FAYETTEVILLE – The Arkansas Razorback baseball team returns to the field on Friday as it officially opens fall practice. The first practice of the fall is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. on Friday. All Razorback baseball practices are open to the public.
The fall practice season culminates with the annual Cardinal-White series. The series, which will be seven games, will begin on Saturday, Oct. 15, at Baum Stadium. Dates and game times for the series will be announced at a later date.
Arkansas returns four position players that started at least half of the team’s games in 2011 led by freshman All-American Dominic Ficociello, who hit a team-best .335 with four homers and a team-leading 50 RBI. Other returning starters from last year’s squad include senior Bo Bigham (.291, 2 HR, 20 RBI, 17 SB), redshirt senior Tim Carver (.232, 1 HR, 13 RBI, 24 SB) and junior Matt Reynolds (.243, 3 HR, 22 RBI, 16 SB). The Razorbacks have 12 players returning that started at least one game last season.
On the mound, all of the major contributors from the 2011 pitching staff that posted a 3.20 team ERA return. The pitching staff is led by staff ace and All-SEC selection DJ Baxendale. A junior right-handed pitcher, Baxendale finished the 2011 season with a 10-2 record and a 1.58 ERA, which ranked second in the SEC. Freshman All-Americans Barrett Astin and Nolan Sanburn also return from last year’s team. Astin appeared in a team-high 27 games last season and had a 5-2 record with a 2.72 ERA, while Sanburn led the team with eight saves and had a 2-4 record with a 3.62 ERA.
Arkansas, the 2011 SEC Western Division champions, finished last season with a 40-22 record, marking the third straight 40-win season for the Razorbacks and 17th in program history. Arkansas’ Western Division title was the fourth since joining the SEC in 1992 and the first since 2007. The Razorbacks advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 10th straight year, reaching the finals of the Tempe, Ariz., regional before falling to Arizona State.