Vanderbilt visits No. 1 Arkansas

Fresh off a 2-1 series win over a good Florida team, Vanderbilt faces an even tougher test this weekend. The Commodores travel to Fayetteville, Ark. for a meeting with the No. 1 ranked Razorbacks who are fresh off a sweep of a tough Arizona State squad.

Vanderbilt (19-13, 5-7 SEC)
vs. No. 1 Arkansas (24-6, 10-2 SEC)

Friday, April 10 6:35 p.m.
Saturday, April 11 3:05 p.m. Fox Sports Net
Sunday, April 12 1:05 p.m.

Broadcast: 560 AM WNSR, Saturday's game will be televised on Fox Sports Net.

Venue: Baum Stadium (10,737); Fayetteville, Ark.

Series History vs. Arkansas

Arkansas leads 25-13 in a series that dates back to 1970. Last season was the first time in the 12 years of three-game series that the Commodores were able to claim the SEC series win. VU has never won a series in Fayetteville in six previous trips (5-13).

The Coaches

VU's Tim Corbin is 258-143 in his seventh season in Nashville. He is 364-281 in 13 seasons overall. He is 8-11 against the Razorbacks.
Arkansas' Dave Van Horn is 259-1 in his seventh season in Fayetteville and 820-374 in 21 seasosn as a head coach. He is 11-8 against the Commodores.

Tentative Pitching Matchups

VU Jr. LHP Mike Minor (2-3, 3.55 ERA) VS UA Jr. LHP Dallas Keuchel (5-0, 3.45 ERA)

VU So. RHP Caleb Cotham (4-3, 3.92 ERA) VS UA Jr. RHP T.J. Forrest (2-2, 4.32 ERA)

VU TBA VS UA Sr. RHP Justin Wells (1-0, 3.51 ERA)

Scouting Arkansas

Arkansas is 24-6 overall and a SEC best 10-2 after taking two of three at South Carolina last weekend. The Razorbacks were named No. 1 by Collegiate Baseball on Monday and took on Arizona State in a two-game midweek series at Baum Stadium. The Sun Devils were ranked No. 1 as well in three separate polls: Baseball America, USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll and the in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers poll. Arkansas trailed in both contests but rallied to beat ASU twice, 7-3 and 8-7, to sweep the series.
The Razorbacks have five starters returning from last year, led by outfielder Chase Leavitt who leads the team with a .380 batting average to go with nine doubles and 27 walks and a .533 on base percentage. First baseman Andy Wilkins and second baseman Ben Tschepikow are the top power hitters with nine and seven homers respectively. As a team UA is batting .291 with 34 homers and 207 runs scored (6.9 per game).

Left-hander Dalas Keuchel (5-0, 3.45 ERA) will start in the opener Friday night, with right-hander T.J. Forrest (2-2, 4.32 ERA) scheduled to go on Saturday. Right-hander Justin Wells  (1-0, 3.51 ERA) is scheduled to close the series out with his first start of the season on Sunday. Left-hander Stephen Richards (4-0, 1.27 ERA) is the team's closer with six saves and 29 strikeouts and 10 walks in 21.1 innings The team sports a 4.03 ERA, fourth best in SEC, with 257 strikeouts and 103 walks in 268.0 innings.

Scouting Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt (19-13, 5-7 SEC) has a young club that has posted a .309 team batting average and a 4.61 ERA. The Commodores have been paced at the plate by freshman Aaron Westlake (.386 avg., 9 2B, 1HR, 25 RBI), catcher Curt Casali (.359, 8 2B, 6 HR, 34 RBI), infielder Steven Liddle (.347, 13 2B, 4 HR, 26 RBI), freshman Jason Esposito (.339, 11 2B, 2 HR, 25 RBI) and junior Brian Harris (.291, 9 2B, 3 HR, 22 RBI). In the bullpen, acclaimed freshman Sonny Gray (2-0, 1.83 ERA, 4 Saves) and sophomore Richie Goodenow (0-0, 3.38 ERA) have each posted impressive numbers in relief. VU is coming off a series win over Florida, a series that saw the Commodores win a pitching duel 4-3 on Saturday and then stage a huge comeback in a 16-9 win on Sunday. Vandy trailed 9-2 in the sixth inning in that game. Vandy was shutout, 8-0, on Tuesday by local rival Middle Tennessee.


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