances each. Gentry is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA, while Girodo has a 2-1 record with a 1.20 ERA. MSU closer Jonathan Holder and Ross Mitchell have each pitched in 11 games. Holder is 1-0 with a team-leading seven saves and a 3.55 ERA, while Mitchell is 5-0 with one save and a 1.16 ERA.
Arkansas and Mississippi State have met 82 times since 1960 with the Bulldogs leading the series 45-37. The Bulldogs hold a slight 16-15 edge when the two teams meet in Fayetteville. The two teams split four meetings during the 2012 season. Arkansas won two of three games in the regular season series in Starkville, while Mississippi State won the only meeting between the two schools in the 2012 SEC Tournament.
Series Schedule (Times Central and Subject to Change)
Friday, March 29 - 6:35 p.m.
Saturday, March 30 - 2:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 31 - 1:05 p.m.
Probable Pitching Matchups (Arkansas listed first)
Friday (6:35 p.m.)
RHP Barrett Astin (Jr., 2-1, 2.48) vs. LHP Luis Pollorena (Sr., 4-0, 2.77)
Saturday (2:05 p.m.)
RHP Ryne Stanek (Jr., 2-1, 2.35) vs. RHP Kendall Graveman (Sr., 2-2, 2.84)
Sunday (1:05 p.m.)
LHP Randall Fant (Sr., 1-0, 1.19) vs. TBA
Arkansas - No. 11 (NCBWA), No. 12 (Collegiate Baseball), No. 13 (USA Today/Perfect Game), No. 15 (Baseball America)
Mississippi State - No. 16 (USA Today), No. 17 (NCBWA), No. 19 (Collegiate Baseball), No. 20 (Perfect Game), No. 25 (Baseball America)