The SEC Series of the Week kicks off tonight with the Florida Gators heading to Arkansas for a three game series that starts tonight. The Gators enter the series with a 35-10 overall record while being 17-4 in conference play. Arkansas is 30-13 while being under .500 in conference play at 10-11.
The Gators are currently on a seven game winning streak with their most recent victory against Bethune-Cookman on Tuesday by a score of 11-0. They offense has been led in all three Triple Crown categories by sophomore catcher Mike Zunino with a .390 batting average, 10 homers, and 46 RBI. His strong season has seen him take over the role as the top college catcher in next year’s 2012 MLB Draft. Josh Adams has been hitting the ball well this season with a .363 average while hitting four homers and driving in 32 runs. Two other players to watch are junior outfielder Preston Tucker (.331 BA, 9 HR, 42 RBI) and sophomore Brian Johnson (.331 BA, 3 HR, 19 RBI).
The most impressive part of the season for the Gators has been the pitching staff. They currently have a 2.51 team ERA as Hudson Randall leads the starting pitchers. He is 8-1 with a 1.75 ERA in his first 11 starts of the season including two complete games. The other two spots in the weekend rotation will be filled by sophomore Brian Johnson (7-1, 2.26 ERA) and Karsten Whitson (6-0, 2.02 ERA).
Arkansas is coming off a 6-5 deficit on Wednesday to Southeast Missouri State and have lost three out of their last four games. They are being led on offense by Dominic Ficocielli who is hitting .346 with four homers and 38 RBI. James McCann is second on the team in average at .322 while jacking six homers and driving in 27 runs.
The Razorbacks have a team ERA at a respectable 3.16 while being led by D.J. Baxendale. He is currently 6-1 with an ERA of 1.50 in 13 appearances (seven starts). Randall Fant is expected to get the ball on Friday for the Gators as he is 1-3 with a 2.92 ERA in 15 appearances including six starts. The Razorbacks currently have not named a starter for the series finale on Saturday. Nolan Sanburn leads the team with eight saves while being 2-3 and sporting a 3.00 ERA in 20 appearances.
Probable Starting Pitchers
Thursday: ARK DJ Baxendale (6-1, 1.50) vs UF Hudson Randall (8-1, 1.75 ERA)
Friday: ARK Randall Fant (1-3, 2.92) vs UF Brian Johnson (7-1, 2.26 ERA)
Saturday: ARK TBA vs UF Karsten Whitson (6-0, 2.03 ERA)
Prediction: UF 2-1