Razorbacks Looking Forward to No. 12 Kentucky
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Seeking to build off its 6-2 victory over No. 25 Creighton on Tuesday, the Razorback baseball team (22-15, 4-11) heads to Lexington to face No. 12 Kentucky (23-13, 9-6) for a three-game series starting Thursday at 6 p.m. CDT at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
This will be the second-straight week the Hogs will be playing a Thursday-Friday-Saturday Southeastern Conference series after playing the 2nd-ranked Florida Gators last week at Baum Stadium.
Arkansas is set to start junior right-handed pitcher Dominic Taccolini (3-2) for game 1 against the Wildcats opposite junior right-hander Zack Brown (2-6) for Kentucky. Taccolini will be making his ninth start of the year and comes in with a 5.57 ERA.
Taccolini pitched just three innings last week against No. 2 Florida, giving up just one hit, but walking three batters and allowing three earned runs. Taccolini has been up and down since the start of SEC play. After going six innings in the SEC opener against South Carolina, the junior has thrown less than four innings in each of his next five appearances.
Junior closer-turned-starter Zach Jackson (2-4) will pitch Friday against Kentucky senior right-hander Dustin Beggs (7-0). Jackson will be making his third start in as many weeks after making 11 appearances out of the bullpen.
Even though Jackson comes in with a high ERA (5.01), the Oklahoma native has been one of Arkansas’ more effective pitchers out of the starting role in recent weeks. In his two starts this year, Jackson has gone five or more innings, which is the most out of any Razorback starting pitcher during the last 14 games.
Things to know
Sophomore Chad Spanberger looks to continue his hot hitting against Kentucky after going 3-for-3 with a home run and a double against No. 25 Creighton on Tuesday. The three hits were a season-high and he had four RBIs, which tied a career-high.
Arkansas is hitting .281 as a team in true road games this season with sophomore Carson Shaddy leading all Razorback hitters with a .407 average. Shaddy, Cullen Gassaway and Luke Bonfield all have 10 or more hits in the eight road games this season with a combined 17 RBI.
The Razorback catching tandem of senior Tucker Pennell and freshman Grant Koch have been among the best, defensively, in the SEC all year long. Koch got the start against Creighton on Tuesday and threw out three would-be base stealers, tying the most by a Razorback catcher in a game this season.
Pennell also caught three would-be base stealers just a game before against No. 2 Florida, giving him 22 for the season, which continues to lead the conference.
Thursday’s game with Kentucky will be Arkansas’ first in Cliff Hagan Stadium since 2013. The Hogs have come out winners in five of their last nine games in Lexington and have won two of their last three series in the Bluegrass State.
Thursday’s game between the Razorbacks and the Wildcats will be broadcast on the SEC Network, while Friday’s game will be on ESPNU. Saturday’s game 3 will be online only on SEC Network+ via the WatchESPN app and WatchESPN.com.
Phil Elson (PXP) can be heard on the radio waves via the Razorback Sports Network from IMG. Fans in the Fayetteville area can listen to the game on the flagship station 92.1 FM The Ticket or online on ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Thu | 6 p.m. CDT | (ARK) RHP Dominic Taccolini (3-2, 5.57 ERA, 37/15 K/BB) vs. (UK) RHP Zack Brown (2-6, 6.08 ERA, 40/21 K/BB)
Fri | 6:30 p.m. CDT | (ARK) RHP Zach Jackson (2-4, 5.01 ERA, 40/23 K/BB) vs. (UK) RHP Dustin Beggs (7-0, 2.27 ERA, 58/8 K/BB)
Sat | 12 p.m. CDT | (ARK) TBA vs. (UK) RHP Kyle Cody (4-2, 4.20 ERA, 45/21 K/BB)