SAN DIEGO, Calif. – After opening the season with a 10-1 homestand, the Arkansas baseball team faces its first road test of the season this weekend as it faces San Diego State in a four-game series. Game times are scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday.
All four games of the series will be available on the Razorback Baseball Radio Network from IMG College. Phil Elson will have the call for all four games of the weekend series. San Diego State will offer free video streaming for the final three games of the series on its website, GoAztecs.com. Live stats and a live blog from all four games this weekend will be available on ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
The Razorbacks, ranked as high as No. 14 in the country, are 10-1 on the season, the team’s best start since the 2008 campaign. Arkansas has posted series sweeps over Delaware State, Utah, and Wisconsin-Milwaukee, while splitting a two-game series with McNeese State.
Dominic Ficociello had an impressive weekend at the plate against Wisconsin-Milwaukee, hitting .600 (6-for-10) with 10 RBI during the three-game set. Kyle Robinson, who was named SEC Player of the Week on Monday, hit a pair of homers against the Panthers, including the game-winning home run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh in Sunday’s series finale.
Robinson leads Arkansas in the three triple crown categories, hitting .465 with three homers and 21 RBI through the first 11 games of the season. Matt Reynolds is also batting over .400 on the season and has scored a team-high 16 runs with a homer and seven RBI. Ficociello is second on the team with 19 RBI and is hitting .394.
Arkansas freshman Ryne Stanek (0-0, 5.02) will start the series opener on Thursday, while sophomore DJ Baxendale (3-0, 0.00) returns to the starting rotation to start Friday’s contest. Freshman Brandon Moore (2-0, 4.20) will get the call for Saturday’s game and Sunday’s starter is still to be announced.
Barrett Astin has made five appearances out of the Razorback bullpen and is 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA. Nolan Sanburn has not allowed a run in three relief appearances, while Randall Fant has a 1.69 ERA in four outings out of the bullpen. Zack Hall and Colby Suggs have each made one scoreless appearance in relief.
San Diego State enters this weekend’s series with a 2-10 overall record. The Aztecs have lost eight of their last nine games, but did post an impressive 2-1 win over No. 19 Connecticut last weekend. San Diego State has played a very difficult schedule to start the season, facing six ranked teams. SDSU is coming off a 12-9 loss at Cal State Northridge on Tuesday night.
Offensively, the Aztecs are hitting .237 as a team. San Diego State is led by Brad Haynal, who is hitting .345 with a homer and six RBI. Brandon Meredith is batting .333 with a homer and a team-high nine RBI. Meredith also has five doubles and three triples.
On the mound, San Diego State has posted a 6.25 team ERA. Senior right-handed pitcher Steven Moranda (0-1, 4.26) will start the opener for the Aztecs, while sophomore righty Ethan Miller (1-1, 2.84) will start Friday’s contest. San Diego State has not announced a starter for Saturday or Sunday.
Out of the bullpen, Cole Swanson has appeared in four games in relief and has a 0-0 record with a 2.38 ERA. Craig Rasmussen has the only save of the season for the Aztecs and has compiled an 0-1 record with a 2.70 ERA. John Pecoraro (0-0, 9.00) has appeared in a team-high six games, while Matthew McDaniel (0-1, 5.62) and Philip Walby (0-1, 7.36) have each pitched in five games, all in relief.
Arkansas and San Diego State have met just once previously. The Razorbacks claimed a 6-4 win on March 3, 2001, in Minneapolis, Minn.