Arkansas 2012 Baseball World Series Capsule

Arkansas Razorbacks
SEC (39-17, 16-14)

It was a case of another year, another successful season for the Arkansas baseball team. Dave Van Horn’s squads consistently post seasons of 40 wins or more, and although this team hasn’t quite hit 40 wins (entering the SEC tournament) the Razorbacks are expected to pass the threshold and make another appearance in the NCAA tournament. Arkansas did not make the super-regional round last year, instead falling short in its regional at Tempe, but the follow-up to 2011 saw Arkansas finish in a second-place tie with Mississippi State in the SEC’s Western Division, behind LSU. Like the SEC East, the Razorbacks were victims of their own tough conference, but that may prep them for the NCAA level. That is, assuming they make the tournament. A 2-0 loss to Ole Miss on Wednesday (5/23) knocked them from the SEC tourney, but the Razorbacks should survive to earn an NCAA bid.

Big Wins: 04/13 vs. Kentucky (8-7), 04/22 at Ole Miss (11-3), 04/28 and 04/29 at Florida (5-1, 3-1)
Big Losses: 02/26 vs. Valparaiso (10-9), 03/03 at Houston (4-1), 03/23 at Mississippi State (11-2)
Coach: Dave Van Horn (9 seasons at Arkansas)

Why They Can Surprise:
It starts with pitching. With 10 pitchers whose ERA’s are at or under 3.00 (or just a smidge over it), the Razorbacks can bring anybody out to the mound and literally walk away with a victory if everything works out right. Pitchers D.J. Baxendale and Ryan Stanek combined for close to 150 strikeouts over the course of the season, and they have four pitchers capable of nailing down the save if need be. The conference’s difficulty level is well-known, so Arkansas won’t sneak up on any opponents and bring surprise to anyone it faces. Combine that with the hitting of starters Matt Reynolds, Tim Carver and Dominic Ficociello, and Arkansas is a team that could give other programs fits come the NCAA tournament.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Look no further than the SEC tournament. Wednesday’s early loss to Ole Miss does not bode well for the team’s overall chances, unless the Razorbacks can pick up the pieces in a hurry. We’ve talked about how the league is difficult (look at Florida, South Carolina, LSU, Georgia, etc.), but the SEC will get its fair share of entries into the 64-team field. Arkansas may have guaranteed a lower seed or a meeting against tougher opponents with this loss, and that will make the road to Omaha much more difficult than it was before. Arkansas needs to regroup quickly from this and hope for the best.

Key Field Players:
Matt Reynolds, Junior, IF, .347 BA, 7 HR, 41 RBI, 12 SB
Tim Carver, Senior, IF, .317 BA, 27 RBI, 13 SB
Dominic Ficociello, Sophomore, IF, .314 BA, 6 HR, 37 RBI
Bo Bigham, Senior, IF, .282 BA, 17 RBI
Derrick Bleeker, Junior, OF/Pitcher, .279 BA, 6 HR, 22 RBI

Key Pitchers:
Brandon Moore, Sophomore, Pitcher, 2.77 ERA, 4-2 W/L, 61.2 IP, 30 SO
D.J. Baxendale, Junior, Pitcher, 3.14 ERA, 6-3 W/L, 80.1 IP, 74 SO
Ryne Stanek, Sophomore, Pitcher, 2.96 ERA, 6-3 W/L, 70.0 IP, 65 SO
Barrett Astin, Sophomore, Pitcher, 2.32 ERA, 3-5 W/L, 50.1 IP, 58 SO, 9 SV

By the Numbers:
Batting Average: .283 (109th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Offense: 5.7 (103, 5)
Doubles per Game: 1.82 (72, 3)
Triples per Game: 0.14 (228, 9)
Home Runs per Game: 0.68 (52, 4)
Slugging Percentage: .406 (73, 6)
Stolen Bases per Game: 1.00 (137, 5)
Earned Run Average: 3.00 (15, 3)
Fielding Percentage: .969 (99, 10)
Double Plays per Game: 0.79 (132, 6)

Recent Postseason Appearances:

2011Regionallost to Charlotte, defeated New Mexico, defeated Charlotte, eliminated by Arizona State
2010Regionaldefeated Grambling, defeated Washington State, lost to Washington State, defeated Washington State
2010Super Regionaleliminated by Arizona State
2009Regionaldefeated Washington State, defeated Oklahoma, defeated Oklahoma
2009Super Regionaldefeated Florida State
2009CWSdefeated Cal State Fullerton, lost to LSU, defeated Virginia, eliminated by LSU
2008Regionallost to Pepperdine, eliminated by Stanford
2007Regionaldefeated Albany, lost to Oklahoma State, defeated Creighton, eliminated by Oklahoma State

*all team stats through 5/20

See All Baseball Postseason Capsules