Feb. 15, 2013
Razorbacks Look to Perform up
By David Furones
Special to College Baseball Insider
Arkansas Razorbacks weren’t expected to go as far as they did in
last year’s NCAA tournament.
after sweeping through the Houston Regional as the No. 2 seed,
it was perceived to be over for the Hogs once they suffered an
8-1 loss to Baylor in Game 1 of the Super Regionals. But the
resilient bunch would win consecutive one-run games to punch its
ticket to Omaha.
there, Arkansas got itself in good position by winning its first
two games. But on the cusp of the finals, the Razorbacks lost
two straight to SEC-rival South Carolina to end their season.
year, anything short of the College World Series would be
considered a disappointment. The Razorbacks come into the season
ranked No. 1 in the NCBWA, Collegiate Baseball and USA
an absolute honor [to be ranked No. 1],” said junior second
baseman Dominic Ficociello (left), who last year hit .290 with
six home runs and 41 RBI. “I think we definitely earned it. I
think we’ve got the talent to be ranked that high, and I think
we have the experience to be ranked that high.”
the Razorbacks are a complete team, the backbone comes in the
strength of the pitching staff. Arkansas last year had a team
ERA of 2.83.
expect a lot out of ourselves and people expect a lot out of us,
so we’re going to go out there and work as hard as we can to go
out there and get the job done,” junior right-hander Ryne Stanek
will anchor the rotation and start on Fridays, last year’s
closer Barrett Astin will take the mound on Saturdays with
fifth-year senior left-hander Trent Daniel pitching on Sundays.
pretty exciting because it’s the first time that I’ve had this
opportunity,” Stanek (right) said of getting the start on
Opening Day. “I’ll just go up there and try and make the most of
been ready to play for months now, since Omaha was over I was
ready to get after it again just because of how it felt after we
finished the season last year.”
Randall Fant, who started 14 games last year, and freshman Trey
Killian also will figure into some starts. Fant is dealing with
a hamstring injury to start the season. Arkansas will start off
with a closer-by-committee to wrap up games early in the season.
right-hander Colby Suggs, who last year registered a 1.38 ERA in
30 appearances out of the bullpen, will work in along with Astin
if he ultimately returns to last year’s role.
Arkansas’ lineup has been holding up against the strong
Razorback pitching staff in intra-squad scrimmages.
encouraging to see,” Arkansas baseball coach Dave Van Horn
(left) said during a press conference last week. “Hopefully it
transitions into the season.”
question mark comes in how the Hogs will replace the offensive
production of third baseman Matt Reynolds, who led the team in
virtually every offensive category and was drafted in the second
round of last year’s MLB Amateur Draft by the New York Mets.
a tough loss obviously, but at the same time we’re not losing
too much because I feel Brian Anderson will fill in perfectly
for him,” Ficociello said of Anderson, a sophomore who in his
freshman season hit .283 in 120 at-bats. “He’s got a great glove
just like Matt did; he’s got a cannon of an arm – actually
probably a little better than Matt’s.
think he has a pretty good chance to put up close numbers to
what Matt put up last year, and on top of that, we’ve got other
guys in the lineup where I think Brett McAfee, with him now at
short you have more firepower than we did with Tim Carver last
year, even though Tim had a great year [.299/2/30].”
is looking to produce in the bottom of the lineup. The 6-4
Ficociello (left) will move to second base and hit cleanup in
the lineup with redshirt sophomore Eric Fisher coming in to play
Horn addressed Ficociello’s move to the middle infield at a
recent press conference.
big for a second baseman? I think he is, but he’s quick,” he
says. “I like the range. I like the long arms.”
Ficociello, Anderson and Fisher will be
joined in the middle of the lineup by redshirt freshman Tyler
“[Spoon’s] going to be a guy that not many people know about,
but his game’s going to spread pretty quick because he can
really hit,” Ficociello says.
Outfielders Matt Vinson and Jacob Morris are likely to be
hitting in the 1- and 2-holes on the lineup card with Vinson,
who has improved his contact approach and cut down on his
strikeouts, likely leading off.
(photos by Walt Beazley/UA Media