FAYETTEVILLE – After playing two of its first three conference series on the road, Arkansas opens a stretch of six straight league games at home this weekend as it hosts No. 17 LSU in a critical series for both teams. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. on Friday, 7 p.m. on Saturday and 1:05 p.m. on Sunday.Friday’s game will be available on the RazorVision portal at ArkansasRazorbacks.com, while the final two games of the series will be televised. Saturday’s game will be shown on ESPNU and Sunday’s game will be televised by CST. All three games will be 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. Live stats and a live blog of all three games will be available on ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
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.Arkansas, ranked as high as 18th in the country, has won its last two games and stands at 20-8 overall and 3-6 in Southeastern Conference play. The Razorbacks scored two runs in the eighth inning to rally for a 6-5 win over Texas State on Wednesday night. In SEC play, Arkansas is currently tied for fourth place in the Western Division with LSU, four games behind division leader Alabama.Freshman Dominic Ficociello leads the Razorbacks with a .340 batting average and is tied for the team high with 26 RBI. Senior Kyle Robinson is batting .327 with a team-high five homers and has also driven in 26 runs. Junior Bo Bigham is also over .300 on the season, batting .308 with a homer and nine RBI. Collin Kuhn has been on a tear in recent games, raising his season batting average to .304 with three homers, 20 RBI and a team-leading 12 stolen bases. Kuhn is hitting .591 over his last five games.Sophomore right hander DJ Baxendale will start the series opener on Friday night. Baxendale is 5-1 on the year with a 1.85 ERA. In Saturday’s middle game, freshman righty Brandon Moore will take the hill for the Razorbacks. Moore is 2-1 with a 3.89 ERA. Arkansas has not announced a starter for Sunday’s series finale.
The Arkansas bullpen has been excellent all season, posting a 12-2 record with nine saves and a 1.97 ERA. Freshman Nolan Sanburn has appeared in 11 games and has four saves on the season, including saves in each of the last two Razorback games. Sanburn is 1-1 with a 1.62 ERA on the year. Freshman Barrett Astin has pitched in a team-leading 12 games and is 2-1 on the season with a 2.84 ERA. Redshirt sophomore southpaw Trent Daniel is 1-0 with a save and a 1.84 ERA in 10 appearances. Sophomore lefty Randall Fant has seen time in 11 games, nine in relief, and is 1-2 with a 2.88 ERA.LSU enters this weekend’s series with a 21-8 overall record and a 3-6 mark in Southeastern Conference play. Last weekend, LSU picked up a series win at home against Ole Miss, taking two of three games from the Rebels. The Tigers are coming off a 7-5 win at Tulane on Tuesday night. As a team, LSU is hitting .307, while the pitching staff for the Tigers has posted a 4.09 ERA.
Reigning SEC Player of the Week Mikie Mahtook leads LSU at the plate, hitting .392 with 10 home runs and 33 RBI. He also paces the team with 18 stolen bases. Raph Rhymes is batting .357 with a homer and 21 RBI, while JaCoby Jones is swinging the bat at a .350 clip with three round-trippers, 20 RBI and seven stolen bases. Austin Nola is hitting .327 and has a home run and 25 RBI on the year.
LSU will go with its typical weekend rotation. Freshman right-handed pitcher Kurt McCune will start Friday’s opener. McCune is a perfect 5-0 on the season with a 1.90 ERA. On Saturday, freshman righty Kevin Gausman is the projected starter for the Tigers. Gausman has a 2-3 record with a 5.59 ERA. Senior right hander Ben Alsup will get the ball in Sunday’s series finale. Alsup has a 4-3 record with a 2.89 ERA.
In relief, Kevin Berry and Matty Ott are tied for the team high with 14 appearances. Berry has a miniscule 0.59 ERA and a 2-0 record with two saves, while Ott has saved four games and is 0-1 on the season with a 4.26 ERA. Chris Cotton has pitched in nine games, all in relief, and is 0-0 with a 3.12 ERA.
Arkansas and LSU have met 74 times previously with the Tigers holding a 51-23 edge. LSU leads 18-10 when the two teams meet in Fayetteville. The Tigers have won the last six regular season series, including taking two of three last season in Baton Rouge.