Miami RedHawks (0-0, 0-0 MAC) at Arkansas Razorbacks (0-0, 0-0 SEC)
Fayetteville, Ark. • Baum Stadium
Friday, Feb. 17 • 4 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 18 • 1 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 19 • 2 p.m.
TV: SECNetwork+/ESPN3 - Friday | Saturday | Sunday
Live Stats (TBA): Friday | Saturday | Sunday
Series Notes (PDF)
The Miami University baseball team opens up the 2017 campaign on the road against Arkansas on Friday, Feb 17 at 4 p.m. The series continues on Saturday at 1 p.m. before wrapping up on Sunday at 2 p.m. All times are eastern. All three contests will air live on SECNetwork+ and ESPN3. To be able to watch the game on ESPN3, you must have SEC Network as part of your TV Package.
The Razorbacks bring back 20 letterwinners from a season ago, a year which saw them finish 26-29. In Southeastern Conference action, Arkansas went 7-23 to finish seventh in the west division. The Razorback roster boasts 23 newcomers, 18 of which are true freshmen. Leading their returning players offensively is utility player Carson Shaddy, who hit .332 with 12 doubles and eight home runs. Senior right-handed pitcher Dominic Taccolini is the only consistent weekend starter from a season ago that is on this year’s roster. They lost veteran righty Keaton McKinney to an elbow injury in the preseason. Taccolini made 13 starts in 2016, amassing a 5-5 record and a 5.75 ERA in 72 innings of work. At the helm of the Razorback program is head coach Dave Van Horn, who has earned a record of 550-324 at Arkansas.
SERIES WITH THE RAZORBACKS
Miami and Arkansas have met just three times previously with each matchup having ended in favor of the Razorbacks. The most recent meeting between the two sides was on June 3, 2005, in the opening game of the Austin, Texas, NCAA Regional, a 9-5 Arkansas victory.
After bringing in another sizeable freshmen class (10), the team now has a good mix of veterans and young, up-and-coming talent. In total, the MU roster consists of 21 newcomers. Six position starters have made their way back this season while the pitching staff returns every single start from a year ago and 96 percent of its total innings pitched. Moreover, last year’s freshman hurlers accounted for 66 percent of the total innings tossed.
The Red & White have the luxury of returning three of their four All-MAC performers from the 2016 campaign in sophomore Cole Gnetz, redshirt junior Ross Haffey and senior Steve Sada. Gary Russo was the lone graduate of that group. Redshirt senior Adam Yacek, a 2015 All-MAC Second Team selection, is also back for Miami.
Miami is poised to start three underclassmen on the mound this weekend, something that the team is quite comfortable with. Last season, 51 games were started by underclassmen, 38 of which were freshmen. Sophomores Cole Gnetz and Zach Spears are slated to go Friday and Saturday, respectively. Freshman Grant Hartwig has earned the start in the series finale on Sunday.
MAKING THE SWITCH
Senior Steve Sada has played in and started over 150 games at second base for the Red & White the last three seasons. However, this year, the Saegertown, Pa., native has been asked to take his talents to center field to anchor a speedy MU outfield. The veteran has taken the change gracefully and indications are that he is excelling in his newfound role roaming the outfield.
NEW ERA BEGINS FOR MIAMI BASEBALL
The RedHawk baseball program has been the fortunate beneficiary of several facility improvements over the last couple of years. Most recently, the team received a brand new turf field behind the power of a completely donor-supported effort. The fundraising is part of a larger initiative known as the Graduating Champions Campaign, an $80 million capital campaign focused on improving Miami’s athletic facilities and increasing private support for scholarships. Also part of that was the Jay Hayden Baseball Center, a 10,000 square-foot facility equipped with coaches’ offices, players lounge, training room, hitting facility, locker room and much more. The team moved into that building in the fall of 2016.