FAYETTEVILLE, AR (KAIT)– The University of Arkansas baseball team will play 22 games against teams that advanced to the 2014 NCAA Tournament and 35 games at Baum Stadium as head coach Dave Van Horn released the 2015 schedule Tuesday morning.
The Razorbacks will once again embark on one of the toughest schedules in the country in 2015, playing eight opponents that appeared in NCAA Regional finals in 2014, three that played in NCAA Super Regionals and two that advanced to the College World Series.
“Our schedule sets up once again to be one of the toughest in the country,” said Van Horn who enters his 13th year at the helm of the program. “With a compilation of challenging home and road games early on, we should be able to prepare ourselves for a loaded conference slate.”
Along with the 35 games inside Baum Stadium, Arkansas will also play in Central Arkansas for the sixth consecutive year as the Razorbacks face Memphis on Tuesday, March 24 at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock. The game is part of a two-game mid-week series against the Tigers with Arkansas traveling to Memphis the following evening to wrap up the series.
“Playing in Central Arkansas is a fun way for our players to see the passionate Razorback fans in a different part of the state,” said Van Horn. “The crowd is always great and playing Memphis at Dickey-Stephens Park should provide a fantastic atmosphere.”
The Razorbacks open the 2015 season at home on Feb. 13 against North Dakota in the first of a three-game series, before hitting the road the following weekend and traveling to Mobile, Alabama to take on UCF, South Alabama and NCAA Super Regional participant Maryland (Feb. 20-22).
Arkansas then returns to Baum Stadium for its longest homestand of the year, welcoming California (Feb. 26-March 1), Louisiana Tech (March 4), Loyola Marymount (March 6-8) and Gonzaga (March 10-11) to town.
The Razorbacks open Southeastern Conference action the following weekend, traveling to Vanderbilt (March 13-15) for a matchup with the defending National Champions in Nashville, Tenn. Arkansas then returns home for back-to-back SEC home series, welcoming two-time defending SEC Tournament champion LSU (March 20-22) and 2014 College World Series participant Ole Miss (March 27-29) to Baum Stadium for weekend series.
The remaining SEC Western Division slate has the Razorbacks hosting Mississippi State (April 24-26) and traveling to Auburn (April 3-5), Texas A&M (April 17-19) and Alabama (May 1-3) for a series that will be played in Hoover, Alabama due to stadium construction for the Crimson Tide.
Arkansas will venture into the SEC Eastern Division with weekend series at home against Kentucky (April 10-12) and Tennessee (May 8-10), while traveling to Georgia (May 14-16) to end the regular season.
The Razorbacks will also play nonconference mid-week games at home against Southeast Missouri State (March 17-18), Missouri State (March 31) and Stephen F. Austin (April 14-15), while traveling to Creighton (May 12) to cap the non-league portion of the schedule.
The 2015 SEC Baseball Tournament will be played May 19-24 at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Alabama. NCAA Tournament play begins May 28-31 with the regional round, while Super Regionals will take place June 5-8. The College World Series will be played June 13-24 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
Arkansas returns plenty of talent from the 2014 team, including six position starters and eight pitchers. Redshirt junior Tyler Spoon anchors an outfield that returns all three starters from a year ago, including senior Joe Serrano and sophomore Andrew Benintendi, who earned SEC All-Freshman honors last season.
Coming off the second lowest earned run average in program history in 2014, pitching coach Dave Jorn returns his Friday night starter in Trey Killian, who recorded a 2.30 ERA and added an SEC-leading four complete games before being added to the USA Collegiate National Team and making four appearances for the Red, White and Blue.
The backside of the bullpen returns right-hander Jacob Stone, who posted a 4-0 record and 0.94 ERA in 24 relief appearances. He became the late-season closer and finished the year with four saves, including three in postseason play. The pitching staff tossed 10 shutouts last year, becoming just the second team in program history to reach double-digit shutouts in a season.
Arkansas will also look to its 20 newcomers to make an impact as the recruiting class was ranked No. 16 in the country by Collegiate Baseball and features four MLB Draft selections, 14 freshmen and six junior college transfers.
The Razorbacks continue to be one of the most consistent baseball programs in the nation, advancing to their 13th straight NCAA Tournament in 2014 and 27th overall. Arkansas is one of just seven teams in the country to advance to the NCAA Tournament each of the last 13 years.
Season ticket customers should receive renewal information for the 2015 season after Oct. 15. For information on Arkansas baseball tickets, please contact the Razorback Ticket Office at 1-800-982-HOGS (4647).
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