Preview of Fan's Choice, Ole Miss at Arkansas

Preview of Fan's Choice, Ole Miss at Arkansas
May 20, 2011, 6:21 pm
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by Knox Bardeenknox.bardeen@csssports.com

Over 70,000 fans voted in a two-week poll to make the OleMiss at Arkansas baseball game on Friday the SEC Fans Choice game. With morethan 36,000 votes, the Ole Miss-Arkansas game edged South Carolina at Alabama.CSS will broadcast the Ole Miss-Arkansas game at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville,Ark. at 7 p.m. ET, providing the weather remains fair.With just two regular-season game remaining, both teams aretied for second place in the SEC Western Division at 13-15 and still in thehunt to qualify for the SEC Baseball Tournament next week in Hoover, Ala.Ole Miss won a pitchers duel on Thursday when Matt Crouse and Jake Morgan combined to give up just six hits and one run, givingthe Rebels a 2-1 victory over Arkansas and knotting their records at 13-15.The Rebels will send junior David Goforth to the mound on Friday for Game 2 of the final seriesof the season. The right-handed Goforth is 4-7 with a 5.03 ERA in 13 startsthis season. Goforth gave up five earned runs in his last start on May 13against Mississippi State, and is 3-2 in his last five starts with a 7.07 ERA.Arkansas will counter with southpaw Randall Fant. The sophomore is 2-3 with a 3.58 ERA in eight startsand nine relief appearances this year. Fant gave up eight hits and five earnedruns in his May 14 start against South Carolina, and is 1-1 in his last fivestarts with a 3.90 ERA.Even though Arkansas is ranked 18th in thecountry, neither of these teams is guaranteed a spot in the SEC BaseballTournament. If the Rebels continue winning and sweep the Razorbacks, it couldbounce Arkansas from a spot in Hoover next week. With a 34-18 overall record,the razorbacks would still be eligible to play in the College World Series withan at-large bid.- In their all-time series history, Arkansas holds a 35-29 advantage over Ole Miss. Last season the Razorbacks took 2-of-3 from the Rebels.

- Even with the road win on Thursday, Ole Miss hasnt fared well away from home. The Rebels are 8-11 this season on road trips.

- The first inning is where Ole Miss does a lot of damage to opponents this season. The Rebels have outscored opponents 51-27 in the first inning this year and center fielder Tanner Mathis does a good job of setting the table for that early-game success. Mathis is 74-for-220 (.336) this season and has a .387 on-base percentage. Hes only struck out nine times all year.

- Randall Fant has a decent earned run average, but allows a lot of hitters to reach base. Only one pitcher on staff has given up more hits than Fants 55, and Fant has given up more extra-base hits (13) than any Arkansas pitcher.

- Dont count the Razorbacks out if they get behind early. Arkansas has compiled 20 come-from-behind victories this year, 13 of which were comebacks in the sixth inning or later.

- Arkansas knows how to be sneaky on the basepaths. No team in the SEC has more stolen bases than the Razorbacks with 108. This is a long-standing tradition with the club as they have surpassed the century mark in stolen bases 15 times in school history.

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