But the Razorbacks' ace junior pitcher – who was 9-2 with a 1.40 ERA this season - believes his team has the talent, the confidence and the increased focus to make a return trip to the CWS in Omaha.
"We've had some ups, some downs, we hit a couple of stretches where we played some rough baseball, but then we have hit some stretches where we have played amazing baseball," noted Stanek, who was selected to the Coaches All-SEC First Team on Tuesday.
"…Postseason is the time that everybody loves to play, plays a little bit harder, works a little bit harder to get to where we want to go," Stanek added. "This team is really driven. It is what we have talked about all year – get us to the postseason and we will be ready to play.
"It is always a little easer to stay focused every game in the postseason, every day and work a little bit harder because you know you can get to where you want to go," Stanek continued. "We want to get back to Omaha and we know what it takes."
"We know it only takes five wins to get to Omaha," Stanek said. "Last year when you looked at five wins, it seemed like a lot in this kind of environment.
"But when you just look at it, it takes three in a regional and two in Super (Regional) to get us where we want to go," Stanek added. "It doesn't seem as tall this year, but you know every game out there is going to be a battle so we have go to out there, be ready and be ready to play every day."
Razorback righty Barret Astin (4-4, 1.94) is expected to start on the mound for the Razorbacks against Bulldogs ace Peter Kelich (7-4, 2.53).
Stanek, expected to be a Top 10 pick in the first round of next week's Major League baseball draft, will then take the ball Saturday against either host and top-seeded Kansas State (43-17) or fourth-seeded Wichita State (39-26).
It has been a winning formula this season for Arkansas with its ace pitching game two.
"I'm fine with it and I like it," Stanek said. "I just like to pitch. In a bigger game, I am excited to get the ball and hopefully try to get us to the regional championship game or – if I have to – keep us from getting eliminated.
"Whatever the case may be, I will just be out there ready to do my job and try to win ballgames," Stanek added.
Stanek grew up in Overland Park, Kan., but he was not a Kansas or Kansas State fan.
"Ever since I was little I was more of a Missouri Tiger fan growing up," Stanek said. "Then I ended up down here so I am not a fan of any of them up there anymore."
Stanek was also named Tuesday as one of the 30 semifinalists for the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award – which is given to nation's top amateur player.
The list is narrowed to three finalists on June 4th and then the winner is announced July 19th on the MLB network.
Stanek says that he is putting aside any thoughts of where he might go in the MLB draft.
"I don't really worry about it," Stanek said. "It will take care of itself if you go out there and just keep doing your job. Everything else will just fall into place.
"…It's going to be cool to go through that (the draft) again, but my goal first and foremost is to get us back to Omaha," Stanek added.
O o o
Arkansas catching signee Jon Denny, a 6-2, 205-pound standout from Yukon, Okla., is one of eight players who have been invited to attend the draft.
He hit .462 with 11 home runs, 46 RBI, 40 walks, 13 doubles and six triples this season and is expected to sign with whichever team drafts him.
Ryne Stanek and Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn celebrate after a win.