Scouting Report: Kent State vs Arkansas

Tim Dorst

The Kent State baseball team will play against the University of Arkansas Razorbacks this

Saturday in the first round of the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

This will be the first ever meeting between the Flashes and the Razorbacks, and many Kent State

fans may be unfamiliar with the Flashes’ opponents from Fayetteville, Ark.

Here is a preview of what Kent State can expect in its opening game this weekend:

The Arkansas Razorbacks compete in the Southeastern Conference and have an overall record of

44-20 this season. They finished with a 28-8 record against SEC opponents but went 0-2 in the

SEC Tournament, with losses to Mississippi State and Ole Miss.

The Razorbacks went on to sweep the Houston Regional, earning wins over Sam Houston State

and Rice. In the Waco Super Regional the following weekend, Arkansas won two games out of

three against the Baylor Bears, including a 10-inning, 1-0 victory in the deciding game, to earn a

trip to the College World Series.

One of the big factors to Arkansas’ success this season has been its pitching staff, which holds

an overall ERA of just 2.90. Right-handed pitcher Ryne Stanek is one of the Razorbacks’

top starters, with a 7-4 record and a 2.91 ERA in 16 starts. Right handers D.J. Baxendale and

Brandon Moore make up the rest of their starting rotation.

Arkansas’ bullpen may be a more crucial part of the Razorbacks pitching staff than the starters.

In the last two games of the Waco Super Regional, the starting pitchers in both games lasted just

four innings, with a variety of relievers brought in to finish those games.

The Razorbacks’ best relief pitcher appears to be sophomore right-handed pitcher Colby Suggs.

In 29 appearances out of the bullpen this season, Suggs is 7-0 with a 1.22 ERA. Suggs was also

the winning pitcher in the deciding game of the Waco Super Regional.

Right-hander Barrett Astin has been another big contributor in relief with an ERA of 2.15 and a

team-leading 10 saves this season.

On the offensive end, Arkansas has a combined batting average of .273. Junior infielder Matt

Reynolds leads the way for the Razorbacks, batting .338 with seven home runs and 43 RBIs.

Senior Tim Carver, another key player for Arkansas, bats .304 and leads the team in hits with 76.

By comparison, Kent State has batted a combined .302 average and has scored nearly 100 more

runs than Arkansas has this season. This could be a product of the level of competition, as the

Razorbacks compete in what is considered one of the toughest conferences in college baseball.

Regardless of what these teams faced on their individual roads to the College World Series, the

Flashes and the Razorbacks have both proven that they deserve to be there. When they meet

Saturday afternoon in Omaha, it should be nothing short of an interesting matchup.

Contact Tim Dorst at [email protected].