FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas hits the road for three games this weekend against a talented Auburn squad.
Arkansas (34-11, 14-7) is on top of the SEC West standings, but Auburn (31-14, 12-9) is one of the teams breathing down their neck. Auburn, Texas A&M and LSU are all just two games behind the Razorbacks in the SEC West with three weekend series remaining. The Hogs have already played LSU and Texas A&M so Auburn may have the best chance to move up. Dave Van Horn’s Razorbacks are just 4-5 in road games this season and now have to go to Auburn where the Tigers are 19-7, including 6-3 in SEC play, at home. Van Horn said he won’t spend a lot of time talking to his team about their road record.
“I don’t really talk about this being bigger than that,” Van Horn said Tuesday night. “I don’t feel like I need to put that on them. They know that every game is big from here on in, especially where we sit. I don’t feel like I need to give these guys any speeches. I think they get it. We’ve done pretty well here the last four or five years and have been in the race down the stretch. I think about ‘18, we had to fight to win the West. ‘19, it was the same way. Even last year, we were winning a lot, but there were some teams that were right there with us until the very end. It’s nothing new, so it’s not like I really have to tell them how to think. They know what we’re in for. They know that we’re going to get everybody’s best shot, and teams are trying to catch us. And it’s their home series. They don’t play tonight, they don’t play [Thursday]. They may be taking finals. They’ll be ready for us.”
At the plate, Auburn is led by first baseman Sonny DiChiara. He is hitting .436, 13 home runs and 40 RBI. Another standout is third baseman Blake Rambusch who is hitting .362, three home runs and 32 RBI. He leads the Tigers with 13 stolen bases in 18 attempts.
Arkansas RHP Connor Noland (5-3, 2.77 ERA) vs. Auburn RHP Mason Barnett (2-1, 4.19 ERA)
Arkansas LHP Hagen Smith (6-2, 3.75 ERA) vs. Auburn RHP Trace Bright (2-4, 4.29 ERA)
Arkansas RHP Jaxon Wiggins (5-1, 5.75 ERA) vs. Auburn RHP Joseph Gonzalez (6-1, 2.30 ERA)
Friday and Sunday’s games at Plainsman Park will stream on SEC Network+. Wiley Ballard (play-by-play) & Mark Fuller (analyst) have Friday’s call, while Ballard (play-by-play) & Gregg Olson (analyst) will handle Sunday’s series finale.
Mike Morgan (play-by-play) & Todd Walker (analyst), meanwhile, will call Saturday’s nationally televised contest on SEC Network. Fans can catch all the action through the ESPN app on smartphones, computers and tablets or via Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
The series can also be heard on the Razorback Sports Network from Learfield/IMG, including locally in Fayetteville on 92.1 FM or through the Razorback app, with Phil Elson (play-by-play) on the call. A full list of radio affiliates is available here.
- Arkansas and Auburn are dead even since 1992 with the overall series record tied at 48-48.
- While the Hogs have been the more dominant team in Fayetteville (26-19), the Tigers control the series when played in Auburn with a 24-18 record.
- The Razorbacks last swept the Tigers in Auburn in 2009.
- The Razorbacks are 9-4 in their last 13 SEC road series over the last three seasons, having won six of their last eight conference road trips.
- Arkansas, which has won 15 of its last 17 overall SEC series, is 8-4 against SEC West opponents this season, most recently taking two of three games against visiting Ole Miss at Baum-Walker Stadium last weekend.
- For the third straight season, Arkansas has posted at least 14 wins after seven weeks of league play (15 in 2019 & 2021).
- Arkansas is ranked first in the SEC and second in the country in fielding percentage (.985), committing just 25 errors in 45 games this season.
- Two of college baseball’s best home run hitters will square off at Plainsman Park this weekend. Arkansas OF Chris Lanzilli and Auburn INF Sonny DiChiara have combined for 102 career home runs, with Lanzilli’s 48 career blasts ranking seventh most among all active Division I college baseball players.