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Arkansas No. 2 seed in Tempe regional

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Arkansas No. 2 seed in Tempe regional

FAYETTEVILLE – The Arkansas baseball team has been selected as the No. 2 seed in the Tempe regional and will face No. 3 seed Charlotte on Friday. The Razorbacks and 49ers will meet at 4 p.m. (CT) on Friday afternoon. Television/webcast information will be announced later.Host school and top seed Arizona State will face No. 4 seed New Mexico in the other opening-round matchup of the Tempe regional on Friday night at 9 p.m. (CT).

All session tickets will be available for purchase beginning Tuesday in person at the Sun Devil Ticket Office or over the phone at 480-727-0000. Single-game tickets will go on sale Wednesday morning and can be purchase in person, over the phone or online at TheSunDevils.com.

Arkansas (38-20) is in the NCAA Tournament for the 10th straight year and the 24th time in program history. The Razorbacks have a 53-49 all-time record in the postseason, including a 39-33 mark in the Regional round. Arkansas has advanced to six College World Series and four Super Regionals, including each of the last two seasons.

Tempe is a familiar postseason spot for the Razorbacks as Arkansas and Arizona State met in a Super Regional in Tempe last season. The Sun Devils won a pair of 12-inning games to advance to the College World Series.

Arkansas, which won the SEC Western Division championship, is led offensively by freshman Dominic Ficociello. Ficociello is hitting a team-best .351 with four homers and a team-leading 49 RBI. Junior James McCann is batting .309 and has hit six homers and 33 RBI. Senior Kyle Robinson has belted a team-leading nine homers, ranks second on the team with 45 RBI and is batting .293.

The Razorbacks have boasted one of the top pitching staffs in the Southeastern Conference all season, entering the NCAA Tournament with a team ERA of 3.18. Headlining that pitching staff is sophomore right hander DJ Baxendale. In 18 appearances this season, including 11 starts, the second team All-SEC selection has posted a 9-2 record with three saves and a 1.75 ERA. Sophomore southpaw Randall Fant has also been a regular weekend starter, throwing in 19 games, with 10 starts, and compiling a 3-4 record with a 3.74 ERA.

The Arkansas bullpen has been solid all season as the Razorback relievers have posted a 20-8 record with 19 saves and a 2.40 ERA. Freshman Barrett Astin has pitched in a team-leading 25 games, 23 in relief, and has a 5-1 record with three saves and a 2.45 ERA. Redshirt sophomore Trent Daniel has appeared in 24 games and is 2-0 with three saves and a 1.80 ERA. Freshman Nolan Sanburn has saved a team-leading eight games and is 2-4 with a 3.73 ERA. Fellow freshman Colby Suggs has thrown in 11 games and has a 2-1 record with a miniscule 0.48 ERA.

The winners of the 2011 Atlantic 10 Conference championship, Charlotte enters the postseason with a 42-14 overall record. The 49ers won the A-10 tournament after defeating Richmond 9-4. Charlotte is hitting .302 as a team, and the 49er pitching staff has compiled a 2.43 ERA. Ross Steedley is hitting a team-leading .349 with two homers and 31 RBI. Justin Wilson is swinging the bat at a .338 clip with two homers, 37 RBI and 24 stolen bases. Cory Tilton has swiped a team-leading 31 bases and is hitting .299 with two homers and 45 RBI.

Host school Arizona State earned an at-large berth into the field of 64 after finishing the regular season with a 39-16 overall record and a 17-10 mark in Pac-10 play. The Sun Devils hit .304 as a team and the pitching staff has a 3.27 team ERA. Joey DeMichele leads the Sun Devil attack, currently hitting .371 with seven homers and 39 RBI. Austin Barnes is batting .338 with a homer and 15 RBI, while Johnny Ruettiger is hitting .329 with 35 RBI and a team-high 21 stolen bases.

New Mexico earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after capturing the Mountain West Conference Tournament championship with a 4-2 victory over No. 11 TCU last Friday. The Lobos bring a 20-39 record into the postseason. As a team, New Mexico is hitting .274 while the pitching staff has a 5.88 team ERA. DJ Peterson is hitting .324 on the season with six homers and 48 RBI, while Quay Grant is batting .316 with 26 RBI. Luke Campbell is also hitting over .300 on the season, batting .301 with five homers and 22 RBI.

Friday’s game will be the first-ever meeting between Arkansas and Charlotte. The Razorbacks have played Arizona State eight times previously with the Sun Devils holding a 5-3 edge. Arkansas leads the all-time series against New Mexico 5-1.

2011 Tempe Regional Game Schedule

Friday, June 3Game 1 – Charlotte vs. Arkansas, 4 p.m.Game 2 – New Mexico vs. Arizona State, 9 p.m.

Saturday, June 4Game 3 – Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 – 4 p.m.Game 4 – Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 – 9 p.m.

Sunday, June 5Game 5 – Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4 – 3 p.m.Game 6 – Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5 – 8 p.m.

Monday, June 6Game 7 (if necessary) – Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6 – 8:30 p.m.

Note: All Times are Central Time



Sports Category : Baseball