FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The fourth-ranked Arkansas baseball team renews acquaintances with three of its former Southwest Conference rivals this weekend at the Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park. The Razorbacks will face Texas Tech on Friday at 12:05 p.m., Houston on Saturday at 12:05 p.m. and No. 21 Texas on Sunday at 11:05 a.m.
Friday and Saturday's games will be streamed online on ESPN3.com, while Sunday's game will be televised by the Longhorn Network. All three games this weekend will be available on the Razorback Baseball Radio Network from IMG. Kyle Kellams, the news director at KUAF, will have the call for all three games this weekend.
Daily admission tickets for the Houston College Classic are $13, while three-day tournament passes are available for $30. Children's tickets (ages 4-14) are $6 daily and $15 for the tournament. High school and college students as well as kids from ages 4-14 can purchase the College Classic Coca-Cola Student Value Package for $10, which includes a day pass, a voucher for one 16-ounce Coca-Cola product and a regular hot dog.
This weekend's games mark Arkansas' first games away from Baum Stadium this season. The Razorbacks finished their 10-game, season-opening homestand with a 9-1 record and closed the homestand by sweeping a two-game set from BYU. Jimmy Bosco went 4-for-4 at the plate against the Cougars and reached base seven of his eight plate appearances. Bosco hit his first home run as a Razorback in the series finale and finished the two games with three RBI and three runs scored. Tim Carver went 3-for-6 in the series with a RBI and three runs scored, while Dominic Ficociello went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBI.
Carver leads the Razorbacks with a .462 batting average on the season with nine RBI and a team-leading seven stolen bases. Matt Reynolds is hitting .429 with a homer and nine RBI, while Ficociello is batting .417 with a home run and is tied for the team lead with 11 RBI. Bosco is swinging the bat at a .455 clip with a homer and eight RBI, while Jacob Mahan is hitting .400 with six RBI.
Sophomore right hander Ryne Stanek will start the tournament opener on Friday. Stanek has won each of his first two starts this season and has a 1.80 ERA. On Saturday, junior left hander Randall Fant will get the start. Fant made his first appearance of 2012 last Sunday against Valparaiso and received a no decision, giving up four runs in four innings. Junior right hander DJ Baxendale will start Sunday's game against Texas. Baxendale is 3-0 on the year with a 2.25 ERA.
In relief, Nolan Sanburn and Colby Suggs are tied for the team lead with five appearances each. Sanburn is 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA, while Suggs is 0-0 with a 1.69 ERA. Michael Gunn, Cade Lynch and Chris Oliver have each made four outings out of the bullpen. Gunn has not allowed a run in 4.1 innings, Lynch has no record with one save and a 1.80 ERA and Oliver has a 0-0 record with a 1.69 ERA Barrett Astin has made three appearances this season, two in relief, and has not allowed a run in eight innings, while striking out 10. Ty Wright has made three scoreless appearances in relief.
Texas Tech has opened the season with eight wins in its first nine games of the season. The Red Raiders only loss of the season came to Missouri State. Texas Tech enters the weekend on a five-game winning streak after picking up two wins against St. John's and three victories against Northern Illinois last weekend. As a team, the Red Raiders are hitting .295, while the pitching staff has a 2.00 ERA.
Barrett Barnes leads the Texas Tech offense in all three triple crown categories with a .438 batting average, three homers and 12 RBI. Barnes is also a perfect 6-for-6 on stolen base attempts. Scott LeJeune is hitting .412 on the season with seven RBI. Jamodrick McGruder has stolen a team-high eight bases and is hitting .375 with a RBI. Tim Proudfoot is also hitting over .300 this season, batting .367 with eight RBI.
The Red Raiders are scheduled to throw redshirt sophomore right hander Duke von Schamann against the Razorbacks. von Schamaan has yet to allow an earned run in two starts, posting a 2-0 record. In 14 innings, von Schamaan has allowed one unearned run on four hits and struck out 11.
Trey Masek has appeared in a team-high five games out of the bullpen and has one save with a 1.42 ERA. John Neeley also has a save with a 1-1 record and a 5.06 ERA in four relief appearances. Jared McCrummen has not allowed a run in three appearances, while Jamen Parten has a save in two scoreless outings.
Arkansas and Texas Tech have not met since the 1995 season when the Red Raiders defeated the Razorbacks in the NCAA Tournament. Arkansas leads the series 42-14 in games played since the 1960 season.
Houston enters the weekend with a 4-4 record. The Cougars opened the season with three straight wins, but have since loss four of their last five games. In its most recent game, Houston dropped a 4-1 decision to fifth-ranked Rice. As a team, Houston is hitting .264 and the Cougars pitching staff has a 2.25 team ERA.
Jacob Lueneburg paces the Houston offense, hitting .355 with three RBI and two stolen bases. Jake Runte is batting .344 with five RBI and a pair of stolen bases. Taylor White is swinging the bat at a .320 clip with two RBI, while Price Jacobs has a team-leading nine RBI.
The Cougars are scheduled to start senior left hander Jordan Lewis on Saturday. In two starts this season, Lewis has a 1-1 record with a 2.79 ERA. In 9.2 innings, Lewis has allowed three runs on 10 hits, while striking out four.
Jordan Mannisto has made three appearances out of the Cougars' bullpen and has a 1-0 record with a 2.70 ERA. Logan Piper, Ryan Vruggink and Chase Wellbrock each have two scoreless appearances in relief. Wellbrock has one win to his credit.
The Razorbacks and Cougars will be meeting for the first time since the Southwest Conference dissolved. Arkansas holds a 37-26 edge against Houston since the 1960 season.
Texas, ranked 21st by Baseball America, enters this weekend's tournament with a 3-5 record. The Longhorns snapped a five-game losing streak on Tuesday night with a 2-0 win at home against Houston Baptist. As a team, the Longhorns are hitting .195 on the season, while the pitching staff has a 4.16 team ERA.
Mark Payton leads the Texas offense with a .333 batting average with four RBI. Tim Maitland is hitting .316 with three runs scored. Jonathan Walsh has a .278 batting average with a RBI.
The Longhorns are scheduled to start freshman right hander Ricky Jacquez on Sunday. Jacquez, who will be making his first collegiate start, has a 0-0 record with a 6.43 ERA in three relief appearances this season. In seven innings of work this season, Jacquez has given up five runs on nine hits, while striking out eight.
Out of the bullpen, Texas closer Corey Knebel has appeared in six games and has three saves with a 1.29 ERA. Parker French has also made six outings in relief and has a 1-0 record with a 6.48 ERA. Dillon Peters has pitched in three games and has no record with a 1.50 ERA.
Arkansas and Texas have met 81 times dating back to the 1960 season with the Longhorns holding a 54-27 edge. The two schools last met in the 2005 NCAA Regional in Austin with the Longhorns winning two of the three meetings.