Baseball Opens SEC Tournament With Tennessee
HOOVER, Ala. – The 20th-ranked and No. 5 seed University of Arkansas baseball team is set to open play in the SEC Tournament Tuesday evening, taking on No. 12 seed Tennessee at approximately 8 p.m. on SEC Networkr at the Hoover Met.
Matchup: No. 5 Arkansas vs. No. 12 Tennessee
TV: SEC Network >> SECN+ >> WatchESPN App
Talent: Clay Matvick (PXP), Gabe Gross (Analyst) and Kayce Smith (Field)
Radio: Razorback Sports Network from IMG | Sirius 219 | XM 190
Probable Starters: (ARK) RHP Trey Killian (2-4) vs. (TEN) LHP Andy Cox (3-3)
• In search of its first SEC Tournament Championship in program history, Arkansas enters the week as the No. 5 seed after finishing the regular season at 17-12 in conference play.
• Arkansas did not lose an SEC series over the final eight weeks, posting a 16-7 record with seven series wins and a rain-shortened series split with Tennessee.
• The Razorbacks are coming off a series victory at Georgia in the final weekend of the regular season, outscoring the Bulldogs 17-1 over the final two games.
• Arkansas has made three SEC Tournament Championship game appearances in program history, finishing runner up in 1998 to Auburn, in 1999 to Alabama and in 2007 to Vanderbilt.
• The Razorbacks are 9-11 in SEC Tournament openers, including a 4-0 victory over Texas A&M last season. Dave Van Horn is 14-20 in 11 SEC Tournament appearances
• The most tournament wins for Arkansas came in 1999 with four. The Razorbacks claimed three wins a year ago, falling in the semifinals to LSU.
• Arkansas came from behind in seven of its 17 conference wins this year, with four of those coming in the seventh inning or later.
• The Arkansas pitching staff has held opponents to two runs or less in nine of the last 13 games, posting an ERA of 2.41 with a pair of shutouts and 92 strikeouts in 112.0 innings of work.
Series History vs Tennessee
Arkansas leads the all-time series with Tennessee 31-26, including wins in 14 of the last 18 meetings. The Razorbacks split a rain shortened two-game series against the Vols May 8-10 in Fayetteville and are 1-0 all-time against Tennessee in the SEC Tournament, picking up a 4-1 win during the 2004 championship.
Andrew Benintendi – SEC Player of the Year
Andrew Benintendi – All-SEC first team outfielder
Zach Jackson – All-SEC first team relief pitcher
Keaton McKinney – All-Freshman team starting pitcher
Bobby Wernes – All-SEC Defensive Team third base
Arkansas and regular season champion and top-ranked LSU are the only SEC team to drop two or fewer conference series during the regular season.
Over his last six starts, freshman Keaton McKinney is 5-0 with a 1.56 ERA, two complete games, one shutout and a .190 batting average against. He is the only pitcher in the league to earn SEC Freshman and Pitcher of the Week honors this season.
The Razorbacks have appeared in all six major polls each of the last two weeks, peaking at No. 20 in Baseball America and checking in at No. 21 in D1Baseball.
• Is the first SEC Player of the Year in program history.
• Is the first Razorback to win a major SEC award since Nick Schmidt won Pitcher of the Year in 2006.
• Is the first player in school history with at least 15 home runs and 20 stolen bases in a season.
• Only player in the SEC to rank in the top 25 nationally in batting average, home runs, slugging % and on base %.
• On pace to become first player in SEC history to win the batting title, home run title and Player of the Year.
• Would be the fourth player in program history to finish the season hitting over .400.
• Is one of two players in the country to rank in the top 10 in batting average and home runs.
• Is one of only two players in the country with 15+ home runs and 20+ stolen bases.
• Finished five RBI’s shy of becoming the second Triple Crown winner in SEC history.
• Would be the first player in SEC to hit over .400 since LSU’s Ralph Rhymes in 2012.
• Leads all sophomores in the country in batting average, home runs and slugging percentage.
• Is third in the country with 17 home runs on the year.
• Leads the country with a .771 slugging percentage.
• Ranks fifth in the SEC with 51 RBI on the year (5 behind leader).
• Had a span of four home runs in six plate appearances against Mississippi Valley State and Kentucky.
• Leads the SEC with a .511 on base percentage.
• Leads the SEC with a .415 batting average.
• Has reached base in 41 of his last 59 plate appearances and in 24 consecutive games.
• Has hit safely in 24 of the last 26 games, including his current career-long 10-game hitting streak.
• Has not struck out over his last 11 games and 46 plate appearances.
• His .415 batting average would be the highest since 2011 when Zack Cox set the school record at .429.
• Has 11 multi-hit games over the last 14 contests, including five three-hit games.
• Leads the SEC with 145 total bases.
• Ranks fifth in the SEC with 21 stolen bases on the year.
• Has nine stolen bases over the last 16 games.
• Ranks fourth in the SEC with 53 runs scored.
Andrew Benintendi and Bobby Portis are one of only two baseball and men’s basketball SEC Player
of the Year combo’s in the same calendar year in league history. They join Florida’s Mike Zunino and
Chandler Persons in 2011 as the only other tandem to accomplish the feat.
The Next Round
A win over Tennessee would send Arkansas to the double elimination portion of the bracket to play No. 4 seed Florida Wednesday at 8 p.m. on SEC Network.
For more information on Arkansas baseball, follow @RazorbackBSB on Twitter.