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May 22, 2012
After closing the regular season with a three-game sweep at Tennessee, the Arkansas baseball team opens postseason play on Tuesday as it faces Mississippi State in the first round of the 2012 SEC Baseball Tournament at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala. First pitch is scheduled for 30 minutes after the conclusion of game 1 between Kentucky and Ole Miss, which begins at 9:30 a.m.
Tuesday's game will be televised on SportSouth and available in Northwest Arkansas on Fox Sports Southwest with Dave Neal and Larry Conley on the call. Along with television, the game will also be streamed online on ESPN3.com. Tuesday's game will also be available on the Razorback Baseball Radio Network from IMG. Three-time Arkansas Sportscaster of the Year Chuck Barrett will call the action.
Arkansas closed the regular season by winning its last four games, including a three-game sweep at Tennessee last weekend. The Razorbacks enter the conference tournament with a 39-17 overall record and a 16-14 mark in league play. The Arkansas offense produced 26 runs and 39 hits in the three game sweep of the Vols, while the pitching staff only allowed five runs, just two of which were earned, in the three games. Brian Anderson hit .500 with two homers and four RBI in the series, while Derrick Bleeker pounded three home runs and hit .429 with five RBI. John Clay Reeves went 4-for-7 in the series, while Bo Bigham, Matt Reynolds and Matt Vinson all hit better than .300 over the three games.
The Razorbacks are hitting .283 as a team, which is fifth in the conference. Reynolds has reached base in 39 consecutive games for the Razorbacks and is hitting a team-best .347 with seven homers and 41 RBI. Tim Carver has a .317 batting average with two homers, 27 RBI and 13 stolen bases, while Dominic Ficociello is batting .314 with six round trippers and 37 RBI.
On the mound, the Arkansas pitching staff has a team ERA of 3.00, which is third in the league. The Razorbacks will start sophomore right hander Ryne Stanek in Tuesday's tournament opener. Stanek started Friday's game at Tennessee, but was lifted after getting hit in the shoulder with a line drive in the bottom of the first. Stanek has started 13 games this season and has a 6-3 record with a 2.96 ERA, which ranks 12th in the conference.
Barrett Astin has pitched in a team-high 27 games, 24 out of the Arkansas bullpen, and has a team-high nine saves with a 3-5 record and a 2.32 ERA. Colby Suggs has appeared in 26 games and is 6-0 with a 1.12 ERA. Brandon Moore is 4-2 with two saves and a 2.77 ERA in 22 appearances, while Cade Lynch is 3-1 with two saves and a 2.11 ERA in 21 appaearances.
Mississippi State enters the postseason with a 34-21 overall record and a 16-14 mark in SEC play. The Bulldogs closed the season by winning 11 of their last 15 league games, including a three-game sweep of then-No. 4 Kentucky last weekend to close the regular season. Overall, Mississippi State has won four of its last six contests entering the SEC Tournament.
As a team, the Bulldogs are hitting .253, which ranks 11th in the conference. Mississippi State is led offensively by Adam Frazier, who is hitting a team-best .360 with 23 RBI. Trey Porter has a .280 batting average with a team-high five homers and 21 RBI. Wes Rea leads the Bulldogs with 35 RBI.
Mississippi State leads the conference with a 2.64 team ERA. The Bulldogs have not announced a starter for Tuesday's tournament opener.
Out of the bullpen, Bulldog closer Jonathan Holder has pitched in 19 games and has a 1-0 record with six saves. Holder has not allowed a run in 22.2 innings. Caleb Reed has appeared in a team-high 25 games, 24 in relief, and is 1-5 with eight saves and a 2.74 ERA. Ross Mitchell has a 1-0 record with a 1.40 ERA in 18 outings.
Arkansas and Mississippi State have met 81 times previously with the Bulldogs holding a 44-37 edge. Arkansas is 4-0 against Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament.