FAYETTEVILLE (ArkansasRazorbacks.com) – Arkansas junior pitcher Ryne Stanek has been tabbed as the preseason Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year by Baseball America, as announced on Thursday.
In addition to being selected as the preseason SEC Pitcher of the Year, Stanek was also named the conference's No. 1 draft prospect in the 2013 MLB Draft. Colby Suggs (6th), Barrett Astin (14th) and Randall Fant (20th) were also included among the top 20 SEC prospects for the 2013 MLB Draft.
A native of Overland Park, Kan., Stanek has developed into one of the top pitchers in college baseball. The right hander started 17 games as a sophomore and finished the season with an 8-4 record and a 2.82 ERA. He ranked tied for 10th in the SEC in ERA, 10th in opposing batting average (.229), tied for 10th in innings pitched (92.2), 12th in strikeouts (83) and tied for seventh in wins. Stanek, who has been named a preseason All-American by Baseball America, Perfect Game and Collegiate Baseball, saved some of his best performances for the postseason. In three postseason starts last season, Stanek compiled a 2-0 record with a 1.59 ERA. He threw eight scoreless innings in Arkansas' victory over Rice in the Houston Regional and was named Most Outstanding Player of the regional. In the College World Series, Stanek allowed just one run on three hits over six innings in the Razorbacks' victory over South Carolina.
Through his first two seasons as a Razorback, Stanek has a 12-6 record with a 3.27 ERA. In 156.2 innings of work, Stanek has struck out 124 batters and has held the opposition to a .222 batting average.
Suggs was one of the best relievers out of the Arkansas bullpen in 2012. The Sulphur Springs, Texas, native appeared in 30 games, all in relief, last season and finished the year with a 7-1 record with a 1.38 ERA. Suggs, who has been named a preseason All-American by Baseball America, the NCBWA, Perfect Game and Collegiate Baseball, set a new Arkansas single-season record for fewest runs allowed (minimum 30 innings pitched) by giving up just six runs during the season. Suggs held opposing hitters to a .203 batting average, while striking out 36 batters in 39 innings of work. Suggs ranked tied for 10th in the SEC in wins and was tied for 10th in appearances. Suggs did not allow a run in 24 of his 30 outings last season and had streaks of eight and 11 consecutive appearances without allowing a run.
Suggs has pitched in 42 games in his Razorback career and has a 9-2 record with a 1.22 ERA. He has struck out 58 batters in 59 innings of work and opposing batters are hitting just .171 against him.
Astin, who was also picked to have the best changeup in the SEC in the Baseball America preview, pitched in a team-high 32 games, 29 out of the bullpen, as a sophomore. A native of Forrest City, Ark., Astin finished the 2012 season with a 3-5 record, a team-high 11 saves and a 1.99 ERA. His 11 saves were the third-highest single-season total in school history, while his 32 appearances were the seventh-highest single-season total in school annals. Astin, who was named to the watch list for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award, ranked tied for third in the SEC in saves and was tied for seventh in the conference in appearances. Astin opened the 2012 season by throwing 22.2 consecutive scoreless innings and tossed eight shutout innings in four appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
Astin has pitched in 59 games in his first two seasons at Arkansas and has an 8-7 record with 14 saves and a 2.36 ERA. Astin's 14 saves rank tied for third in school history, while his career ERA of 2.36 is the fifth-best in school history.
Fant appeared in 15 games, including 14 as a starter, during the 2012 season. A native of Texarkana, Texas, Fant finished the season with a 2-3 record and a 3.27 ERA. In 52.1 innings pitched, Fant struck out 39 and gave up 59 hits. Fant had a pair of strong outings in the NCAA Tournament, throwing 4.1 scoreless innings in the NCAA Regional final against Sam Houston State and four shutout frames in the decisive third game of the Waco Super Regional against No. 4 Baylor.
In his first three seasons at Arkansas, Fant has pitched in 45 games, including 35 starts, and has an 8-10 record with a 3.79 ERA.
The Razorbacks open the 2013 season on Friday, Feb. 15, when they host Western Illinois. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. Season tickets for Arkansas' 34-game home schedule are now on sale. Season tickets are $190 for adults and $140 for University of Arkansas staff, youth and senior citizens. Tickets may be purchased by calling 1-800-982-HOGS (4647) or by visiting the online ticket center at ArkansasRazorbacks.com.