FAYETTEVILLE – After playing nine of its last 10 games away from home, the Arkansas baseball team returns to the friendly confines of Baum Stadium this weekend, hosting No. 2 Vanderbilt in a three-game series. Game times are scheduled for 6:35 p.m. on Friday, 2:05 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.The Friday and Saturday games will be available on the RazorVision portal on ArkansasRazorbacks.com, while Sunday’s contest will be televised by CST and also available online on ESPN3. All three games of the series will be available 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 game. Live stats and a live blog of all three games will also 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. Single-game tickets 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 No. 12 nationally, carries a 17-4 overall record and a 1-2 SEC record into this weekend’s series. The Razorbacks are coming off a two-game sweep of a midweek series against Memphis. The Razorbacks claimed a 7-2 win on Tuesday night in North Little Rock and a 7-3 win on Wednesday evening in Memphis.Freshman Dominic Ficociello leads Arkansas at the plate so far in 2011, hitting a team-best .403 with a team-high tying 25 RBI. Senior Kyle Robinson has also driven in 25 runs with a team-high four homers and a .378 batting average. Sophomore Matt Reynolds is batting .365 with two homers and 14 RBI, while junior James McCann is hitting .314 with two home runs and 13 RBI.Sophomore southpaw Cade Lynch will start Friday’s series opener vs. the Commodores. Lynch is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in six appearances. On Saturday, the Razorbacks will give the ball to freshman righty Barrett Astin, who is 2-0 with a 2.95 ERA in nine outings. Arkansas has not announced a starter for Sunday’s game.Out of the bullpen, DJ Baxendale and Nolan Sanburn have each recorded two saves. Baxendale, who has also seen time as a starter, is 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA, while Sanburn is 1-1 with a 2.53 ERA. Randall Fant has pitched in nine games in relief and is 1-1 with a 2.30 ERA.
Vanderbilt brings a 20-2 overall record and a 2-1 mark in SEC play into this weekend’s series. The Commodores have won 13 of their last 14 games, with their only loss in that stretch coming against Mississippi State last Sunday. As a team, Vanderbilt is hitting .317, while the Commodore pitching staff has posted a 2.42 team ERA.
Aaron Westlake leads the Vanderbilt offense, hitting .420 with a team-leading three home runs. Westlake has also driven in 17 runs on the season. Anthony Gomez is batting .363 with a team-high 19 RBI, while Mike Yastrzemski is hitting .329 with seven RBI and a team-leading 11 stolen bases.
Preseason All-America right-handed pitcher Sonny Gray will start Friday’s series opener. Gray is 5-0 on the year with a 1.34 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 33.2 innings. On Saturday, the Commodores will turn to lefty Grayson Garvin. Garvin is 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA in five starts. Right hander Taylor Hill is projected to start Sunday’s series finale. Hill has posted a 1-0 record with a 3.25 ERA in five starts.
In relief, Mark Lamm and Navery Moore have each made a team-leading 11 appearances. Lamm is 4-0 with a 0.71 ERA, while Moore has a team-leading four saves with a 3-1 record and a 0.71 ERA. Will Clinard has recorded two saves and has a 4.05 ERA in 10 outings out of the bullpen.
Arkansas and Vanderbilt have met 45 times previously with the Razorbacks holding a 26-19 edge. Arkansas leads 13-7 when playing the Commodores in Fayetteville. Arkansas has won three of the last five regular season series with Vandy.