Courtesy University of Arkansas Athletics Department
FAYETTEVILLE – The second-ranked Arkansas baseball team continues its non-conference schedule this weekend as it travels to Surprise, Ariz., to compete in the Coca-Cola Classic. The Razorbacks will face No. 25 Arizona State on Thursday and Saturday, Gonzaga on Friday and Pacific on Sunday.
All four games of this weekend’s tournament will be available on the Razorback Baseball Radio Network from IMG with live audio also available through Razorvision on ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Kyle Kellams will have the call for all four games of the tournament. 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.
Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn enters the weekend in reach of a major career milestone. Coach Van Horn needs just three more wins to reach 1,000 victories in his coaching career. Entering the weekend, Coach Van Horn’s career record stands at 997-464.
Arkansas enters this weekend’s tournament on a five-game winning streak and with an overall record of 7-1. The Razorbacks swept a three-game series against Evansville last weekend at Baum Stadium.
Arkansas hit .327 as a team against the Purple Aces. Jake Wise led the Razorbacks at the plate in the series, hitting .545 with a homer and six RBI. Tyler Spoon drove in a team-high seven runs and hit a grand slam. Brian Anderson and Eric Fisher each went 5-for-13 with two RBI, while Matt Vinson hit .364 with five runs scored. Brett McAfee went 3-for-10 in the series. On the mound, Arkansas posted a 1.67 team ERA in the series. Nine different pitchers did not allow an earned run in the series vs. Evansville.
For the season, Arkansas is batting .312. Anderson leads the Razorbacks at the plate with a .429 batting average with six RBI and 11 runs scored. Spoon has hit two homers and driven in a team-high 13 runs, while hitting .367. Wise has a .360 batting average with a home run and nine RBI and Joe Serrano is hitting .368 with three RBI and eight runs scored. Vinson (.353, 3 RBI, 10 runs scored) and Jacob Mahan (.350, 1 HR, 6 RBI) are also hitting better than .350 on the season.
In the tournament opener vs. No. 25 Arizona State on Thursday, Arkansas will start junior right hander Ryne Stanek, who has a 1-0 record with a 3.86 ERA. The Sun Devils will counter with freshman lefty Brett Lilek, who is 0-0 with a 2.25 ERA. Junior righty Barrett Astin will get the start Friday vs. Gonzaga. Astin has a 1-0 record with a 0.82 ERA. Gonzaga is scheduled to throw junior southpaw Marco Gonzales, who has a 1-1 record with a 4.15 ERA. Saturday’s game vs. Arizona State will feature a pair of freshmen pitchers. The Razorbacks will throw right hander Trey Killian (1-0, 0.00), while the Sun Devils will throw left hander Ryan Kellogg (2-0, 1.00). In the tournament finale on Sunday, Arkansas will start senior left hander Randall Fant, who will be making his season debut. Pacific will counter with sophomore righty Michael Benson (2-0, 1.32).
Jalen Beeks has pitched in a team-high four games out of the Arkansas bullpen. Beeks has a 1-0 record with a save and a 1.42 ERA. Brandon Moore has thrown 9.1 innings in relief and has a 1-0 record with a 1.93 ERA. Cade Lynch and Tyler Wright have each made two scoreless outings out of the bullpen. Reigning SEC Freshman of the Week Colin Poche has pitched in two games, one out of the bullpen, and hasn’t allowed a run in 7.1 innings.
Arizona State, ranked 25th in the USA Today Coaches Poll, has a 4-2 record on the season. The Sun Devils have won two of three games in their first two series this season against Bethune-Cookman and Tennessee. Arizona State is hitting .276 as a team, while the Sun Devil pitching staff has a team ERA of 3.44.
Arkansas and Arizona State have met nine times previously with the Sun Devils holding a 6-3 edge in the series. The two teams last met in the 2011 NCAA Tournament with ASU claiming a 13-4 win.
Gonzaga enters this weekend’s tournament with a 4-4 record. The Bulldogs split a pair of games last weekend against UNLV and Pacific. As a team, Gonzaga is hitting .279, while the pitching staff has compiled a team ERA of 4.17.
Arkansas and Gonzaga have played just four times previously with the Razorbacks winning three of the four meetings. The two teams played twice last year at Baum Stadium with Arkansas winning both games.
Pacific has a 3-4 record on the season. The Tigers opened the season by dropping two of three games vs. San Jose State. Last weekend, Pacific split a pair of games against UNLV and Gonzaga. Pacific is hitting .249 as a team and has a 3.69 team ERA.
Arkansas and Pacific will be meeting for the first time on Sunday.
Tournament Schedule (Times Central and Subject to Change) – Surprise, Ariz.
Thursday, Feb. 28 vs. No. 25 Arizona State – 5 p.m.
Friday, March 1 vs. Gonzaga – 5 p.m.
Saturday, March 2 vs. No. 25 Arizona State – 5 p.m.
Sunday, March 3 vs. Pacific – 11 a.m.
Live Game Coverage
Radio: Razorback Baseball Radio Network from IMG
Live Stats & Live Blog: ArkansasRazorbacks.com
Probable Pitching Matchups (Arkansas listed first)
Thursday (5 p.m.) vs. No. 25 Arizona State
RHP Ryne Stanek (Jr., 1-0, 3.86) vs. LHP Brett Lilek (Fr., 0-0, 2.25)
Friday (5 p.m.) vs. Gonzaga
RHP Barrett Astin (Jr., 1-0, 0.82) vs. LHP Marco Gonzales (Jr., 1-1, 4.15)
Saturday (5 p.m.) vs. No. 25 Arizona State
RHP Trey Killian (Fr., 1-0, 0.00) vs. LHP Ryan Kellogg (Fr., 2-0, 1.00)
Sunday (11 a.m.) vs. Pacific
LHP Randall Fant (Sr., 0-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Michael Benson (So., 2-0, 1.32)
Arkansas – No. 2 (USA Today Coaches/NCBWA/Collegiate Baseball/Perfect Game), No. 3 (Baseball America)
Arizona State – No. 24 (NCBWA), No. 25 (USA Today Coaches/Perfect Game), No. 26 (Collegiate Baseball)
Gonzaga – Not Ranked
Pacific – Not Ranked