FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas reaches the midway point of the Southeastern Conference schedule this weekend as it hosts Mississippi State in a three-game series at Baum Stadium. Game times are set for 7 p.m. on Friday, 6:35 p.m. on Saturday and 1:05 p.m. on Sunday.
All three games of the series will be televised. Friday night's game will be on FSN and SportSouth, while the final two games of the series will be televised by CST. Also, all three games will be broadcast on the Razorback Baseball Radio Network from IMG College. 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.
Single-game tickets for all three games of this weekend's series are still available. Tickets are $10 for reserved seats and can be purchased by calling 1-800-982-HOGS (4647), by visiting the online ticket center at ArkansasRazorbacks.com and on game day at Baum Stadium, while supplies last.
The Razorbacks, ranked as high as 13th in the country, are currently 24-8 on the season and 6-6 in league competition. Arkansas enters the weekend second place in the SEC's Western Division, just a game behind Alabama. The Razorbacks extended their winning streak to six games with a 2-1 midweek win at Missouri State on Tuesday. Ryne Stanek threw seven strong innings, allowing just one run and Arkansas rallied again late, scoring twice in the eighth inning. In its most recent SEC series, Arkansas posted a three-game sweep of LSU.
Reigning SEC Co-Freshman of the Week Dominic Ficociello leads the Razorbacks on the season with a .336 batting average with a home run and a team-high 28 RBI. Junior Bo Bigham, currently on a career-long, 12-game hitting streak is batting .311 with a homer, nine RBI and a team-leading 13 stolen bases. Senior Kyle Robinson is tied for the team lead with five home runs to go along with 27 RBI and a .304 batting average. Junior James McCann has also hit five homers with a .305 average and 20 RBI.
Freshman right handed pitcher Brandon Moore will start Friday's opener. Moore is 2-1 with a 3.40 ERA in nine appearances, including six starts. Sophomore southpaw Randall Fant will start Saturday's game. Fant is 1-2 with a 3.26 ERA in 12 previous appearances. The Razorbacks have not announced a starter for Sunday's finale.
In relief, freshmen Barrett Astin and Nolan Sanburn are tied for the team high with 14 appearances. Astin is 3-1 with a 2.67 ERA, while Sanburn leads the team with six saves and a 2-1 record with a 1.83 ERA. Trent Daniel has pitched in 12 games on the year and is 1-0 with a 1.89 ERA.
Mississippi State enters the weekend series with a 21-12 overall record and a 5-7 mark in conference play. The Bulldogs are tied for third in the Western Division with Ole Miss, two games behind Alabama. Mississippi State is coming off a 6-4 loss against UAB on Wednesday night in the completion of a suspended game. Last weekend, the Bulldogs dropped two of three games at home to Florida. As a team, MSU is hitting .287, while the pitching staff has posted a 3.86 ERA.
Jarrod Parks leads the Bulldogs at the plate this season, hitting .389 with two homers and 27 RBI. Cody Freeman is batting .336 with a homer and 20 runs driven in, while Jonathan Ogden leads the team with six homers and 27 RBI, while batting .292 on the season. Nick Vickerson has swiped a team-leading 19 stolen bases.
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Chris Stratton will start the series opener for Mississippi State. Stratton is 4-3 with a 4.22 ERA in eight starts on the year. On Saturday, junior lefty Nick Routt will get the start. Routt has a 0-1 record with a 2.35 ERA in four starts. The Bulldogs have not announced a starter for Sunday's series wrap-up.
Caleb Reed has been the most effective reliever out of the Mississippi State bullpen, appearing in 15 games and recording five saves with a 0-0 record and a 1.07 ERA. Reed has struck out 34 batters in 25.1 innings of work. Luis Pollorena has made 12 appearances out of the bullpen and is 3-2 with a 1.52 ERA. Chad Girodo has pitched 10 times, nine in relief, and has a 6.91 ERA with a 2-0 record.
Mississippi State enters this weekend's series with a 42-32 lead in the all-time series, including a 15-13 edge when the two teams meet in Fayetteville. The Razorbacks have won the last two series from the Bulldogs.