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January 29, 2013

BASEBALL: Arkansas ranked No. 1 by NCBWA

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The University of Arkansas baseball team received its third No. 1 ranking of the preseason on Monday as the Razorbacks were the top-ranked team in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll.

Arkansas is the No. 1 ranked team in three of the five preseason college baseball polls. The Razorbacks were also ranked No. 1 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and the Collegiate Baseball poll. Arkansas was ranked second by Perfect Game and third by Baseball America.

Arkansas finished the 2012 season with a 46-22 record and advanced to the College World Series for the seventh time in program history, finishing in a tie for third. The 46 victories were the most for the Razorbacks under head coach Dave Van Horn and the most in a season since the 1990 team won 47 games. Arkansas finished the season ranked in the top six in all four of the major national college baseball polls, including a No. 3 ranking in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, the NCBWA poll and the Collegiate Baseball poll.

The Razorbacks return 10 pitchers from last year’s pitching staff that finished the season with a 2.83 team ERA, the second-lowest single-season ERA in program history. Arkansas’ pitching staff had 10 shutouts, which also ranked as the second-highest total in a season. In the NCAA Tournament, Razorback pitchers compiled a 1.92 team ERA, including a team ERA of 1.80 in the College World Series. Junior Ryne Stanek, who was named a preseason All-American by Collegiate Baseball and Perfect Game, and senior Randall Fant return as weekend starters from last year’s team. Stanek, who earned All-SEC honors last season from SEBaseball.com, finished his sophomore year with an 8-4 record and a 2.82 ERA in 17 games. Fant pitched in 15 games, including 14 starts, in 2012 and compiled a 2-3 record with a 3.27 ERA.

Out of the bullpen, junior right hander Colby Suggs, who was named a 2013 preseason All-American by the NCBWA, Collegiate Baseball and Perfect Game, made 30 appearances in 2012 and went 7-1 with a 1.38 ERA. Junior righty Barrett Astin pitched in a team-high 32 games and had a 3-5 record with a team-leading 11 saves and a 1.99 ERA. Junior right hander Brandon Moore went 5-2 with three saves and a 2.43 ERA in 29 outings. Redshirt senior Trent Daniel (2-0, 1 save, 5.06 ERA), senior Cade Lynch (3-1, 2 saves, 2.11 ERA) and senior Tyler Wright (1-0, 2.60 ERA) are all left-handed options out of the bullpen. Sophomore right handers Michael Gunn (1-0, 2.57 ERA) and Chris Oliver (1-0, 3.86) also return for the 2013 season.

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