FAYETTEVILLE — The 18th-ranked Arkansas baseball team opens the home stretch of its Southeastern Conference schedule this weekend as it hosts No. 5 South Carolina in a three-game series. The series opens on Friday at 7 p.m. Game two of the series is scheduled for 12 p.m. on Saturday, while the series wraps up on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. The first two games of the series will be nationally televised as the series opener will be on ESPNU and the second game of the series will be on ESPN2. Sunday’s game will be available on RazorVision through ArkansasRazorbacks.com. 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 (play-by-play) and former Arkansas Sports Information Director Rick Schaeffer (analyst) will call the action. Only general admission tickets remain for the first two games of the series, while reserved tickets still remain for Sunday’s series finale. Reserved tickets are $10, while general admission tickets are $8. Tickets may be purchased by calling 1-800-982-HOGS (4647), by visiting the online ticket center at ArkansasRazorbacks.com and or on gameday at Baum Stadium. Promotional giveaways are planned for each game of the weekend series. Friday is Beaver Water District Water Bottle Night, Saturday is Coca-Cola Tumbler Day, while Sunday is Razorback Skin It Phone Cover Day. Arkansas, winners of four straight games, enters the weekend series with a 33-13 overall record and an 11-10 record in league play. The Razorbacks swept a two-game midweek series from Missouri on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Arkansas pitching staff posted a 1.00 ERA over the two games, including the team’s seventh shutout of the season in the series finale. At the plate, Derrick Bleeker and Jacob Mahan each went 3-for-6 over the two-game set. Matt Reynolds had two hits, including a pinch-hit two-RBI double, which accounted for the only runs in Wednesday’s game. Arkansas is hitting .275 as a team, which ranks seventh in the SEC. Dominic Ficociello leads the Razorbacks offensively with a team-best .339 batting average to go along with four homers and a team-leading 32 RBI. Tim Carver is hitting .322 with two homers, 22 RBI and a team-high 12 stolen bases, while Reynolds is batting .312 with four home runs, 29 runs driven in and 11 stolen bases. The Arkansas pitching staff has put together a team ERA of 2.61, which leads the SEC and ranks in a tie for third nationally. Arkansas will start sophomore right hander Ryne Stanek in the series opener on Friday. Stanek is 6-3 with a 2.52 ERA in 11 starts. Junior lefty Randall Fant will start Saturday’s game. Fant has a 2-2 record with a 4.05 ERA in nine appearances, including eight starts. Junior righty DJ Baxendale will get the start in the series finale. Baxendale has compiled a 6-2 record with a 3.47 ERA in 12 starts. Out of the bullpen, Brandon Moore has pitched in 17 games, 14 in relief and has a 4-1 record with two saves and a 2.06 ERA, which ranks second in the SEC. Barrett Astin has appeared in 20 games and has a team-high eight saves with a 2-3 record and a 1.30 ERA. Colby Suggs leads all Razorback relievers with 22 appearances and is 4-0 with a 1.12 ERA. Cade Lynch has a 2-1 record with two saves and a 2.04 ERA in 18 games pitched, while Nolan Sanburn is 3-1 with a 2.12 ERA in 15 games. South Carolina, ranked in the top five nationally in all of the major college baseball polls, enters the weekend as one of the hottest teams in the country. The Gamecocks are 34-11 on the season and 14-7 in league play. After opening SEC play with a 1-5 record, South Carolina has won 13 of their last 15 league games, including winning 11 straight league contests. Last weekend, the Gamecocks posted a three-game sweep of Alabama. In its most recent contest, South Carolina defeated Davidson, 2-1, on Wednesday. The Gamecocks are hitting .274 as a team, which places them eighth in the SEC. South Carolina is led at the plate by All-SEC first baseman Christian Walker, who is hitting .342 with a team-high tying eight homers and a team-best 43 RBI. Tanner English is hitting .313 with 13 RBI. LB Dantzler is also tied for the team lead with eight home runs and has 37 RBI with a .249 batting average. On the mound, South Carolina has a 3.07 team ERA, which ranks fourth in the conference. The Gamecocks will start senior lefty Michael Roth in Friday’s series finale. Roth has a 4-0 record with a 2.57 ERA in 11 starts. Freshman southpaw Jordan Montgomery will start Saturday’s contest. Montgomery is 4-0 with a 3.47 ERA in 10 appearances, including eight starts. South Carolina has not announced a starter for Sunday’s game. Out of the bullpen, Gamecock closer Matt Price has saved a team-best six games and has a 3-3 record with a 2.82 ERA in 16 appearances. Tyler Webb has pitched in a team-high 25 games and is 4-0 with two saves and a 1.67 ERA. Nolan Belcher has seen time in 15 games, 13 in relief, and is 4-2 with two saves and a 2.59 ERA. Arkansas holds a 30-24 lead in the series against South Carolina. The Razorbacks lead 15-7 in games played in Fayetteville. The Gamecocks have won six of the last 10 meetings between the two teams.
Series Schedule (Times Central and Subject to Change) — Fayetteville, Ark. Friday, May 4 — 7 p.m. Saturday, May 5 — 12 p.m. Sunday, May 6 — 1:05 p.m.
Live Game Coverage Television/Webcast: Friday — ESPNU; Saturday — ESPN2; Sunday — ArkansasRazorbacks.com Radio: Razorback Baseball Radio Network from IMG Live Stats & Live Blog: ArkansasRazorbacks.com Twitter: www.twitter.com/ArkRazorbacks
Ticket Information Only general admission tickets remain for the first two games of the series, while reserved tickets still remain for Sunday’s series finale. Reserved tickets are $10, while general admission tickets are $8. Tickets may be purchased by calling 1-800-982-HOGS (4647), by visiting the online ticket center at ArkansasRazorbacks.com and or on gameday at Baum Stadium.
Promotional Giveaways Friday — Beaver Water District Water Bottle Night Saturday — Coca-Cola Tumbler Day Sunday — Razorback Skin It Phone Cover Day
Probable Pitching Matchups
Friday (7 p.m.) vs. No. 5 South Carolina RHP Ryne Stanek (So., 6-3, 2.52) vs. LHP Michael Roth (Sr., 4-0, 2.57)
Saturday (12 p.m.) vs. No. 5 South Carolina LHP Randall Fant (Jr., 2-2, 4.05) vs. LHP Jordan Montgomery (Fr., 4-0, 3.47)
Sunday (1:05 p.m.) vs. No. 5 South Carolina RHP DJ Baxendale (Jr., 6-2, 3.47) vs. TBA
Rankings Arkansas — No. 13 (USA Today/ESPN, Collegiate Baseball), No. 14 (NCBWA), No. 18 (Baseball America) South Carolina — No. 3 (USA Today/ESPN, NCBWA), No. 4 (Collegiate Baseball), No. 5 (Baseball America)