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February 15, 2013

Opening Day






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FAYETTEVILLE - The top-ranked Arkansas baseball team opens the 2013 season this weekend as it hosts Western Illinois at Baum Stadium. Game times are scheduled for 3:05 p.m. on Friday, 12:05 p.m. on Saturday and 1:05 p.m. on Sunday.

All three games of the weekend series will be available on RazorVision through ArkansasRazorbacks.com and on the Razorback Baseball Radio Network from IMG. Three-time Arkansas Sportscaster of the Year Chuck Barrett and former Arkansas Sports Information Director Rick Schaeffer will call the action on Friday and Sunday. Kyle Kellams will have the call for Saturday's game. 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.

Season tickets for Arkansas' 34-game home schedule are still on sale. Season tickets are $190 for adults and $140 for University of Arkansas staff, youth and senior citizens. Season tickets may be purchased by calling 1-800-982-HOGS (4647) or by visiting the online ticket center at ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Single-game tickets for this weekend's series are available on gameday at Baum Stadium. Single-game tickets are $10 for reserved seats and $8 for general admission.

Along with several exciting in-game promotions, a couple of giveaways are planned for the weekend series. On Friday, fans can pick up a copy of the 2013 baseball schedule poster sponsored by Pepsi and AT&T. On Saturday, the 2013 baseball schedule magnet sponsored by Pepsi and AT&T will be given away.

The Razorbacks enter the season as the nation's No. 1 team for the first time in program history. Arkansas is the top-ranked team in three of the five college baseball polls. The Razorbacks are ranked No. 1 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll and the Collegiate Baseball poll. Arkansas is second in the Perfect Game preseason poll and third in the Baseball America poll.

Arkansas returns 17 letterwinners from last year's team that finished with a 46-22 record and advanced to the College World Series for the seventh time in program history, finishing in a tie for third. The 46 victories were the most for the Razorbacks under head coach Dave Van Horn and the most in a season since the 1990 team won 47 games.

On the mound, the Razorbacks return 10 pitchers from last year's pitching staff that finished the season with a 2.83 team ERA, the second-lowest single-season ERA in program history. Arkansas' pitching staff had 10 shutouts, which also ranked as the second-highest total in a season. The Arkansas pitching staff is led by preseason All-Americans Ryne Stanek and Colby Suggs. Stanek, who will start Friday's season opener, finished his sophomore year with an 8-4 record and a 2.82 ERA in 17 games, while Suggs made 30 appearances out of the bullpen and compiled a 7-1 record with a 1.38 ERA. Junior Barrett Astin is scheduled to get the ball in Saturday's game. Astin appeared in a team-high 32 games in 2012 and had a 3-5 record with a team-leading 11 saves. Redshirt senior Trent Daniel will start the series finale on Sunday. Daniel had a 2-0 record with one save and a 5.06 ERA last season.

Other returning pitchers include senior Randall Fant (2-3, 3.27 ERA), sophomore Michael Gunn (1-0, 2.57 ERA), senior Cade Lynch (3-1, 2 saves, 2.11 ERA), junior Brandon Moore (5-2, 3 saves, 2.43 ERA), sophomore Chris Oliver (1-0, 3.86 ERA) and senior Tyler Wright (1-0, 2.60 ERA).

Offensively, Arkansas finished the 2012 season with a team batting average of .271. The Razorbacks bring back six position players who made 30 or more starts during the 2012 season. The Razorbacks are led at the plate by preseason All-American Dominic Ficociello who hit .290 with six home runs and 41 RBI last season. Brian Anderson, who earned freshman All-SEC honors from SEBaseball.com, hit .283 with two homers and 11 RBI in his rookie season. Jacob Mahan played in 45 games, including 37 starts, and had a .257 batting average with 18 RBI. Jake Wise started 49 games at catcher and played in 60 games total, hitting .244 with two round-trippers and 25 RBI. Jacob Morris played in 52 games, with 49 starts, and had a .236 batting average with three homers and 23 RBI, while Matt Vinson batted .217 with 13 RBI in 49 games, including 36 starts. Joe Serrano put together a .333 batting average with seven RBI last season, including a .444 batting average in Arkansas' NCAA Tournament run.

Western Illinois returns 14 players from last year's team that finished with a 17-35-1 record. The Leathernecks bring back four starting position players and seven pitchers from last year's team. As a team, Western Illinois had a .253 batting average, a 4.85 team ERA and a .949 fielding percentage.

Offensively, the Leathernecks are led by All-Summit League selection Dan Dispensa, who led Western Illinois in seven statistical categories last season. Dispensa had a team-high .344 batting average with two homers and 28 RBI. Steve Kedroski played in 49 games, including 38 starts, and had a .237 batting average with a home run and 16 RBI. Brent Turner had a .188 batting average with six RBI in 30 games played, while Manny Reyes hit .180 with 12 RBI in 45 games played.

On the mound, sophomore right hander Nick Smith will start the series opener on Friday. Smith pitched in 14 games, with 12 starts, in 2012 and had a 3-6 record with a 4.98 ERA. On Saturday, the Leathernecks will start either sophomore righty Tyler Willman on junior right hander John White. Willman went 1-1 with a 7.71 ERA in seven appearances last season, while White joins Western Illinois after playing at John Wood Community College. On Sunday, sophomore right-handed pitcher Mason Pingel will start for WIU. Pingel pitched in nine games last season and had a 0-0 record with a 5.00 ERA.

Arkansas and Western Illinois have met four times previously with the Razorbacks winning all four prior games. The two teams last played in the 2009 season with the Razorbacks claiming an 8-7 win in 10 innings.

Weekend Schedule (Times Central and Subject to Change) - Fayetteville, Ark.
Friday, Feb. 15 - 3:05 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 16 - 12:05 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 17 - 1:05 p.m.

Live Game Coverage
Television/Webcast: ArkansasRazorbacks.com
Radio: Razorback Baseball Radio Network from IMG
Live Stats & Live Blog: ArkansasRazorbacks.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/RazorbackBSB

Ticket Information
Season tickets for Arkansas' 34-game home schedule are still on sale. Season tickets are $190 for adults and $140 for University of Arkansas staff, youth and senior citizens. Season tickets may be purchased by calling 1-800-982-HOGS (4647) or by visiting the online ticket center at ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Single-game tickets for this weekend's series are available on gameday at Baum Stadium. Single-game tickets are $10 for reserved seats and $8 for general admission.

Promotional Giveaways
Friday - Pepsi/AT&T Schedule Posters
Saturday - Pepsi/AT&T Schedule Magnets

Probable Pitching Matchups (Arkansas listed first)
Friday (3:05 p.m.)
RHP Ryne Stanek (Jr., 8-4, 2.82)* vs. RHP Nick Smith (So., 3-6, 4.98)
Saturday (12:05 p.m.)
RHP Barrett Astin (Jr., 3-5, 1.99)* vs. RHP Tyler Willman (So., 1-1, 7.71)* or RHP John White
Sunday (1:05 p.m.)
LHP Trent Daniel (R-Sr., 2-0, 5.06)* vs. RHP Mason Pingel (So., 0-0, 5.00)*
*2012 Stats

Rankings
Arkansas - No. 1 (USA Today Coaches/NCBWA/Collegiate Baseball), No. 2 (Perfect Game), No. 3 Baseball America
Western Illinois - Not Ranked

Statewide Radio Stations
KASR 92.7 FM - Conway
KAGH 104.9 FM - Crossett
KELD 106.5 FM - El Dorado
KQSM 92.1 FM - Fayetteville
KXJK 950 AM - Forrest City
KHGG 103.1 FM - Fort Smith
KWXI 670 AM - Glenwood
KWXI 98.9 FM - Glenwood
KFFA 1360 AM - Helena
KXAR 1490 AM - Hope
KABZ 103.7 FM - Little Rock
KBCN 104.3 FM - Marshall
KTTG 96.3 FM - Mena
KOMT 107.5 FM - Mountain Home
KURM 790 AM - Rogers
KURM 100.3 FM - Rogers
KARV 610 AM - Russellville
KARV 101.3 FM - Russellville
KSMD 99.1 FM - Searcy
KWAK 105.1 FM - Stuttgart
KKTK 1400 AM - Texarkana, Texas


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