It was a good week for three freshman on the Arkansas baseball squad.
Alex Phillips pitched six shutout innings against a good hitting UNLV team on Wednesday, Blake Baxendale had a grand slam and RBI double in the 10-4 victory over LSU on Sunday and Andrew Benintendi batted .350 in five games to raise his average to .274 on the season. Baxendale was fighting back from a bruised hand sustained on Tuesday.
Arkansas (22-15) is 7-8 in the SEC, in a tie for seventh overall in a five-way logjam at 7-8 with Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Mississippi State and Texas A&M. Alabama, a team the Hogs beat two of three, is atop the league at 10-5. Florida and Ole Miss are at 9-6. LSU is at 8-6-1. South Carolina is at 8-7 and Georgia is at 7-7-1. Tennessee, Missouri and Auburn are all at 6-9 as there is not much separation from top to bottom in either division in the SEC standings.
The Hogs continue to score more runs since head coach Dave Van Horn changed his batting order to put Tyler Spoon as the leadoff man. Joe Serrano is red hot in the third spot with a .357 average last week with five hits and seven walks. Brian Anderson has hit in 13 straight games. Eric Fisher has hit a home run in three straight to give him five on the year.
The Hogs played three road series in their five SEC series in the first half of the schedule. They will get three at home in the second half, including the next two in a row against Vanderbilt and Auburn. Tennessee and Missouri are last in the SEC East at 6-9. The Hogs have not been swept in their last 22 SEC series.
The Hogs will play host to Stephen F. Austin at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday. The Vandy series starts at 6:35 p.m. Friday. The Saturday game, set for 6:05, is slated for CST. The Sunday game, at noon, is to be broadcast by ESPN.
The Hog are last in the SEC in hitting with an overall team average of .255. That's only .218 in SEC games. As far as pitching, the Hogs are fifth in the league with an ERA of .245,
Vandy is hitting at .282 overall (.283 in league games), with a team ERA of .246 (and 4.03 in league games). Vandy is last in SEC games with a .952 fielding percentage with 29 errors in 15 games. The Hogs field at .972 with 16 errors, sixth best in league games.
Stephen F. Austin (15-20) has lost five straight, all at home. Oral Roberts swept the Lumberjacks last weekend, scoring only two runs in the three games. SFA lost a pair to New Mexico earlier in the week. SFA has beaten Alabama and Texas Tech in an 8-9 road record. The Lumberjacks lost two of three to Alabama and also lost against SEC member Texas A&M.
Stephen F. Austin has a team batting average of .277 with an ERA of 5.07. The Lumberjacks field at .952, with 62 errors. Mackenzie Handel swings the big bat for the Lumberjacks, .336 with eight homer runs and 33 RBI. He leads the Southland Conference in home runs and RBI.
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