FAYETTEVILLE — The 20th-ranked Arkansas baseball team wraps up its 2012 regular season home schedule this weekend as it hosts SEC Western Division opponent Auburn in a three-game series. The series opens on Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. Game two of the series is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. on Friday, while the series closes on Saturday at 2:05 p.m. The series opener will be nationally televised on ESPNU as part of the ESPN/SEC Thursday Night Baseball Game of the Week. Friday and Saturday’s games will be available on RazorVision through ArkansasRazorbacks.com. 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 (play-by-play) and former Arkansas Sports Information Director Rick Schaeffer (analyst) will call the action. Reserved tickets are available for all three games of the weekend 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. Several promotions are planned for this weekend’s series. Thursday is Masons Team Photo Card Night, Friday is AT&T Lanyard/Patch Night and Saturday is Pink Wristband Day, sponsored by Romance Diamond Company. Also, there will be a fireworks show following Friday night’s game. Arkansas seniors Sam Bates, Bo Bigham and Tim Carver will be honored before Saturday’s series finale. Arkansas enters the next to last weekend of SEC play with a 34-15 overall record and a 12-12 mark in league play. The Razorbacks are currently tied for second in the Western Division with Mississippi State, four games behind division leader, LSU. The Razorbacks dropped two of three games to then-No. 5 South Carolina last weekend at Baum Stadium. The Arkansas offense hit .379 in the series against the Gamecocks, pounding out 39 hits over the three games. Matt Reynolds hit .538 in the series with three RBI, while Bigham went 5-for-12 with three runs scored. Derrick Bleeker hit .400 with two runs scored. The Razorbacks are hitting .282 as a team, which ranks sixth in the SEC. Dominic Ficociello leads Arkansas at the plate with a team-best .330 batting average with four homers and a team-high tying 32 RBI. Reynolds is hitting .329 with four home runs, 32 RBI and 11 stolen bases. Tim Carver is batting .321 with two homers, 24 RBI and 12 stolen bases. The Arkansas pitching staff has put together a team ERA of 2.93, which places them third in the SEC. Junior right hander DJ Baxendale will start the series opener against the Tigers. Baxendale is 6-3 with a 3.65 ERA. On Friday, junior southpaw Randall Fant will get the start. Fant has a 2-2 record with a 4.04 ERA. Arkansas has not announced its starter for Saturday’s series finale. Colby Suggs has pitched in a team-high 24 games out of the Razorback bullpen and has a 4-0 record with a 0.99 ERA. Barrett Astin has appeared in 23 games, 20 in relief, and has a team-high nine saves with a 2-4 record and a 2.18 ERA. Brandon Moore has seen time in 18 games and is 4-1 with two saves and a 2.47 ERA, which ranks fourth in the conference. Cade Lynch is 2-1 with two saves and a 2.25 ERA in 19 appearances. Auburn is 26-22 on the season and 10-14 in conference play. The Tigers are currently fifth in the SEC Western Division, six games behind LSU. In its most recent SEC series, Auburn was swept in a three-game series at Georgia. The Tigers are coming off an 18-2 win against Presbyterian on Tuesday. Auburn is the SEC’s top hitting team, sporting a team batting average of .317. The Tigers are led offensively by Ryan Tella, who is hitting .368 with four homers and 27 RBI. Cullen Wacker has a .355 batting average with a home run and 27 RBI, while Dan Glevenyak is hitting .340 with a homer and 26 RBI. Along with their exploits at the plate, the Tigers lead the conference in stolen bases with 92 steals in 123 attempts. Auburn has five players with at least 10 stolen bases, led by Jay Gonzalez, who has swiped 24 bases. On the mound, Auburn has a 3.79 team ERA, which is ninth in the league. The Tigers will start right hander Jon Luke Jacobs (5-2, 3.23) on Thursday. Jacobs is 5-2 with a 3.23 ERA in 10 appearances, including nine starts. Lefty Daniel Koger is the projected starter for Friday’s game. Koger has posted a 3-4 record with a 2.74 ERA in 12 starts. Auburn has not announced a starter for Sunday’s series finale. Slade Smith has pitched in a team-high 22 games, 20 in relief, and has a 3-4 record with four saves and a 4.86 ERA. Dillon Ortman has made 16 appearances out of the bullpen and is 1-1 with one save and a 1.25 ERA, while Cory Luckie has made 15 appearances, 14 out of the bullpen, and has a 2-0 record with a save and a 2.61 ERA. Justin Bryant has four saves with a 1-1 record and a 4.50 ERA in 14 appearances. Arkansas trails the all-time series against Auburn 37-31 entering this weekend’s series. The Razorbacks are 16-14 against the Tigers in Fayetteville.
Series Schedule (Times Central and Subject to Change) — Fayetteville, Ark. Thursday, May 10 — 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 11 — 6:35 p.m. Saturday, May 12 — 2:05 p.m.
Live Game Coverage Television/Webcast: Thursday — ESPNU; Friday & Saturday — ArkansasRazorbacks.com Radio: Razorback Baseball Radio Network from IMG Live Stats & Live Blog: ArkansasRazorbacks.com Twitter: www.twitter.com/ArkRazorbacks Ticket Information Reserved tickets are available for all three games of the weekend 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.
Promotional Giveaways Thursday — Masons Team Photo Card Night Friday — AT&T Lanyard and Patch Night Fireworks show after the game Saturday — Romance Diamond Company Pink Wristband Day Senior Day Ceremony before the game
Probable Pitching Matchups
Thursday (6:30 p.m.) vs. Auburn RHP DJ Baxendale (Jr., 6-3, 3.65) vs. RHP Jon Luke Jacobs (Sr., 5-2, 3.23)
Friday (6:35 p.m.) vs. Auburn LHP Randall Fant (Jr., 2-2, 4.04) vs. LHP Daniel Koger (Fr., 3-4, 2.74)
Saturday (2:05 p.m.) vs. Auburn TBA vs. TBA
Rankings Arkansas — No. 13 (USA Today/ESPN, Collegiate Baseball), No. 16 (NCBWA), No. 20 (Baseball America) Auburn — Not Ranked