FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas freshmen Barrett Astin, Dominic Ficociello and Nolan Sanburn were named 2011 Louisville Slugger Freshmen All-Americans, as selected by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and announced on Wednesday afternoon.
With the trio of Razorbacks selected, Arkansas has now produced 16 freshman All-Americans in program history. The last Arkansas rookie to receive freshman All-America honors was Zack Cox in 2009.
A right-handed relief pitcher from Forrest City, Ark., Astin pitched in a team-high 27 games, 24 in relief, and had a 5-2 record with three saves and a 2.72 ERA. Astin averaged nearly a strikeout an inning, fanning 57 in 59.2 innings. He allowed just 21 runs, 18 earned, on 57 hits and held the opposition to a .257 batting average. Astin played a key role in helping Arkansas clinch a division title as he earned a save and a win in the season-ending doubleheader against Ole Miss, which clichéd the Southeastern Conference Western Division title for Arkansas. In conference play, Astin appeared in 14 games and had a 3-1 record with two saves and a 2.43 ERA.
Ficociello was one of the top freshman hitters in the SEC in 2011. An All-SEC Freshman and All-SEC Defensive Team selection, Ficociello played in 61 games, including 59 starts, and hit a team-leading .335 with four homers and a team-high 50 RBI. An infielder from Fullerton, Calif., Ficociello also led the Razorbacks in hits (75), doubles (15), multi-hit games (20) and multi-RBI games (14). The 75 hits tied the Arkansas freshman record, which is also held by Jeff King (1984). Ficociello also batted over .300 in conference play, hitting .314 with two homers and 18 RBI. An All-SEC Defensive Team selection at first base, Ficociello finished the season with a .968 fielding percentage, committing 13 errors.
A right-handed reliever from Kokomo, Ind., Sanburn appeared in 24 games, all out of the Razorback bullpen, and had a team-high eight saves with a 2-4 record and a 3.62 ERA. Named to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year midseason watch list, Sanburn struck out 35 in 32.1 innings and allowing 13 runs on 28 hits. Sanburn held opposing hitters to a .239 team batting average. Sanburn opened the year strong as he didn’t allow a run in 11 of his first 12 outings this season.