FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The No. 2 seed University of Arkansas baseball team is set for its sixth Super Regional appearance in program history this weekend, welcoming No. 1 seed Missouri State to town with a College World Series appearance on the line at Baum Stadium.
Matchup: No. 1 Missouri State vs. No. 2 Arkansas
TV: Friday at 3:35 p.m. >> ESPN2 | Saturday at 1:05 p.m. >> ESPN2 | Sunday at 2:05 p.m. >> ESPN2/ESPNU
Talent: Kevin Dunn (PXP), Keith Moreland (Analyst)
Radio: Razorback Sports Network from IMG
Friday Probables: (ARK) RHP Trey Killian (2-4) vs. (MSU) RHP Jon Harris (8-1)
Saturday Probables: (ARK) RHP Keaton McKinney (6-1) vs. (MSU) LHP Matt Hall (11-2)
Series Note: Arkansas leads the all-time series with Missouri State 49-21. The Bears picked up a 2-0 victory earlier this season, but the Razorbacks had won the previous 10.
• 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 on the brink of advancing to its eighth College World Series in program history, making appearances in 1979, 1895, 1987, 1989, 2004, 2009 and 2012.
• The Razorbacks have posted an all-time record of 7-5 in Super Regionals, including a 2-0 mark at Baum Stadium, sweeping Florida State in 2004.
• Arkansas is making its fourth Super Regional appearance in the last seven years, including the sixth all-time since the format started in 1999.
• After a 3-0 record in the Stillwater Regional last weekend, the Razorbacks have swept an NCAA Regional for the third time in seven years.
• Arkansas is 69-58 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including 15 tournament wins in the last four years.
• The Razorbacks are 3-2 all-time in first game of a Super Regionals. Arkansas dropped the opener to Baylor in 2012, before posting consecutive wins to advance to Omaha.
• The Razorbacks are in the midst of their 28th NCAA Tournament appearance in program history.
DVH by the Numbers
• Has advanced to five College World Series has a head coach and two as a graduate assistant in 1985 and 1987.
• Has appeared in eight NCAA Super Regionals and advanced to Omaha five times.
• Has appeared in 17 consecutive NCAA Tournaments as a head coach, including 13 straight at Arkansas and four at Nebraska.
• Has posted a 53-36 all-time record in the NCAA’s including an 11-6 record in the Super Regionals.
• A College World Series appearance would clinch another 40-win season for head coach Dave Van Horn and give him 40-plus wins for the sixth time in the last seven years.
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 13-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.
• Is the first SEC Player of the Year in program history.
• Is the first National 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.
• 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 12 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.
Fielding the Record Books
If defense wins championships, the Arkansas baseball is well on its way, currently holding the highest fielding percentage in school history at .976. The previous record of .974 in 1989 is in question, while the Razorbacks’ 56 errors is the fewest errors since making 55 in 1974.
Coming Full Circle
Michael Bernal saw his collegiate career come full circle in the Stillwater Regional after starting his career at Oklahoma State and redshirting his first year before transferring to New Mexico Junior College for one season. Bernal hit .400 last week in Stillwater and was named to the All-Tournament team with a 4-for-10 performance, including two runs scored and two RBI’s.
Friday Probable Starter – RHP Trey Killian
Trey Killian is coming off a no-decision in the NCAA Stillwater Regional, tossing 5.0 innings and giving up three runs on eight hits, 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 five starts. Killian has worked at least 6.0 innings in seven of his 13 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.
Saturday Probable Starter – RHP Keaton McKinney
Keaton McKinney, named to the SEC All-Freshman team and Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team, will make a start for Arkansas Saturday looking to clinch a spot in Omaha or keep the season alive for another day. He is 5-0 over his last eight starts and has not lost a game since March 8. He has allowed three earned runs or less in 15 of his 16 starts this season and has two complete games on the year.
The winner of the Fayetteville Super Regional will begin play at the 69th College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday, June 13.
Counterfeit Tickets and Parking Passes
The University of Arkansas is reminding fans about the risks of purchasing and using either counterfeit tickets or parking passes. Both game tickets and parking passes are distributed by the UA Athletic Department and the Razorback Foundation. If fans have any doubt about the validity of their game ticket or parking pass, they can visit the UA Athletic Ticket Office to verify them. Further, those suspecting they have a counterfeit ticket or parking pass in their possession should contact UAPD to report this as soon as possible. The UA Athletic Ticket Office would also like to remind fans that any persons attempting to enter the stadium with a counterfeit ticket could be denied admission and subject to an investigation. Also, any person discovered inside the stadium with a stolen or counterfeit ticket will be escorted out. Any persons attempting to enter a lot with a counterfeit parking pass could be denied admission and subject to an investigation. Also, any vehicle discovered inside a lot with a counterfeit parking pass will be removed from the lot.