FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The 20th-ranked University of Arkansas baseball is set for its 28th NCAA Tournament appearance in program history this weekend, traveling to the Stillwater Regional to take on Oral Roberts in the opening game.
Matchup: No. 2 Arkansas vs. No. 3 Oral Roberts
TV: SEC Network >> ESPN3 >> WatchESPNApp
Talent: Mark Neely (PXP), Jay Powell (Analyst)
Radio: Razorback Sports Network from IMG
Probable Starters: (ARK) RHP Trey Killian (2-4) vs. (ORU) RHP Guillermo Trujillo (10-3)
• The Razorbacks are one of just five teams nationally to advance to the NCAA Tournament each of the last 14 years. Arkansas is joined by Cal State Fullerton, Florida State, Miami (Fla.) and Rice as the only programs to accomplish the feat.
• Arkansas is 66-58 (.532) all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including a 48-39 (.551) record in NCAA Regionals. The Razorbacks are 9-5 in NCAA Regional openers over the last 14 years.
• The Razorbacks have advanced to five straight NCAA Regional finals, including last season against national runner-up Virginia.
• Arkansas has won three of its last six NCAA Regionals and advanced to the College World Series twice in the last six years. The Razorbacks posted a 15-7 record in NCAA Regionals over the last six years, including a pair of perfect 3-0 marks, which came on the road.
• Head coach Dave Van Horn has advanced to 17 consecutive NCAA Tournaments at Nebraska and Arkansas and has the most College World Series appearances among SEC head coaches with five.
• Arkansas enters the NCAA Tournament with the No. 35 RPI in the country. The Razorbacks have 11 wins against top 50 RPI clubs, six victories against top 25 RPI teams and enter the NCAA Regional having played the 20th toughest schedule in the country according to D1Baseball.com.
History in the Making
Andrew Benintendi is on the brink of becoming the third player in SEC history to lead the league in home runs and batting average, currently holding a two-homer lead and 16-point edge in batting average. He would join Rafael Palmeiro (Miss State in ‘84) and Jeff Abbott (UK in ‘94) as the only players in conference history to accomplish the feat.
Super Regional Matchup
The Winner of the Stillwater Regional will advance to the Super Regional against the winner of the Springfield Regional that features No. 1 Missouri State, No. 2 Iowa, No. 3 Oregon and No. 4 Canisius.
Friday’s Probable Starter – RHP Trey Killian
Trey Killian is coming off a dominant performance in the SEC Tournament, lasting a season-long 7.2 innings and giving up just four hits and one run, while striking out five. He is tied with Dominic Taccolini for the team lead with six quality starts on the year, including three in his last four starts. Killian has worked at least 6.0 innings in seven of his 12 starts and allowed one earned run or less six times this season. Last season in the NCAA Charlottesville Regional, he worked an injury shortened 3.1 innings and gave up seven hits and two earned runs against No. 3 National Seed Virginia.
• Is the first SEC Player of the Year in program history.
• Is the first Razorback to win a major SEC award since Nick Schmidt won Pitcher of the Year in 2006.
• Is the first player in school history with at least 15 home runs and 20 stolen bases in a season.
• Only player in the SEC to rank in the top 25 nationally in batting average, home runs, slugging percentage and on base percentage.
• On pace to become first player in SEC history to win the batting title, home run title and Player of the Year.
• On pace to become the third player in SEC history to finish the year as the league leader in home runs and batting average.
• Is one of only two players in the country with 15-plus home runs and 20-plus stolen bases.
• Currently leads the SEC in batting average, home runs, slugging percentage, on base percentage and walks.
• Is eight RBI’s shy of becoming the second Triple Crown winner in SEC history.
• Leads all sophomores in the country in batting average, home runs and slugging percentage.
Andrew Benintendi and Bobby Portis are one of only two baseball and men’s basketball SEC Player
of the Year combos in the same calendar year in league history. They join Florida’s Mike Zunino and
Chandler Persons in 2011 as the only other tandem to accomplish the feat.
Four Arkansas players picked up All-SEC honors when the league office released its annual conference awards, as Andrew Benintendi earned SEC Player of the Year, Zach Jackson was tabbed All-SEC first team, Keaton McKinney was named to the Freshman All-SEC team and Bobby Wernes scooped up All-SEC Defensive Team honors.
Leading the Pack
Arkansas is the only team in the SEC to advance to each of the last 14 NCAA Regionals, and head coach Dave Van Horn is the only current head coach in the league to make five appearances in the College World Series.
The Arkansas pitching staff has held its opponents to two runs or less in 10 of the last 17 games, posting an ERA of 2.97 with 111 strikeouts and a 12-5 record.
Arkansas has gone to work on the road since April 18, winning 10 of its last 13 games away from Baum Stadium. The Razorbacks have been on the road for each of their last four NCAA Regionals, posting a record of 9-6, including a perfect 3-0 record during the 2012 Houston Regional.
Double-Digit Hitting Streak
Michael Bernal is riding a career-long 10-game hitting streak since May 8, recording 13 hits and scoring seven runs along the way. He has raised his average 36 points during the stretch and has a walk-off hit against Tennessee in the opening round of the SEC Tournament.
Flyin’ Hawaiian is Soaring
Rick Nomura has five multi-hit games over the last nine contests, including a three-hit performance against No. 7 Florida with three runs scored in the SEC Tournament. The junior has 14 multi-hit games this season to rank sixth on the team.
Cruising as of Late
After posting a 13-4 record in the month of April, Arkansas has backed that up with an 8-4 mark to start the month of May to reach 30 or more wins in a season for the 38th time in the last 40 years.
2015 NCAA Stillwater Regional Schedule
Friday, May 29
Game 1 – No. 2 Arkansas vs. No. 3 Oral Roberts, Noon CT (SEC Network)
Game 2 – No. 1 Oklahoma State vs. No. 4 St. John’s, 6 p.m. CT (ESPN3)
Saturday, May 30
Game 3 – Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, Noon
Game 4 – Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 6 p.m.
Sunday, May 31
Game 5 – Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, Noon
Game 6 – Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 4, 6 p.m.
Monday, June 1
Game 7 – Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6 (if necessary), TBA