FAYETTEVILLE — The 21st-ranked Arkansas baseball team plays its second straight conference road series this weekend as it travels to Gainesville, Fla., to face No. 5 Florida. First pitch for Friday and Saturday’s games is set for 6 p.m., while the series finale will begin at 2:30 p.m. A live video stream of Friday and Saturday’s games will be available on ArkansasRazorbacks.com. The final game of the series will be nationally televised on ESPN. All three games of the series will also be available on the Razorback Baseball Radio Network from IMG. Three-time Arkansas Sportscaster of the Year Chuck Barrett (play-by-play) will call the action. The Razorbacks are 29-12 on the season and 9-9 in SEC play. Arkansas enters the weekend tied for second in the SEC West, three games behind division leader LSU. The Razorbacks are coming off a 6-1 midweek win against Oral Roberts on Tuesday. Arkansas narrowly missed recording its first no hitter since the 2006 season. The Razorbacks carried a no hitter into the top of the ninth before a double broke up the no-hit bid. Seven Arkansas pitchers combined to allow just one run on one hit in the win. At the plate, Tim Carver launched his first two home runs of the season and recorded his second career multi-homer game. Jacob Mahan added two hits and two RBI, while Derrick Bleeker went 2-for-4 with a RBI. Dominic Ficociello is hitting a team-best .347 with four homers and a team-leading 29 RBI. Carver is batting .338 with two homers, 22 RBI and a team-high 12 stolen bases. Matt Reynolds, who has reached base in 24 straight games, is hitting .312 with four round trippers and 26 RBI. Mahan is hitting at a .300 clip with 14 RBI. Arkansas will start sophomore right hander Ryne Stanek in the series opener on Friday. Stanek has a 6-2 record with a 2.30 ERA. The Razorbacks have not announced a starter for Saturday’s contest. On Sunday, Arkansas will turn to junior righty DJ Baxendale, who is 6-2 with a 3.78 ERA on the season. Out of the bullpen, Barrett Astin has pitched in 17 games, 14 in relief, and has a team-leading six saves with a 2-3 record and a 1.40 ERA. Colby Suggs has made a team-high 19 appearances and is 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA, while Brandon Moore has pitched in 15 games, 12 as a reliever, and is 3-1 with two saves and a 2.18 ERA. Cade Lynch has compiled a 2-1 record with two saves and a 2.13 ERA in 17 appearances this season. Florida enters the weekend series with a 32-10 overall record and an 11-7 mark in league play. The Gators are second in the Eastern Division, two games behind Kentucky. Florida split a pair of midweek games, falling to South Florida on Tuesday and defeating Bethune-Cookman on Wednesday. Last weekend, the Gators won two of three games at home against Georgia. The Gators are hitting .290 as a team and are led at the plate by Daniel Pigott, who is hitting. 346 with five homers and 28 RBI. Brian Johnson is batting .333 with five homers and 29 RBI. Mike Zunino has a .329 batting average with a team-high 12 home runs and 43 RBI. Preston Tucker is hitting .319 with 11 homers and 33 RBI, while Nolan Fontana is batting .312 with eight homers and 26 RBI. On the mound, Florida has a team ERA of 2.98. The Gators will start junior right hander Hudson Randall in the series opener. Randall has a 3-1 record with a 3.52 ERA. On Saturday, Florida will start junior lefty Brian Johnson, who is 5-2 with a 4.04 ERA. Sophomore right hander Jonathon Crawford is the projected starter for Sunday’s series finale. Crawford has a 4-1 record with a 3.86 ERA. Austin Maddox has been the top reliever out of the Florida bullpen, pitching in a team-high 23 games, all in relief, and posting a 2-2 record with 11 saves and a 1.69 ERA. Greg Larson has appeared in 21 games, 19 as a reliever, and is 5-0 with a 1.69 ERA. Steven Rodriguez is 3-1 with a 2.33 ERA in 21 appearances. Daniel Gibson has seen time in 18 games and is 1-1 with one save and a 2.57 ERA. Arkansas holds a narrow 24-23 lead in the series against Florida. The Gators have a 13-8 advantage in games played in Gainesville. The Razorbacks won two of three games against Florida in last season’s three-game series played at Baum Stadium.
Series Schedule (Times Central and Subject to Change) — Gainesville, Fla. Friday, April 27 — 6 p.m. Saturday, April 28 — 6 p.m. Sunday, April 29 — 2:30 p.m.
Live Game Coverage Television/Webcast: Friday & Saturday — Razorvision; Sunday — ESPN/ESPN3 Radio: Razorback Baseball Radio Network from IMG Live Stats & Live Blog: ArkansasRazorbacks.com Twitter: www.twitter.com/ArkRazorbacks
Probable Pitching Matchups
Friday (6 p.m.) at No. 5 Florida RHP Ryne Stanek (So., 6-2, 2.30) vs. RHP Hudson Randall (Jr., 3-1, 3.52)
Saturday (6 p.m.) at No. 5 Florida TBA vs. LHP Brian Johnson (Jr., 5-2, 4.04)
Sunday (2:30 p.m.) at No. 5 Florida RHP DJ Baxendale (Jr., 6-2, 3.78) vs. RHP Jonathon Crawford (So., 4-1, 3.86)
Rankings Arkansas — No. 17 (USA Today/ESPN, NCBWA), No. 20 (Collegiate Baseball), No. 21 (Baseball America) Florida — No. 2 (USA Today/ESPN, NCBWA), No. 4 (Collegiate Baseball), No. 5 (Baseball America)