Razorback Baseball Back In Top 10

Chris Murray Bio
SEC Success Lands Razorback Baseball Back In Top Ten

The Arkansas Razorbacks jumped back into the top 10 of the major polls, following a series victory over Alabama at Tuscaloosa over the weekend. Arkansas clinched the series on Friday behind another dominant start from Ryne Stanek, but the Crimson Tide avoided the sweep on Saturday with a 5-0 win.

After starting the season at no. 1, the Hogs tumbled out of the top 20. But since dropping two of three to Ole Miss in the Southeastern Conference opener, Arkansas has won seven of nine SEC games. As a result, the Hogs are now ranked no. 8 by both the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Perfect Game. They are no. 10 in the other major polls – USA Today Coaches, Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball.

The significance? Well, it may be nothing just yet, but it shows that the conference season matters most, and despite their struggles early, the Hogs have time to work their way into position for hosting a regional, and possibly a super-regional. There’s still two months of baseball before that happens.

On Friday, Stanek pitched eight innings of four-hit baseball. The Hogs pounded out 13 hits, including three from Dominic Ficociello, who may be finding his stroke. In Saturday’s finale, the Hogs’ bats went cold. Meanwhile, their defensive troubles re-emerged, to the tune of five errors. Spencer Turnbull limited Arkansas to five hits over seven innings, and Alabama won 5-0.

The Hogs send Tyler Wright and Colin Poche to the mound for a doubleheader with New Mexico at 3 p.m. today at Baum Stadium. That will serve as a tune-up before this weekend’s huge series with LSU at Baum. The Tigers are red-hot, 11-1 in the league and 30-2 overall.

The Arkansas Travelers split the first four games of their season-opening homestand. The Travs and the Frisco Roughriders split a doubleheader on Friday. The Travs took the opener, 7-0, behind 6.1 innings of one-hit pitching from Jarrett Grube, and a three-run homer from Randall Grichuk. Frisco bounced back with a four-run sixth inning to take the nightcap, 6-3.

Arkansas won the series with a 4-3 win in 10 innings on Saturday. Matt Long’s walkoff single brought home Jimmy Swift with the game-winner. Three Midland pitchers limited the Travs to six hits on Sunday in the Rockhouds’ 4-1 win. The two teams were scheduled for games Monday and Tuesday, before the Travs hit the road for a week. They return to Dickey-Stephens Park for a four-game set with Springfield starting April 18.

The Northwest Arkansas Naturals dropped the first four games of the season at home. The Naturals were swept by Midland before dropping a 3-2 decision on Sunday to Frisco. Through three games, third baseman Rey Navarro led the team, hitting 4-for-10, but NWA had scored just four runs in three games. After two more games with Frisco, the Naturals leave for a week-long road trip. They return home April 18, when they square off with Tulsa.

Arkansas State and Central Arkansas proved the Razorbacks are not the only team in the state with strong starting pitching, as each claimed its respective conference pitcher of the week award.

Daniel Wright was named Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week for his heroics. Wright notched a save in the Red Wolves’ 9-8 win over Southeast Missouri on Tuesday, and then went out on Friday and shut out Western Kentucky 6-0 on Friday. Wright allowed just five hits while striking out 11. The Red Wolves won the series, two games to one.

UCA took two of three from Northwestern State, as it continues to climb out of the hole created from the three-game sweep it was dealt by Oral Roberts. After dropping the series opener 1-0, the Bears leaned on Jeffery Enloe. The left-hander tossed an 11-inning complete game, striking out eight and allowing just one unearned run. For that, he was named Southland Conference Pitcher of the Week.

Coaches, SIDs, baseball fans from around the state: got a tip or interesting note? Pass it on to ctmurray@gmail.com

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