FAYETTEVILLE (ArkansasRazorbacks.com) – The No. 12 Arkansas baseball team continues its grueling Southeastern Conference schedule this weekend as it travels to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to face the Alabama Crimson Tide. Game times for the weekend series are scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, 6:35 p.m. on Friday and 1:05 p.m. on Saturday.
The series opener on Thursday night will be nationally televised on ESPNU. A video stream of Friday and Saturday's games will be available for a fee through the video subscription service on Alabama's web site. 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 have the call. A live blog and live stats for each game will be available on ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Fans can also follow updates of each game on @RazorbackBSB, the official Twitter account of the Razorback baseball team.
The Razorbacks begin the fourth weekend of SEC play with a 21-8 overall record and a 6-3 mark in league play. Arkansas, which has won eight of its last 10 games, is currently third in the SEC West, two games behind division leader LSU and one game behind this weekend's opponent, Alabama. Arkansas is coming off a series victory over then-No. 15 Mississippi State, winning two of the three games over the Bulldogs.
Arkansas is batting .276 as a team entering this weekend's series. Brian Anderson leads the Razorbacks at the plate with a .337 batting average, a homer and 19 RBI. Reigning SEC Freshman of the Week Tyler Spoon is batting .325 with three round-trippers and 34 RBI, which ranks tied for fourth in the SEC. Matt Vinson is hitting .320 with a home run and 14 RBI, while Jacob Mahan is batting .319 with a homer and 12 RBI.
On the mound, the Razorbacks enter the weekend leading the country in ERA (1.68), hits allowed per nine innings (6.1) and WHIP (1.01). Junior right hander Barrett Astin will start the series opener on Thursday night. Astin has a 2-1 record with a 2.60 ERA in nine appearances, including five starts. Junior righty Ryne Stanek will start Friday's contest. Stanek has a 2-2 record with a 2.34 ERA in seven starts. Senior southpaw Randall Fant will start the series finale on Saturday. Fant, who has turned in four consecutive quality starts, has a 2-0 record with a 1.26 ERA in five starts this season.
The Razorback bullpen has compiled a 7-2 record with eight saves and a 1.09 ERA this season. Jalen Beeks has pitched in a team-leading 14 games and has a 3-0 record with two saves and a 0.78 ERA. Beeks has not allowed a run in his last 14 innings of work. Brandon Moore has appeared in 11 games and is 1-2 with a 1.73 ERA. Colby Suggs has a team-high three saves and a 3.00 ERA in 10 relief outings. Trent Daniel (0-1, 1 save, 2.61 ERA) and Trey Killian (3-2, 3.00 ERA) have each pitched in eight games.
Alabama enters the weekend series with a 19-1 overall record and a 7-2 mark in conference games. The Crimson Tide is currently second in the SEC West, a game behind LSU. Alabama has won all three of its conference series so far, including a pair of road series victories. In their most recent game, the Crimson Tide downed Southeastern Louisiana 9-1 on Tuesday night.
As a team, Alabama is hitting .256 for the season, but the Crimson Tide lead the SEC with a .305 batting average in conference games only. Ben Moore leads Alabama at the plate with a .297 batting average, two home runs, 20 RBI and 10 stolen bases. Austin Smith is hitting .294 with three homers and 20 RBI, while Brett Booth is also batting .249 with two homers and a team-leading 21 RBI. Georgie Salem is hitting .290 with 16 RBI and Kenny Roberts has a .287 batting average with a homer and 12 RBI.
On the mound, the Crimson Tide has a team ERA of 3.09. Alabama will start senior right hander Charley Sullivan in the series opener on Thursday. Sullivan has a 3-1 record with a 2.60 ERA in seven starts this season. Sophomore southpaw Jon Keller will start Friday's contest. Keller is 3-3 with a 3.86 ERA in seven starts. In the finale on Saturday, senior righty Spencer Turnbull will get the ball. Turnbull has a 3-1 record with a 2.59 ERA in seven starts.
In relief, Ray Castillo has saved a team-high five games and has a 2-0 record with a 1.66 ERA in 12 appearances. Justin Kamplain has also pitched in 12 games and has a pair of saves with a 4.58 ERA. Keaton Haack has seen time in 11 games and is 0-1 with one save and a 2.55 ERA. Tucker Hawley has pitched in eight games, four out of the bullpen, and has a 4-2 record with a 2.19 ERA.
Arkansas and Alabama have played 70 times with the Crimson Tide holding a 41-29 edge. Alabama has won 22 of the 29 meetings in Tuscaloosa. The Razorbacks won all three meetings vs. Alabama in 2012, sweeping the regular season series in Tuscaloosa.
Series Schedule (Times Central and Subject to Change) – Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Thursday, April 4 – 7 p.m.
Friday, April 5 – 6:35 p.m.
Saturday, April 6 – 1:05 p.m.
Live Game Coverage
Television/Webcast: Thursday – ESPNU; Friday & Saturday – Rolltide.com
Radio: Razorback Baseball Radio Network from IMG
Live Stats & Live Blog: ArkansasRazorbacks.com
Probable Pitching Matchups (Arkansas listed first)
Thursday (7 p.m.)
RHP Barrett Astin (Jr., 2-1, 2.60) vs. RHP Charley Sullivan (Sr., 3-1, 2.60)
Friday (6:35 p.m.)
RHP Ryne Stanek (Jr., 2-2, 2.34) vs. LHP Jon Keller (So., 3-3, 3.86)
Saturday (1:05 p.m.)
LHP Randall Fant (Sr., 2-0, 1.26) vs. RHP Spencer Turnbull (So., 3-1, 2.59)
Arkansas – No. 9 (NCBWA), No. 11 (Collegiate Baseball), No. 12 (USA Today Coaches/Perfect Game), No. 14 (Baseball America)
Alabama – No. 22 (Collegiate Baseball), Receiving Votes (USA Today Coaches/NCBWA)