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2001 University of Arkansas Baseball Preseason

BY ANDRES FOCIL
2001 University of Arkansas Baseball Preseason

HOGS TO OPEN 2001 SEASON FEB. 4

The University of Arkansas will open its 79th season of baseball on Sunday, Feb. 4, when the Razorbacks play host to Missouri Southern at 1:30 p.m. CT. It will mark the 11th time and third-consecutive year that UA has opened the season against the Lions. Arkansas is 28-6 in season openers since 1967, including a 26-5 mark under head coach Norm DeBriyn.

RED-WHITE GAME SET FOR OCT. 14

With fall practice underway since Sept. 18, the annual Red-White Game is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 14, at 3 p.m. CT at Baum Stadium. The event also serves as Game One of the 2000 Fall World Series, the Razorbacks’ annual best-of-seven intrasquad series. Once again, this year’s event will feature assistant coach Doug Clark’s Hog Dogs against volunteer assistant coach Travis Janssen’s Clarkbusters. Last season, Clark’s team prevailed in seven games to claim its 13th Fall World Series title in 16 years.

Admission to the Fall World Series is free and all UA baseball practices are open to the public. Practices are held daily except Sunday with workouts generally beginning at 2 p.m.

ARKANSAS BASEBALL 2000 FALL WORLD SERIES SCHEDULE
Game 1 – Saturday, Oct. 14, 3 p.m.
Game 2 – Monday, Oct. 16, 3:30 p.m.
Game 3 – Tuesday, Oct. 17, 3:30 p.m.
Game 4 – Wednesday, Oct. 18, 7 p.m.
*Game 5 – Friday, Oct. 20, 3:30 p.m.
*Game 6 – Saturday, Oct. 21, 11 a.m.
*Game 7 – Sunday, Oct. 23, 2 p.m.
* – if necessary; all times Central

COACHING STAFF

The Arkansas coaching staff remains unchanged since the 1999 season with head coach Norm DeBriyn, assistant coach Doug Clark, assistant coach/recruiting coordinator Tim Montez and volunteer assistant coach Travis Janssen directing the Razorback program.

HEAD COACH NORM DeBRIYN

On the verge of his 32nd season as head coach of the Razorbacks, Norm DeBriyn will earn his 1,100th career victory with Arkansas’ first win of the 2001 season. DeBriyn is the longest-tenured head coach in any sport at Arkansas and enters the 2001 season with a career record of 1,099-593-6, all at Arkansas. He has guided the Razorbacks to each of the 14 NCAA postseason and four NCAA College World Series appearances in the school’s history and directed the Razorbacks to their first Southeastern Conference overall and Western Division titles in 1999. During his tenure, DeBriyn has guided the UA baseball program’s transitions into two conferences – the Southwest Conference in 1975 and the SEC in 1992 – which were arguably the nation’s strongest at the time. In addition, the success of the UA program under DeBriyn’s guidance has necessitated the construction of two new facilities, George Cole Field in 1975 and Baum Stadium in 1996.

ASSISTANT COACH DOUG CLARK

Sustaining one of the longest coaching tandems in any sport at UA, Doug Clark returns for his 25th season as an assistant to Razorback head coach Norm DeBriyn. Clark, the Hogs’ hitting instructor, joined the Razorback coaching staff prior to the 1977 season as a graduate assistant coach and was named a full-time assistant prior to the 1980 season. Clark lettered one season at Arizona State before transferring to Colorado where he earned All-Big Eight Conference honors as a senior in 1971. Drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals organization, Clark spent six years in the minors with stints in the St. Louis, Oakland and Kansas City organizations. This year, Clark is joined by his younger son, Cody Clark, a freshman catcher on the Razorback roster. Clark’s older son, Zak Clark, is a freshman quarterback on the UA football team.

ASSISTANT COACH/RECRUITING COORDINATOR TIM MONTEZ

Beginning his fourth season as a member of the Razorback coaching staff, Tim Montez fills the dual roles of pitching coach and recruiting coordinator. A four-year letterman at Pepperdine, Montez spent two years with the Mexican League’s Mexico City Reds following his collegiate career. Montez returned to his alma mater and served as an assistant coach for the Waves from 1988 to 1990. In 1991 he returned to prep coaching, serving as an assistant baseball coach at Montclair Preparatory High School in Van Nuys, Calif., until 1993. He then served as an assistant at California, Santa Barbara from 1994 to 1996 and came to Arkansas after serving as an assistant at California State, Northridge in 1997.

VOLUNTEER ASSISTANT COACH TRAVIS JANSSEN

Travis Janssen returns for his third season as the Razorbacks’ volunteer assistant coach. Responsible for instructing the Razorback infielders, Janssen joined the UA coaching staff after spending one season on the staff at Butler County (Kan.) College. Janssen was an all-conference selection as a player at Butler County in 1994 before transferring to New Mexico State. There he earned third-team All-America honors in 1995 as a junior before a broken leg cut his senior season short.

ISAACSON RETURNS FROM SHOULDER STRAIN

Right-handed pitcher Charlie Isaacson returns for his junior season after an injury-shortened sophomore campaign. Isaacson made just three appearances and logged just 6.0 innings pitched before a strained right (throwing) shoulder ended his 2000 season. Although Isaacson is officially listed as a junior this season, UA can petition the NCAA on for an additional year of eligibility for the Overland Park, Kan., native once he completes his senior season. Isaacson posted a 9-0 record and 3.16 earned-run average in 1999 and was named Second-Team All-America by the American Baseball Coaches Association, First-Team All-Southeastern Conference, and a Freshman All-American by Baseball Weekly, Baseball America (First Team) and Collegiate Baseball (First Team).

CROSSETT RECOVERING FROM SHOULDER SURGERY

Senior outfielder/designated hitter Scott Crossett is another Razorback on the mend. The Batesville, Ark., native underwent surgery on his right (throwing) shoulder early last summer to repair damage done during an injury he suffered during his senior basketball season at Batesville High School. Although Crossett’s throwing is limited during fall workouts as he continues rehabilitation, UA Head Athletic Trainer Dave England expects Crossett’s shoulder to be full-strength when the Hogs begin preseason practice in January.

KIRBY LOOKING TO MOVE UP UA HOME RUN CHART

Outfielder Brian Kirby returns for his senior season in hopes of continuing his climb up Arkansas’ career home run list. After setting the Razorbacks’ freshman homer record with 11 in 1998, Kirby hit 10 as a sophomore in 1999 and nine as a junior last season. His 30 career round-trippers tie him for seventh on the Hogs’ career list with former UA third baseman Eric Hinske, who hit 30 during his three-year career from 1996 to 1998.

THE SCHEDULE

Home series with Southeastern Conference rivals Georgia, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Tennessee and defending national champion LSU highlight the 2001 University of Arkansas baseball schedule.

In addition to the five SEC series, the 30-game home schedule includes a three-game series with Long Beach State Feb. 16-18 to open an eight-game homestand for the Hogs. The Razorbacks will play 28 games away from Baum Stadium, including single games against regional rivals Wichita State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Arkansas and OSU will meet on somewhat neutral territory when they meet April 24 at Drillers Stadium in Tulsa, Okla.

“This is a real classy schedule in terms of the competition we’ll face and the trips we’ll make,” UA head coach Norm DeBriyn said, “especially when you throw in the SEC schedule. If we can do well with this schedule, it should help set us up well for postseason play.”

The Razorbacks will travel to Minneapolis, Minn., to participate in the Hormel Foods Baseball Classic March 2-4. Arkansas will play one game each against Miami (Fla.), San Diego State and host team Minnesota at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, home of the Minnesota Twins.

Arkansas will open its 79th season of baseball and 32nd under DeBriyn when the Razorbacks host Missouri Southern on Feb. 4. The Hogs will open conference play March 9 with a three-game series against 2000 SEC champion South Carolina. UA will also travel to Florida, Auburn, Kentucky and Alabama for three-game series in league play.

For ticket information, contact the Arkansas Athletic Ticket Office at (501) 575-5151 or (800) 982-HOGS.

RAZORBACKS SEEKING RETURN TO POSTSEASON

Arkansas is looking to return to postseason play this year after failing to qualify for the postseason last year for the first time since 1991. After reaching the title game of the Southeastern Conference Tournament in 1998 and 1999, Arkansas did not qualify for last year’s field – their first SEC tourney absence since joining the league in 1992.

The Hogs also hope to make the 15th NCAA postseason appearance in school history and first since playing host to the NCAA Fayetteville Regional in 1999.

FAMILY TIES

The father-son combination of Doug and Cody Clark is not the only family connection involving this year’s Razorback baseball team. Redshirt freshman infielder Brett Hagedorn is the younger brother of former UA infielder and four-year letterman Brad Hagedorn, who concluded his career last season. In addition, true freshman catcher Jason Reynolds is the son of former Razorback catcher Ronn Reynolds. In his two years at UA, the elder Reynolds was a 1979 All-America and All-Southwest Conference selection and earned All-SWC Tournament honors in 1979 and 1980. He helped Arkansas to an NCAA regional appearance both years and was a member of the 1979 squad that made the school’s first appearance in the NCAA College World Series.

HOGS EXCEL IN THE CLASSROOM

While the Razorbacks endured a disappointing year on the field, 1999-2000 saw the Hogs post impressive statistics in the classroom. During the fall 1999 semester, 21 of Arkansas’ 38 baseball-student athletes earned grade-point averages of 3.0 or better. The Hogs followed up that performance by placing nine players on the 2000 Southeastern Conference Baseball Academic Honor Roll. Only South Carolina (12), Florida (10) and LSU (10) placed more student-athletes on the list. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must: (1) have a 3.0 grade-point average for either the past year (two semesters or three quarters) or a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher for his career; (2) be a sophomore or higher in terms of academic classification; and (3) have 24 semester or 36 quarter hours toward a degree.

BAUM STADIUM

The Feb. 4 season opener will mark the start of the Razorbacks’ fifth full season at the $8.9 million Baum Stadium. Named the nation’s best college baseball facility in a 1998 survey by Baseball America magazine, Baum Stadium has permanent seating for 3,300 with a capacity of 7,000. On May 28, 1999, a crowd of 6,631 – the largest ever for a college baseball game in the state of Arkansas – saw the Razorbacks defeat Delaware 10-6 in their first game of the NCAA Fayetteville Regional. Despite Arkansas’ failure to reach the final day of the regional, the seven-game event drew a total of 29,596 patrons to rank fourth in NCAA regional attendance that year. Since the facility opened with Arkansas’ doubleheader sweep of Auburn on April 13, 1996, the Razorbacks have compiled a 95-39 (.709) record in regular season games at Baum Stadium and a 96-41 (.701) mark in all games at the venue.

UA ENDS DISAPPOINTING 2000 SEASON ON POSITIVE NOTE

Despite a 24-30 record in 2000 and its lowest winning percentage (.444) since 1966, Arkansas finished the season with eight wins in its last 11 games. Among those final eight victories were a victory over No. 23 Wichita State and two wins each over Kentucky, No. 1 South Carolina and Ole Miss. Arkansas was one of just four teams (LSU, Florida and Louisiana-Lafayette) to earn two wins over the Gamecocks in 2000.

Unfortunately that late-season run was as good as it got for the 2000 Razorbacks, who endured a school-record 13-game home losing streak and a 17-game losing streak in Southeastern Conference games – the longest in league history.

Arkansas opened its 2000 season with an 18-5 win over MISSOURI SOUTHERN (2/5) that included an 11-run outburst by the Hogs in the first inning. The Hogs followed that win by taking two of three games from SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE (2/11-13) at Baum Stadium. The Hogs prevailed in pitching duels of 4-3 (2/11) and 3-1 (2/12), but fell short with a late rally in an 8-7 loss (2/13). The Hogs went 1-2 at the Arlington Morning News Invitational in Arlington, Texas, on the weekend of Feb. 18-20. LHP Cliff Lee threw a complete game in a 1-0 pitcher’s duel victory over Washington State (2/18). An 8-0 deficit was too much for a late Razorback rally to overcome as the Hogs dropped an 8-5 decision to host Texas-Arlington (2/19). RHP Charlie Isaacson suffered his first collegiate loss as the Hogs fell to Nebraska 13-2 (2/20) in UA’s final game in Arlington.

Arkansas returned to Fayetteville and opened an 11-game homestand with a 7-3 win over OKLAHOMA CITY (2/22) to snap its two-game losing streak. In his first appearance in more than a year, LHP Mike Moriarity started and earned the win over OCU.

The Razorbacks ran into trouble with LONG BEACH STATE (2/25-27) as the 49ers became the first non-conference team ever to sweep a three-game series from the Hogs in Fayetteville. Long Beach State exploited UA bullpen struggles and late-inning errors to win the first and final games in the series, 9-8 (2/25) and 8-6 2/27), with a 16-3 blowout victory in the second game (2/26).

The Hogs got back on track with a two-game sweep of CENTENARY, downing the Gents 7-6 (2/29) in 10 innings in the series opener and exploding for 21-9 (3/1) victory in the finale. Arkansas managed just five hits — none after the fourth inning — in the first win over CENTENARY. The Razorbacks exorcised their frustrations at the plate in the second meeting, dropping four home runs and nine doubles in a 19-hit barrage that was stopped in the eighth inning by the 12-run rule.

UA stretched its winning streak to four games by sweeping a two-game, rain-shortened series from MIAMI (OHIO). The Hogs opened the series with a 15-5 (3/4) win and finished off the RedHawks with a 5-1 win in which Moriarity and Lee combined for a three-hitter. Lee tossed four innings of perfect relief, striking out eight of the 12 batters he faced.

INF Kyle Washburn led Arkansas’ bats in a two-game sweep of SAINT LOUIS. Washburn had three hits in each game as the Hogs defeated the Billikens 7-4 (3/7) and 14-4 (3/8).

C Greg Blum and OF Brian Kirby each hit two home runs in Knoxville, Tenn., to help the Razorbacks open Southeastern Conference play with two wins in a three-game series at then-No. 24 Tennessee. Blum homered and collected career-highs in hits (four) and RBI (four) as the Hogs defeated the Vols 10-5 in the series opener (3/10). Two homers by Kirby and another by Blum helped the Hogs to a 14-5 blasting of the Vols in the second game (3/11). Arkansas’ hopes of sweeping the Vols for the second year in a row vanished with a 14-0 loss in the series finale (3/12). It was the Hogs’ first shutout loss since an 8-0 defeat at Long Beach State (3/7/99). The loss ended UA’s season-best eight-game winning streak and snapped the Hogs’ winning streak against the Volunteers at six. Kirby’s 11-game hitting streak — the longest of his career — and OF/1B Jack Welsh’s nine-game hitting streak came to an end, as well.

Under the direction of head coach Dave Van Horn — a former Arkansas player and graduate assistant coach — NEBRASKA continued its mastery of the Razorbacks this season with a two-game sweep at Baum Stadium. Two Nebraska left-handers making their first starts of the season, LHP Trevor Bullock and LHP Brian Rodaway, held UA bats to just 12 hits and seven runs in two games as the Cornhuskers defeated the Hogs 10-4 (3/14) and 10-3 (3/15).

The Hogs’ woes continued with a three-game home sweep at the hands of AUBURN (3/17-19). Arkansas committed 17 errors in the three game series en route to 11-6, 10-7 and 21-11 wins by the Tigers. The Hogs tied a school record with seven defensive miscues in the series finale and extended their losing streak to six — their longest since 1993.

Arkansas ended its slide with a 10-8 win over 1999 NCAA College World Series participant Oklahoma State (3/21) in Stillwater, Okla. The victory was Arkansas’ first of the season over a 1999 NCAA regional team in 10 tries and ended a streak of four-straight losses to the Cowboys.

UA continued its Spring Break trip with another win over a Big 12 Conference team. This time, the Hogs rallied from a 2-1 deficit after six innings for a 10-3 win at Kansas (3/22).

Arkansas’ return to Baum Stadium was anything but a happy homecoming as SEC rival FLORIDA swept a three-game series from the Razorbacks. The Gators posted a pair of 8-7, extra-inning wins to open the series (3/24, 3/25) and finished the Razorbacks off with a two-out, three-run homer in the top of the ninth for a 7-4 win in the series finale (3/26). The defeat was the Hogs’ eighth in a row at home and kept UA winless in six home SEC games.

OKLAHOMA STATE avenged its home loss of a week earlier with a 2-1 win (3/28) over the Hogs in Fayetteville, despite a three-hitter from the UA pitching staff. OSU scored a run in each of the first two innings and made them hold up, handing the Razorbacks their ninth-consecutive home defeat.

Mississippi State starter Kevin Donovan struck out a career-high 16 batters as No. 11 MSU defeated Arkansas 3-2 (3/31) in the the only game of a rain-shortened Southeastern Conference series.

The next weekend saw No. 10 LSU sweep a three-game SEC series from Arkansas with 12-3 (4/7), 12-5, (4/8) and 17-11 (4/9) victories at Alex Box Stadium. LSU’s first four runs in each of the first two games were unearned. Sunday’s game was halted with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning due to time restrictions imposed by UA’s travel schedule. The Sunday loss was the Hogs’ eighth in a row overall, tying a school record. The defeat extended their league losing skid to 11 games, the longest in school history.

Arkansas broke its eight-game losing streak with a 5-4 win at Oral Roberts (4/11). IF Jeff Fletcher hit a home run to lead off the game and Kirby added a two-run shot later in the contest.

UA’s return to Baum Stadium was marked by three-consecutive narrow defeats as ALABAMA handed the Razorbacks their third three-game SEC series sweep of the season at home with three one-run victories (4/14-16). The Hogs lost the opener 6-5 (4/14) despite out-hitting the Crimson Tide 12-3. ALABAMA won 8-7 (4/15) and 9-8 (4/16) to complete their second sweep of the Hogs in as many years and stretch their winning streak in the series to nine.

ORAL ROBERTS avenged its home loss a week earlier with an 8-4 win (4/18) at Baum Stadium, despite the first grand slam of Washburn’s career. The Golden Eagles out-hit the Hogs 13-5 en route to their fifth-consecutive win while the Razorbacks dropped their fourth in a row and saw their school-record home losing streak reach 13 games.

Even the Razorbacks’ first trip to Athens, Ga., since 1996 could not help the Hogs escape their woes as Georgia and first-year head coach Ron Polk handed UA its fifth sweep in a three-game SEC series on the season. The 10-2 (4/21), 14-8 (4/22) and 15-5 (4/23) UGA wins extended the Hogs’ losing streak to seven and kept Arkansas winless in its last six SEC series.

UA ended its seven-game losing streak and school-record 13-game losing streak at home with an improbable 15-14 win over No. 23 WICHITA STATE (4/25). The Razorbacks scored in each of the final five innings — including two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning — to rally from a 13-3 deficit after 4 1/2 innings. Kirby and Wichita native Welsh had four hits each for the Razorbacks and Welsh crossed the plate with the winning run on wild pitch in the ninth.

After giving up two runs in the bottom of the ninth for a 7-6 (4/28) loss to KENTUCKY that set the school record for losses in a season (28), UA snapped its school-record 18-game losing streak with a 12-10 (4/29) win over the Wildcats in the second game of the series. The win was the Hogs’ first of the season in 11 home SEC games and first in SEC play since a March 11 win at Tennessee. UA never trailed en route to an 8-5 win the series finale (4/30) to complete its first home SEC series victory of the year.

Arkansas extended its winning streak to three games with a 7-2 won over SOUTHWEST MISSOURI STATE (5/2). RHP Matt Riethmaier and Lee combined to strikeout 12 Bears batters — a season high for UA pitching — while holding SMS scoreless for the final eight innings. Lee struck out a career-high nine (five looking) in four innings of relief to earn his first career save.

After dropping the opener of the SOUTH CAROLINA series 8-2 (5/5), the Razorbacks pulled off one of the most unlikely feats in UA baseball history when they won the final two games of the series with the No. 1-ranked Gamecocks. Blum broke a 7-7 tie with a two-run homer in the seventh inning of UA’s 11-10 win in the second game (5/6) as UA became just the fourth team (Florida, Elon and LSU) to defeat USC on the season. The Hogs completed the series victory with a 9-3 win in the series finale (5/7), making Arkansas just the second team (LSU) to beat the Gamecocks twice during the 2000 campaign.

Reduced to the role of spoiler in the race to qualify for the SEC Tournament field, the Razorbacks filled the part in their trip to Ole Miss on the final weekend of the season. With the Hogs and Rebels having split the first two games of the series, Arkansas starter LHP Jared Manatt allowed just one run and scattered six hits to earn the victory as the Razorbacks defeated Ole Miss 8-1 to win the series two games to one. The win gave the Hogs their fifth-consecutive series win over the Rebels.

With two losses to Arkansas and Kentucky’s three-game series sweep at Vanderbilt, the Rebels let the eighth and final spot in the SEC Tournament slip away to the Wildcats while the Hogs used the weekend to lay the groundwork for an improved 2001 campaign.

2001 ROSTER BREAKDOWNS

BY CLASSIFICATION
Freshmen – 14 (10 true, 4 redshirt)
Sophomores – 7
Juniors – 9
Seniors – 6
BY POSITION
Pitchers – 13 (9 right-handed, 4 left-handed)
Catchers – 6
Infielders – 17
Outfielders – 7
BY HOME STATE
Arkansas – 22
Oklahoma – 4
California – 2
Kansas – 2
Louisiana – 1
Minnesota – 1
Missouri – 1
Texas – 1
Washington – 1
Wisconsin – 1
BY PREVIOUS SCHOOL
High School – 26
Junior College – 10



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