After winning its first two games in the College World Series for the first time since 1979, the Arkansas baseball team looks to continue its success on Thursday night as it faces either No. 7 South Carolina or Kent State. First pitch is set for 8 p.m.
Thursday's game will be televised on ESPN2 and also streamed online on ESPN3.com. Mike Patrick, Orel Hershiser and Jessica Mendoza will have the call. The game will also be available on the Razorback Baseball Radio Network from IMG. 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.
Arkansas, 46-20 on the season, reached the bracket title game after defeating South Carolina, 2-1, on Monday night. A Razorback win on Thursday would advance the team to the College World Series championship series. A win by the Gamecocks or Golden Flashes would force another game on Friday night at 8 p.m.
The Razorbacks continued to use the formula of solid pitching and defense and timely hitting to snap the Gamecocks' 22-game postseason winning streak. Ryne Stanek and Barrett Astin combined to give up just one run on four hits, while Dominic Ficociello and Matt Vinson each had a clutch two-out RBI hit.
As a team, the Razorbacks are hitting .273. Arkansas is led offensively by Matt Reynolds, who is hitting .328 with seven homers, 43 RBI and 15 stolen bases. Tim Carver is batting .301 with two homers, 30 RBI and 14 stolen bases. Dominic Ficociello has a .297 batting average with six round trippers and 41 RBI. Joe Serrano has had a strong performance in the NCAA Tournament as he is hitting .521 (11-for-21) in Arkansas' eight NCAA Tourney games.
The Arkansas pitching staff has a team ERA of 2.84. The Razorbacks have given up just two runs in their last 32.1 innings, dating back to the second game of the Waco Super Regional. Junior southpaw Randall Fant will start on Thursday vs. South Carolina or Kent State. Fant has pitched in 14 games, including 13 starts, and is 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA. Fant hasn't allowed a run in his last 12.1 innings of work.
Out of the bullpen, Barrett Astin has appeared in a team-leading 31 games, 28 in relief, and has a 3-5 record with a team-high 11 saves and a 2.04 ERA. Colby Suggs has pitched in 29 games and is 7-0 with a 1.22 ERA. Brandon Moore has seen time in 28 games and has compiled a 5-2 record with three saves and a 2.62 ERA.
South Carolina, 46-18 on the season, is the No. 8 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Gamecocks are 1-1 in the College World Series after defeating No. 1 Florida, 7-3, on Saturday and falling to the Razorbacks, 2-1, on Monday. South Carolina went 18-11 in SEC play to win the Eastern Division title.
South Carolina is hitting .270 as a team. The Gamecocks are led at the plate by Christian Walker, who is hitting .316 with 11 homers and 54 RBI. Tanner English is batting .306 with 22 RBI, while Evan Marzilli is hitting .295 with two homers, 31 RBI and a team-high 13 stolen bases.
The South Carolina pitching staff has a team ERA of 3.04 ERA. The Gamecocks have not announced their starter for Thursday night's game.
Matt Price has pitched in 25 games, 20 as a reliever, and has a 4-4 record with a team-high 12 saves and a 3.38 ERA. Tyler Webb has appeared in a team-leading 37 games and is 6-1 with three saves and a 1.70 ERA. Evan Beal has pitched in 27 games and is 4-4 with five saves and a 4.02 ERA.
Kent State, 47-19 on the season, is 1-1 in the College World Series. The Golden Flashes fell to Arkansas, 8-1, in their College World Series opener, but then rebounded to defeat Florida, 5-4, on Monday. Kent State won both the MAC regular season and conference tournament titles.
Kent State is hitting .301 as a team. The Golden Flashes are led at the plate by George Roberts, who is hitting .364 with eight homers and 66 RBI. Jimmy Rider is batting .363 with six home runs and 58 RBI, while Nick Hamilton is swinging the bat at a .343 clip with a homer and 35 RBI. Evan Campbell (.316, 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 3.57. Kent State has not announced its starting pitcher for Thursday's game.
Casey Wilson has pitched in a team-high 29 games and has a team-leading seven saves with a 1-0 record and a 3.63 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 2.17 ERA in 21 appearances, while Josh Pierce is 1-0 with three saves and a 2.83 ERA in 20 outings.
Arkansas leads the all-time series against South Carolina, 32-26, while the Razorbacks and Golden Flashes met for the first time on Saturday.