OMAHA, Neb. – After recording a pair of dramatic wins over No. 4 Baylor in the last two games of the Waco Super Regional, the Arkansas baseball team opens play in the 2012 College World Series on Saturday as it faces Kent State at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. First pitch is set for 4 p.m (CT).
Saturday’s game will be televised on ESPN with Karl Ravech, Kyle Peterson and Jenn Brown on the call. Saturday’s game will also be streamed online on ESPN3.com and 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. A live blog and live stats will also be available on ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
The Razorbacks are in the College World Series for the seventh time in program history and for the first time since 2009. Arkansas also advanced to Omaha in 1979, 1985, 1987, 1989 and 2004. Arkansas is appearing in the CWS for the third time under head coach Dave Van Horn. The Razorbacks are 9-12 all-time in the College World Series. Arkansas is one of nine teams to advance to the College World Series at least twice in the last four seasons.
Arkansas, 44-20 on the season, advanced to the College World Series after winning the Waco Super Regional over No. 4 Baylor in three games. After dropping the opener of the Super Regional, the Razorbacks battled back to win the final two games of the series, including a 1-0 win in 10 innings in the decisive game three. Jake Wise drove in the game-winning run with a 10th inning RBI single, while five Arkansas pitchers combined on a five-hit shutout.
The Razorbacks are hitting .273 as a team. Arkansas is led offensively by All-American Matt Reynolds, who is hitting a team-best .338 with seven homers and 43 RBI. Tim Carver is batting .304 with two homers and 30 RBI, while Dominic Ficociello is hitting .301 with six homers and 40 RBI.
The Arkansas pitching staff has a team ERA of 2.90. Junior right hander DJ Baxendale will start on Saturday vs. Kent State. Baxendale has started 18 games and has a 7-5 record with a 3.18 ERA.
In relief, Barrett Astin has pitched in a team-high 30 games and has a team-leading 10 saves with a 3-5 record and a 2.15 ERA. Colby Suggs has appeared in 29 games and is 7-0 with a 1.22 ERA. Brandon Moore has seen time in 27 games and is 5-2 with two saves and a 2.71 ERA.
Kent State (46-18) advanced to the College World Series for the first time in program history after defeating Oregon in the Eugene Super Regional. The Golden Flashes won the first and third games of the series to defeat No. 5 Oregon. Kent State won both the MAC regular season and conference tournament titles.
Kent State is hitting .302 as a team. The Golden Flashes are led at the plate by George Roberts, who is hitting .368 with eight homers and 64 RBI. Jimmy Rider is batting .364 with five home runs and 56 RBI, while Nick Hamilton is swinging the bat at a .347 clip with a homer and 35 RBI. Evan Campbell (.327, 7 HR, 40 RBI) and T.J. Sutton (.305, 3 HR, 30 RBI) are also hitting over .300 on the season.
On the mound, the Golden Flashes have a team ERA of 3.49. Kent State has not announced its starting pitcher for Saturday’s game.
Casey Wilson has pitched in a team-high 28 games and has a team-leading seven saves with a 1-0 record and a 3.74 ERA. Eric Dorsch has appeared in 21 games, all in relief, and is 1-1 with two saves and a 3.15 ERA. Brian Clark has a 5-0 record with four saves and a 1.59 ERA in 20 appearances, while Josh Pierce is 1-0 with two saves and a 2.93 ERA in 19 outings.
Saturday’s game marks the first meeting on the baseball diamond between Arkansas and Kent State.