Arkansas pitching in good position

With a little time off, Arkansas' already loaded pitching staff is in even better shape than usual.

OMAHA, Neb. - Arkansas has only needed four pitchers to start the College World Series 2-0 and give the staff an extra day of rest.

Key relievers like Colby Suggs, Nolan Sanburn and even Trent Daniel, have yet to pitch in Omaha, giving the Razorbacks plenty of options on the mound to try to get to the championship series. They all got at least two appearances in the Super Regional, sometimes in all three games.

Starters DJ Baxendale and Ryne Stanek and relievers Brandon Moore and Barrett Astin are the only pitchers that the Razorbacks have had to use thus far in the College World Series. Moore threw 30 pitches and Astin threw 40 in their appearances and with an extra day of rest, the two may be available later in the week as well.

"Being 2-0 gives us the chance to rest a little bit and use less pitching while everyone else is still using pitching," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said.

Van Horn also said he would have a decision to make when it comes to who to start in the Razorbacks' third game of the College World Series. Arkansas has yet to start Randall Fant, who allowed just two hits in four scoreless innings in the rubber match against Baylor, in Omaha. Baxendale said he may also be ready if the Razorbacks need him. Pitching on short rest is nothing new for the junior right-hander.

"I had the opportunity to pitch out of the bullpen my freshman year, so I would have to pitch back-to-back days then," Baxendale said.

"I feel like I'll be ready, but if we go with Fant, he'll give us an opportunity to win.

Van Horn said he is leaning toward Fant, but he will evaluate the two pitchers tomorrow and make a final decision.

Regardless, the Razorbacks have a chance to use multiple relievers like it did to win the do-or-die, 10-inning game against Baylor that got them to Omaha. Arkansas used five pitchers to blank the Bears and advance to the College World Series -- Fant, Sanburn, Moore, Daniel and Suggs. Four of those pitchers, as mentioned, have yet to even make a College World Series appearance.

As a whole, the Arkansas pitching staff has a team earned run average of just 1.75 in the NCAA Tournament and Dominic Ficociello said that comes as no surprise.

"It has just become a regular thing," Ficociello said. "Watching them pitch, you see that when they pitch themselves into jams, they get right out of them.

"If they ever don't get the job done, it's no big deal because they carried us all year, but it's almost expected.

"They are so good. They're so dedicated to what they do and they take pride in being quite possibly the best pitching staff in the country."

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