FAYETTEVILLE — After going 8-7 in the first half of Southeastern Conference play, the No. 17 Arkansas baseball team opens the second half of its grueling conference slate this weekend with a three-game series at No. 22 Ole Miss. The series begins at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, continues on Saturday at 4 p.m. and closes on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. The series finale on Sunday will be televised by CST with Mike Morgan and Troy Eklund on the call. All three games of the series will be available on the Razorback Baseball Radio Network from IMG. Three-time Arkansas Sportscaster of the Year Chuck Barrett will call the action on Friday and Sunday. Morgan and Eklund will have the radio call for Saturday’s game. Arkansas enters this weekend’s series with a 27-10 overall record and an 8-7 mark in conference play. The Razorbacks are second in the Western Division, three games behind LSU. Arkansas is coming off a doubleheader sweep of Stephen F. Austin on Tuesday. The Razorbacks hit .370 as a team against SFA, pounding out 27 hits over the two games. Sam Bates and Dominic Ficociello each had four hits in the twinbill with Bates driving in five runs. Brian Anderson, Tim Carver, Michael Gunn, Jacob Morris and John Clay Reeves each contributed three hits. The Razorbacks are hitting .280 as a team, which ranks sixth in the SEC. Ficociello is hitting a team-best .343 on the season with four homers and 25 RBI, while Carver is batting .336 with 19 RBI and 12 stolen bases. Matt Reynolds is hitting .323 with four round trippers and a team-leading 26 RBI. Arkansas, which leads the SEC with a 2.71 team ERA, will switch up its pitching rotation for this weekend’s series. Sophomore right hander Brandon Moore will start the opener on Friday. Moore is 3-0 on the season with a SEC leading 0.95 ERA. Sophomore righty Ryne Stanek will get the start on Saturday. Stanek has a 6-1 record with a 2.41 ERA. In the series finale on Sunday, right hander DJ Baxendale will get the ball. Baxendale, who has thrown eight strong innings each of his last two starts, is 6-2 on the year with a 3.88 ERA. Out of the bullpen, Colby Suggs has pitched in a team-high 17 games and has a 3-0 record with a 1.47 ERA. Barrett Astin has seen time in 15 games, 12 in relief, and has posted a 2-3 record with a team-high six saves and a 1.25 ERA. Cade Lynch has also appeared in 15 games and is 1-1 with two saves and a 2.06 ERA. Nolan Sanburn has a 2-1 record with a 2.38 ERA in 12 appearances. Ole Miss, ranked 22nd in the country by Baseball America, is 25-12 on the season and 7-8 in league play. The Rebels are currently tied for third in the Western Division, just a game behind the Razorbacks. Ole Miss is coming off a 6-3 win against SEC foe Mississippi State in a non-conference game on Tuesday night. In their most recent SEC series, the Rebels dropped two of three games at Georgia last weekend. Ole Miss is hitting .315 as a team, which ranks second in the SEC. Alex Yarbrough leads the Rebels at the plate with a .417 batting average, which is second best in the conference. Yarbrough has also hit three homers and driven in 34 runs. Matt Snyder is hitting .374 with seven homers and a SEC-leading 41 RBI. Tanner Mathis is batting .355 with 11 RBI, while Blake Newalu is hitting .340 with a homer and 10 RBI. Zach Kirksey is tied for the conference lead with 10 homers and is hitting .292 with 38 RBI. On the mound, the Rebels have a staff ERA of 3.35, which is sixth in the league. The Rebels will start sophomore righty Bobby Wahl (5-0, 2.13) on Friday and sophomore righty Mike Mayers (3-2, 4.15) on Saturday. Ole Miss has not announced a starter for Sunday’s game. Wahl ranks fifth in the SEC in ERA and sixth in strikeouts with 56. Dylan Chavez has appeared in a team-high 17 games out of the Rebel bullpen and has a 3-2 record with a save and a 3.42 ERA. Ole Miss closer Brett Huber has pitched in 13 games and has seven saves on the year with a 1-2 record and a 4.85 ERA. Chris Ellis has appeared in 12 games and is 3-0 with a 2.33 ERA, while Aaron Greenwood has made 10 relief outings and has no record with a 3.50 ERA. Arkansas and Ole Miss have met 66 times with the Razorbacks holding a 37-29 lead. Arkansas leads 18-12 in games played in Oxford. The Razorbacks have won seven of the 10 series played at Ole Miss, including taking two of three in the 2010 series. Overall, the two teams have split the last 10 games in the series.
Series Schedule (Times Central and Subject to Change) — Oxford, Miss. Friday, April 20 — 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 21 — 4 p.m. Sunday, April 22 — 1:30 p.m.
Live Game Coverage Television/Webcast: Sunday — CST Radio: Razorback Baseball Radio Network from IMG Live Stats & Live Blog: ArkansasRazorbacks.com Twitter: www.twitter.com/ArkRazorbacks
Probable Pitching Matchups
Friday (6:30 p.m.) at No. 22 Ole Miss RHP Brandon Moore (So., 3-0, 0.95) vs. RHP Bobby Wahl (So., 5-0, 2.13)
Saturday (4 p.m.) at No. 22 Ole Miss RHP Ryne Stanek (So., 6-1, 2.41) vs. RHP Mike Mayers (So., 3-2, 4.15)
Sunday (1:30 p.m.) at No. 22 Ole Miss RHP DJ Baxendale (Jr., 6-2, 3.88) vs. TBA
Rankings Arkansas — No. 15 (USA Today/ESPN, NCBWA), No. 16 (Collegiate Baseball), No. 17 (Baseball America) Ole Miss — No. 22 (Baseball America, USA Today/ESPN), No. 23 (NCBWA), No. 24 (Collegiate Baseball)