Baseball Travels to Auburn For SEC Series
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas baseball team (14-14, 3-6) hits the road for another SEC series this weekend, traveling to Auburn (18-11, 3-6) for a three-game set at Plainsman Park.
Saturday’s game will be televised nationally on SEC Network with Mike Morgan (PXP) and Dave Perno (Analyst) on the call. Friday and Sunday’s game will be broadcasted on SEC Network Plus and the WatchESPN App, while Phil Elson will have the call of all three games on the IMG Razorback Sports Network.
Fri. | 6:00p | (ARK) RHP Trey Killian vs. (AUB) RHP Cole Lipscomb
Sat. | 6:03p | (ARK) RHP Dominic Taccolini vs. (AUB) RHP Keegan Thompson
Sun. | 1:05p | (ARK) TBA vs (AUB) RHP Dalton Rentz
Friday Probable Starter – RHP Trey Killian
Trey Killian returns to his traditional series-opening role from a year ago as the junior is looking to get back on track and earn his first victory of the year. He gave up five runs on six hits against Ole Miss last weekend, but is just three starts removed from tossing 7.0 perfect innings against Vanderbilt and earning Louisville Slugger National Pitcher of the Week honors. Killian has 16 strikeouts in 21.2 innings of work and two of his four appearances have resulted in quality starts. He is set to make his 24th collegiate start.
Saturday Probable Starter – RHP Dominic Taccolini
Dominic Taccolini has won back-to-back starts against SEC teams and will look to make it three straight Saturday against Auburn. He has allowed three earned runs or less in all seven starts this season, including shutting down No. 1 LSU in the series opener and allowing just one run in 6.0 innings of work. He is coming off a seven-strikeout performance against Ole Miss and has a team-best 38 strikeouts on the year.
• Arkansas travels to Auburn for a three-game weekend set as the Razorbacks look to capture their second consecutive SEC series.
• The Razorbacks rank fourth in the SEC with 25 home runs on the year, including multiple home runs in a game seven different times.
• The Arkansas pitching staff has come alive the last five games, posting a 2.40 ERA with 47 strikeouts.
• Bobby Wernes leads the team with 12 multi-hit games on the year, including four in the last five games.
• Andrew Benintendi ranks second in the SEC with seven home runs on the year, while his 27 runs batted in is tied for fourth in the league.
• Zach Jackson tossed 4.2 scoreless innings in the Ole Miss series, with nine of his 14 outs recorded coming from strikeouts. He ranks second in the SEC with a 1.33 ERA.
• Dominic Taccolini has won five of his seven starts this season, including back-to-back victories against LSU and Ole Miss. He has allowed three earned runs or less in all seven of his starts.
• The Razorbacks have recorded double-digit hits in a game 13 times this season, including six or more hits in each of the last 10 games.
Arkansas is 34-43 all-time against the Tigers, including a 13-20 mark in Auburn, Alabama. The Razorbacks have dropped five consecutive series to Auburn, including 2-of-3 last year in Fayetteville. Arkansas’ last series win against the Tigers came at Plainsman Park in 2009, scoring 25 runs to sweep the series. The two teams have had three extra-inning games in the last four years, including a 4-3 Arkansas walk-off victory last year in 10 innings with Tyler Spoon delivering the winning hit.
DVH Milestone Watch
Head coach Dave Van Horn is closing in on 500 wins at Arkansas, currently sitting at 498-285 (.636) in his 13th season at the helm of the Razorbacks. He is averaging over 40 wins per season and is the only current SEC head coach to appear in five College World Series.
Underclassmen Doing Work
The freshmen and sophomores on the pitching staff have combined to throw 173.1 of a possible 247.2 innings this season for 69.9 percent. The trio of Dominic Taccolini, Zach Jackson and Keaton McKinney have thrown 99.0 of the 173.1 innings by the underclassmen. Jackson’s 1.33 ERA and 1.37 strikeouts per inning leads the team.
Tuesday capped off the busiest month of the year for the Razorbacks, playing 22 games during March, including a stretch of eight games in eight days from March 14-21. Arkansas opened the month winning five straight games and closed March winning three of its last five. Arkansas’ last stretch of 22 games during a single month came during March of 2003, posting a 17-5 record.
Arkansas’ next three SEC series will be against top-30 RPI teams according to BoydsWorld.com, with Auburn checking in at No. 25, Kentucky at No. 27 and Texas A&M at No. 4.
Frequent Flyer on #SCTop10
Arkansas appeared on SportsCenter’s #SCTop10 three times in a seven-day span in March, including Bobby Wernes’ famous jump throw play that landed at No. 1 against Southeast Missouri State on March 18. The Razorbacks also has been the No. 4 play twice with the crazy 9-2-1 putout to force extra innings at Vanderbilt on March 14 and Clark Eagan’s diving catch against LSU on March 20.
After recording just nine triples all of last season, Arkansas has already legged out 11 triples through 27 games, with four of them coming from Bobby Wernes and two from Clark Eagan and Chad Spanberger. The school record for triples in a season came in 1979 when Arkansas recorded 40 triples in 64 games.
The Razorbacks return to familiar territory next week with five games, welcoming Mississippi Valley State to town for two midweek games, before Kentucky comes calling for a three-game weekend series at Baum Stadium.