HOUSTON – The Arkansas baseball team continues play in the Houston Regional, hosted by Rice University, on Saturday as it faces top seed and eighth-ranked Rice in a winner’s bracket game. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.
All games from the Houston Regional are being streamed online for free at RiceOwls.com. Saturday’s game is also 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.
The Razorbacks, 40-19 on the season, opened play in the Houston Regional on Friday with a come-from-behind 5-4 win over Sam Houston State. Arkansas trailed by two entering the bottom of the seventh inning, but scored three runs in the seventh to take a 5-4 lead. Brandon Moore
pitched three shutout innings, including a scoreless eighth and ninth innings to pick up the win. Matt Reynolds
went 3-for-4 at the plate with a RBI and a run scored, while Tim Carver
had a pair of RBI and went 1-for-4.
Reynolds leads Arkansas at the plate with a team-high .348 batting average, seven homers and 42 RBI. Carver is hitting .312 with two homers and 29 RBI, while Dominic Ficociello
has a .305 batting average with six homers and 37 RBI.
Sophomore right hander Ryne Stanek
will start Saturday’s game against the Owls. Stanek has started 14 games on the season and has a 6-4 record with a 3.09 ERA. He last pitched in the SEC Tournament opener against Mississippi State and allowed three runs on four hits with seven strikeouts in 5.2 innings.
Out of the bullpen, sophomore right hander Barrett Astin
has pitched in a team-high 28 games, 25 in relief, and has a team-leading nine saves with a 3-5 record and a 2.31 ERA. Sophomore right hander Colby Suggs
has made 27 appearances and is 6-0 with a 1.32 ERA. Moore has seen time in 24 games, 21 in relief, and has a 5-2 record with two saves and a 2.54 RERA. Junior southpaw Cade Lynch
is 3-1 with two saves and a 2.11 ERA in 21 appearances.
Rice enters Saturday’s game with a 41-17 overall record. The Owls reached the NCAA Tournament as an at-large selection out of Conference USA. Rice won the league’s regular season title after going 17-7 in league play. The Owls opened regional play on Friday night with a 3-2 win over Prairie View A&M.
The Owls are led offensively by Christian Stringer, who is hitting .342 with three homers and 36 RBI. Jeremy Rathjen is batting .330 with a team-leading nine homers and 41 RBI. J.T. Chargois has a .326 batting average with 31 RBI, while Michael Fuda is hitting .301 with eight round trippers and a team-best 45 RBI.
Rice will start sophomore right hander Austin Kubitza on Saturday. Kubitza has pitched in 15 games, 14 as a starter, and has a 6-4 record with a 2.96 ERA. He’s struck out 65 batters in 73 innings of work and held the opposition to a .221 batting average.
In relief, Tyler Duffey has appeared in a team-high 35 games and has a 1-1 record with seven saves and a 1.64 ERA. Chargois has saved a team-best eight games and is 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 24 relief outings. Taylor Wall has compiled a 6-4 record with one save and a 3.19 ERA in 28 appearances.
Arkansas and Rice have met 59 times previously with the Razorbacks holding a 40-18-1 edge in the series. The Razorbacks and Owls have not met since the 1991 season. The two teams have met 26 times in Houston with Arkansas winning 15 of the 26 games. Saturday’s game will mark the first-ever meeting between the two teams in the NCAA Tournament.