FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The 15th-ranked University of Arkansas baseball team has been selected as the No. 2 seed in the Manhattan Regional and will face No. 3 seed Bryant on Friday, May 31, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. First pitch between the Razorbacks and Bulldogs is set for 7 p.m. All games from the Manhattan Regional will be available on ESPN3.
The other first round match up features host school and top seed Kansas State against No. 4 seed Wichita State on Friday at 2 p.m. The two losers on Friday will meet in an elimination game on Saturday at 2 p.m., followed by a meeting between Friday's two winners at 7 p.m.
Tickets will go on sale to the general public at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday with All-Session, reserved and general admission ticket packages available. All-Session tickets are $70 for reserved chair back, $50 for reserved bench, $40 for adult general admission and $25 for student/youth general admission. Fans may reserve their tickets in person at the Kansas State Athletics Ticket Office, by phone at 800-221-CATS or online at www.k-statesports.com If tickets remain, individual session tickets will be available beginning at 8:30 a.m. Friday and can be purchased online, by phone or in person. Individual session tickets are $15 for reserved chair back, $12 for reserved bench, $10 for adult general admission and $8 for student/youth general admission.
Arkansas enters the NCAA Tournament with a 37-20 overall record. The Razorbacks are making their 26th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and are in the tournament for the 12th-consecutive season. Arkansas is one of just seven teams nationally to advance to the NCAA Tournament each of the last 12 years (Cal State Fullerton, Florida State, Miami (Fla.), North Carolina, Rice and South Carolina). The Razorbacks are 62-54 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including a 44-35 record in the regional round. Arkansas has advanced to the College World Series seven times and to five Super Regionals. Last season, Arkansas went on the road to advance to the College World Series, beating Sam Houston State and Rice in the Houston Regional and then downing No. 4 national seed Baylor in the Waco Super Regional.
The Razorbacks are led offensively by sophomore outfielder Brian Anderson, who leads the team with a .338 batting average and has hit four home runs and driven in 33 runs. Senior outfielder Matt Vinson is hitting .299 with two homers, 23 RBI and eight stolen bases, while redshirt freshman outfielder Tyler Spoon has a .288 batting average with four homers and a team-leading 45 RBI. Sophomore designated hitter Joe Serrano is hitting .284 with a homer and 18 RBI.
Arkansas boasts the top pitching staff in the country, leading the nation with a team ERA of 1.87. The Razorbacks' weekend rotation of junior right handers Barrett Astin and Ryne Stanek and senior left hander Randall Fant each have ERAs of under 2.00. Astin has pitched in 17 games, 13 as a starter, and has a 4-4 record with one save and a 1.94 ERA. Stanek has started 15 games and has compiled a 9-2 record with a 1.40 ERA. Fant is 5-1 with a 1.92 ERA in 13 starts this season.
Out of the bullpen, junior right hander Colby Suggs has a team-leading 12 saves, which is tied for the school's single-season saves record, and a 1.93 ERA in 21 appearances. Sophomore southpaw Jalen Beeks has pitched in a team-leading 27 games and is 6-1 with two saves and a 1.66 ERA. Brandon Moore has made 22 appearances and is 1-4 with a 2.86 ERA, while Trent Daniel has pitched in 21 games and is 0-1 with a 2.31 ERA. Michael Gunn has made 16 outings and has a 1-0 record with a 0.67 ERA.
Bryant is in the NCAA Tournament after claiming their first Northeast Conference Championship on Sunday with an 8-0 victory over Sacred Heart. The Bulldogs have set a school record with 44 victories and enter the NCAA Tournament with a 44-16-1 overall record. Bryant hits .289 as a team and has a team ERA of 2.63.
Kansas State received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament after winning the Big 12 regular season title, the program's first regular season conference championship in 80 years. The Wildcats enter the NCAA Tournament with a 41-17 overall record. Kansas State is hitting .323 as a team and has a team ERA of 3.83.
Wichita State received the automatic bid from the Missouri Valley Conference after winning the MVC Tournament last weekend with a 5-2 win against Illinois State. The Shockers enter the NCAA Tournament with a 39-26 overall record. As a team, Wichita State has a team batting average of .294, while the pitching staff has a team ERA of 3.31.
Friday's game between Arkansas and Bryant will mark the first meeting between the two schools. Arkansas and Kansas State have met 48 times previously with the Razorbacks holding a 29-19 advantage. The Razorbacks and Shockers are familiar foes with the teams meeting 42 times previously and Wichita State holding a 22-20 advantage. Arkansas and Wichita State have met eight times in the NCAA Tournament with the Shockers winning five of the eight games.