MANHATTAN, Kan. — For the 26th time in program history and the 12th-consecutive year, the No. 15 Arkansas baseball team has earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament and will open play in the Manhattan Regional on Friday at 7 p.m. (CT) as the No. 2 seed Razorbacks face No. 3 seed Bryant at Kansas State’s Tointon Family Stadium. Top seed Kansas State and No. 4 seed Wichita State will meet in the other first round game at 2 p.m. on Friday.
All games from the Manhattan Regional will be available online on ESPN3.com. The games will also be available on the Razorback Baseball Radio Network from IMG. Three-time Arkansas Sportscaster of the Year Chuck Barrett and former Arkansas Sports Information Director Rick Schaeffer will have the call. A live blog and live stats for each game of the regional will be available on ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Fans can also follow updates of each game on @RazorbackBSB, the official Twitter account of the Razorback baseball team.
All-session tickets for the NCAA Manhattan Regional are sold out. However, a limited number of standing room only tickets will go on sale at 8:30 a.m. on Friday for all games. Fans can purchase SRO tickets online at k-statesports.com, by calling 1-800-221-CATS, or in person at the Bramlage Coliseum ticket office. Standing room only tickets, located on the left field grass berm, will be available at a cost of $10 for adults and $8 for youth/students.
The Razorbacks are in the NCAA Tournament for the 12th straight year and the 26th time in program history. Arkansas is one of only seven teams nationally to advance to the NCAA Tournament each of the last 12 years. The Razorbacks have a 62-54 all-time record in the postseason, including a 44-35 mark in the regional round. Arkansas has advanced to seven College World Series and five Super Regionals.
Arkansas is coming off a 2-1 appearance in the SEC Tournament last week. The Razorbacks advanced to the semifinals with victories over No. 21 Ole Miss and No. 2 LSU. Tyler Spoon, Ryne Stanek and Matt Vinson were each named to the SEC Tournament All-Tournament Team.
The Razorbacks are hitting .260 as a team entering the NCAA Tournament. Second Team All-SEC selection Brian Anderson leads Arkansas at the plate with a .338 batting average and has four homers and 33 RBI. Vinson is batting .299 with two homers and 23 RBI, while Spoon has a team-leading 45 RBI with a .288 batting average and four home runs. Joe Serrano is hitting .284 with a home run and 18 RBI.
The Razorback pitching staff leads the country with a team ERA of 1.87. Junior right hander Barrett Astin will start Arkansas’ NCAA Tournament opener on Friday vs. Bryant. Astin has pitched in 17 games, including 13 starts, and has a 4-4 record with one save and a 1.94 ERA. Stanek, who received First Team All-SEC honors, will start Saturday’s game. Stanek has started 15 games in his junior season and has a 9-2 record with a 1.40 ERA.
The Arkansas bullpen has compiled an 11-8 record with 18 saves and a 1.82 ERA. Jalen Beeks has pitched in a team-leading 27 games and has a 6-1 record with two saves and a 1.66 ERA. Colby Suggs has tied the Arkansas single-season record with 12 saves and has a 1.93 ERA in 21 appearances. Brandon Moore has pitched in 22 games and has a 1-4 record with a 2.86 ERA. Trent Daniel has seen time in 21 games and is 0-1 with one save and a 2.31 ERA. Michael Gunn has pitched in 16 games and has a 1-0 record with one save and has only allowed two earned runs in 27 innings for a 0.67 ERA.
Bryant is in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history after winning the Northeast Conference Tournament championship with an 8-0 victory against Sacred Heart. The Bulldogs have won a school-record 44 games and enter the NCAA Tournament with a 44-16-1 overall record.
Bryant is hitting .289 as a team and is led offensively by Kevin Brown, who is hitting .368 with a team-high six homers, 46 RBI and a team-leading 22 stolen bases. Carl Anderson is batting .340 with two homers, a team-best 47 RBI and 19 stolen bases. Jordan Mountford has a .320 batting average with three homers and 22 RBI, while AJ Zarozny is hitting .307 with two homers and 28 RBI. Robby Rinn has a .303 batting average with 26 RBI. As a team, Bryant has stolen 96 bases and has only been thrown out 28 times.
The Bulldogs will start senior right hander Peter Kelich on Friday against Arkansas. Kelich has started 14 games in 2013 and has a 7-4 record with a 2.53 ERA. In 92.2 innings pitched, Kelich has struck out 83 batters and allowed 26 runs on 77 hits, holding opponents to a .227 batting average.
Salvatore Lisanti has a team-leading 10 saves and has a 1-2 record with a 1.27 ERA in 22 relief appearances. Trevor Lacosse leads the Bulldogs with 27 appearances and is 3-0 with a 2.17 ERA. Vaughn Hayward has pitched in 19 games, 18 out of the bullpen, and has two saves with a 1.66 ERA.
Friday’s game will mark the first-ever meeting between Arkansas and Bryant. It will also serve as the Razorbacks’ first game against a team from the Northeast Conference.