The Arkansas baseball team has been selected as the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament Houston Regional and will face No. 3 seed Sam Houston State on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. First pitch between the Razorbacks and Bearkats is set for 1 p.m. (CT). Television/webcast information will be announced later.
The other first round matchup features host school and top seed Rice and No. 4 seed Prairie View A&M. First pitch for that game is scheduled for 6 p.m. (CT). The two losers on Friday will meet in an elimination game on Saturday at 1, followed by a meeting of Friday's two winners at 6 p.m.
All-session passes for the Houston Regional are $65 each and are now available online at https://oss.ticketmaster.com/html/pack_searchtix.htmI?l=EN&CNTX=febdeb8a446e211d99bcc3f85425eead. Tickets can also be ordered by calling (713) 522-OWLS or by visiting the Rice Athletic Ticket Office, which will be open from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. on Tuesday-Thursday. Single-game tickets will go on sale later in the week, pending availability. All ticket sales will move to the Reckling Park box office on Friday.
Arkansas enters the NCAA Tournament with a 39-19 overall record. The Razorbacks are appearing in the NCAA Tournament for the 11th consecutive year and the 25th time in program history. Arkansas is 55-51 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including a 41-35 mark in the regional round. The Razorbacks have advanced to six College World Series and four Super Regionals.
The Razorbacks are led offensively by junior third baseman Matt Reynolds, who leads the team in all three triple crown categories with a .340 batting average, seven homers and 41 RBI. Reynolds also leads the team in runs scored (44), doubles (18), total bases (107), slugging percentage (.535), walks (37) and on-base percentage (.451). Senior shortstop Tim Carver boasts a .313 batting average with two homers, 27 RBI and a team-leading 13 stolen bases. Sophomore first baseman Dominic Ficociello is hitting .309 with six homers and 37 RBI.
Junior right-handed pitcher DJ Baxendale will start the tournament opener on Friday, while sophomore right hander Ryne Stanek will start the second game of the tournament. Baxendale has started 16 games this season and has a 7-4 record with a 3.02 ERA. Baxendale has thrown a team-high 86.1 innings and struck out a team-best 79 batters. Stanek has made 14 starts and has compiled a 6-4 record with a 3.09 ERA.
Out of the bullpen, sophomore right hander Barrett Astin has pitched in a team-high 28 games, 25 in relief, and has a team-leading nine saves with a 3-5 record and a 2.31 ERA. Sophomore righty Colby Suggs has made 27 appearances and is 6-0 with a 1.32 ERA. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Brandon Moore has seen time in 23 games, 20 in relief, and has a 4-2 record with two saves and a 2.66 ERA. Junior southpaw Cade Lynch is 3-1 with two saves and a 2.11 ERA in 21 outings, all out of the bullpen.
An at-large selection out of the Southland Conference, Sam Houston State enters the NCAA Tournament with a 38-20 overall record. The Bearkats won their first Southland Conference regular season title since 1989, finishing league play with a 24-9 record. Sam Houston State has victories this season over fellow NCAA Tournament teams Rice, Dallas Baptist, San Diego, Louisiana-Monroe, Prairie View and UT-Arlington.
Rice, which was an at-large selection out of Conference USA, is 40-17 on the season and compiled a 17-7 mark in Conference USA, which won the league's regular season title. The Owls are in the NCAA Tournament for the 18th straight season. Rice has wins this season over NCAA Tournament teams New Mexico State, Dallas Baptist, Stanford, Arizona, Texas A&M, East Carolina, UAB, Sam Houston State and UCF.
Prairie View A&M earned the automatic bid from the SWAC after winning the conference tournament. The Panthers are making their first NCAA Regional appearance since the 2007 season and the third NCAA Tournament appearance in program history. Prairie View A&M has won eight of their last 11 games, including going 4-1 in the SWAC Tournament.
Friday's game between Arkansas and Sam Houston State will mark the first meeting between the two schools. The Razorbacks and Rice are familiar foes, having met 59 times previously, with Arkansas holding a 40-18-1 edge in the series. Arkansas has never faced Prairie View A&M on the baseball field.
2012 Houston Regional Game Schedule
Friday, June 1
Game 1 - Arkansas vs. Sam Houston State – 1 p.m.
Game 2 - Rice vs. Prairie View A&M – 6 p.m.
Saturday, June 2
Game 3 – Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 – 1 p.m.
Game 4 – Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 – 6 p.m.
Sunday, June 3
Game 5 – Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4 – 1 p.m.
Game 6 – Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 4 – 6 p.m.
Monday, June 4
Game 7 (if necessary) – Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6 – 6 p.m.