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Arkansas Visits No. 17 Wichita State Tuesday

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Arkansas Visits No. 17 Wichita State Tuesday

Series Outlook

Game 26: #13 Arkansas vs. #17 Wichita State

Tuesday, March 28, 7 p.m.

Eck Stadium – Wichita, Kan.

Probable Starting Pitchers

UA: #34 Shaun Seibert, RHP or #32 James Gilbert, LHP

WSU: #25 Kris Johnson, LHP (2-0, 9.00 ERA)

Arkansas Visits No. 17 Wichita State Tuesday

No. 13 Arkansas travels to No. 17 Wichita State on Tuesday, March 28, for a mid-week game with the Shockers at Eck Stadium.

The game will be televised by Cox Sports, which is available on Cox channel 119 in Northwest Arkansas. Mike Nail will handle play-by-play duties with former Arkansas and St. Louis Cardinals great Tom Pagnozzi on color.

The Razorback Baseball Radio Network will carry the game with Rick Schaeffer calling the action. The live audio broadcast will also be available in the RazorZone at Hogwired.com.

It will be the first meeting between the Razorbacks (20-5) and the Shockers (21-5) since the memorable 2004 NCAA Fayetteville Regional. Arkansas knocked off Wichita State twice on Sunday to advance on the the super regional and eventually qualify for the College World Series.

The Hogs are undecided on their starting pitcher for Tuesday night. Wichita State will throw left-hander Kris Johnson. The sophomore is 2-0 on the season with a 9.00 ERA in nine innings of work. He has allowed 17 hits and nine earned runs while striking out six and walking two. Opponents are hitting .447.

Arkansas is coming off of a dramatic 5-4 win in 10 innings on Sunday over No. 25 Georgia at Baum Stadium to salvage the final game of the SEC series. Wichita State is also coming off of a disappointing weekend after losing two-of-three games at home to Southern Illinois during the opening weekend of play in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Arkansas leads the all-time series 28-27 dating back to the 1906 season. The Hogs hold a 3-2 edge in the series since Dave Van Horn return to his alma mater in 2003.

Arkansas is hitting .302 as a team and scoring 7.1 runs per contest while the pitching staff boasts a 2.78 ERA with opponents hitting just .225. The Shockers enter the series scoring 7.2 runs per game with a .323 batting average. The WSU pitching staff has a 2.84 team ERA with opponents batting .226. The Wichita State staff strikes out 6.7 batters per game while issuing 2.3 walks.

Scouting the Shockers

Wichita State enters the game with a 21-5 record after losing two-of-three games to Southern Illinois at home last weekend on the first weekend of Missouri Valley Conference play. The Shockers are 4-0 against top-25 competition this season with wins at then-No. 25 Oklahoma (12-2) and a sweep of then-No. 21 Long Beach State in Long Beach. WSU’s only loss to a ranked opponent was a 6-3 loss at then-No. 29 Kansas State on March 14.

Wichita State head coach Gene Stephenson is in his 29th season at the school after first taking the Oklahoma job this past summer and then returning to the Shockers a day later.

WSU is hitting an impressive .323 as a team while scoring 7.2 runs per game. Damon Sublett leads the team with a .435 batting average and five home runs. Tyler Hill leads the Wheat Shockers in RBI with 28 to go along with his .379 batting average.

Wichita State is one of the best base-stealing teams in the country with 68 swipes on 82 attempts. Kenny Waddell leads the team with 19 stolen bases while Josh Workman as stolen 16 and Sublett as pilfered 11.

The Shockers pitching staff boasts an impressive 2.84 ERA and a .226 opponent batting average. Wichita State will send its mid-week starter LHP Kris Johnson to the hill on Tuesday for his fifth start. He is 2-0 with a 9.00 ERA this season. Johnson has allowed nine runs on 17 hits in nine innings of work. Opponents are hitting .447 off the left-hander who has stuck out six and walked two.

Sublett also handles the closing duties for WSU. He has five saves on the year and has not allowed a run in 7.1 innings of work. Opponents are hitting just .087 on the season.

The Razorback/Shocker Series:

Arkansas owns a slim 28-27 edge in the all-time series. Records prior to 1960 were compiled using the Wichita State media guide. The series dates back to 1906 when WSU beat Arkansas, 7-6 in Fayetteville.

The Razorbacks are 22-6 against WSU in Fayetteville, while the Shockers have had just as much success in Wichita with a 18-6 edge in the series. Arkansas last trip to Wichita on April 22, 2003, resulted in a 6-5 Wichita State win.

The Razorbacks and Shockers have met six times in NCAA regional play with both teams winning three games. The two teams also met twice at the 1989 College World Series with WSU knocking Arkansas out of the tournament on their way to the national championship. The Hogs had beaten WSU in Fayetteville, 5-1, earlier in the season, but dropped both games in Omaha by scores of 3-1 and 8-4.

A Look at the Razorbacks’ Rotation

Tuesday – TBA – There are several candidates to start on Tuesday against Wichita State. Arkansas has left-hander James Gilbert available along with right-handers Lee Land and Shaun Seibert.

Tough to Beat Out of Conference

The Razorbacks have been nearly unbeatable in non-conference action in head coach Dave Van Horn’s four-year tenure and even tougher over the past two seasons. Arkansas is 80-12 (.870) in regular-season non-conference games since Van Horn arrived in 2003 and 42-2 (.955) since the beginning of the 2005 season.

Arkansas has been even better at home with a 50-3 mark in non-conference games since 2003 and 21-0 at home in non-conference game since the start of 2005. The Hogs have won 23 straight non-conference games at Baum Stadium dating back to a 6-4 loss to Oral Roberts on April 13, 2004.

Razorback Notebook

• The Hogs’ training room looked like a MASH unit this week. Ben Tschepikow and James Ewing left the chores at second base up to Stephen Robison and freshman Logan Forsythe last week. Tschepikow is out indefinitely with back problems

• Friday the UA staff found out Ewing, who was leading the team in hitting at .382, has a stress fracture in his foot and will miss at least three weeks.

• Arkansas easily dispatched of Centenary in the mid-week with 10-2 and 8-4 wins.

• Craig Gentry hit .429 last week with his first home run while posting a .619 on-base percentage

• Freshman Wayne Hrozek batted .467 in four starts with six RBI and a .500 on-base percentage.

• Chris Hollensworth connected for his first home run of the season to go along with two doubles while batting .467. He now has 12 doubles on the season.

• LHP pitcher Nick Schmidt took the hill on Friday night (March 24) and set a new career high with 13 strikeouts in just seven innings. The 13 strikeouts were the most by a Arkansas pitcher since David Walling struck out 14 against South Carolina on May 16, 1999. He has fanned 24 batters over this last two starts – both UA losses. Schmidt received no run support on Friday as the Razorbacks managed just two hits off UGA hurler Brooks Brown.

• Danny Hamblin connected for the first grand slam of his career on Saturday. Hamblin drove in seven runs last week to give him a SEC-best 36 on the season. He is just 13 shy of his career best of 49 he set as a sophomore.

• Charley Boyce pitched five inning on Saturday (March 25) to earn a no decision. He moved within 5.2 innings of the all-time Arkansas innings pitched record of 368 set by Scott Tabor. Boyce also struck out four UGA batters to tied Charlie Isaacson for sixth place all time with 219 Ks.

• Chris Rhoads took the loss, on Saturday making one mistake that turned out to be the difference in the ballgame. But he pitching well, allowing just two unearned runs on one hit over four innings.

• Trey Holloway was outstanding in his second start in as many weeks on Sunday (March 26). He allowed just four Bulldog hits in a career-best seven innings of work. Another late-inning error allowed Georgia to tie it up in the ninth and cost Holloway the decision.

• Brian Walker’s one-out double in the 10th inning proved to be the difference on Sunday as pinch-runner Clint Arnold raced home with the winning run on a wild pitch

• Walker broke out of a 0-for-23 slump on Sunday against the Dogs with two doubles … the first was a RBI double in the eighth inning

• Jake Dugger also snapped a 1-for-17 skid with two hits Sunday.

Road Warriors

The Razorbacks have bucked the trend in the SEC and hit the road throughout the 2006 non-conference slate. Arkansas, who travels to No. 13 Wichita State on Tuesday, has played 14 of its 25 games on the road this season. The Hogs are 11-3 away from home this season, 4-2 in true road games and 7-1 in neutral site games way from Baum Stadium.

Schmidt Becoming Household Name

Sophomore left-hander Nick Schmidt is quickly becoming a household name in college baseball. The St. Louis native, had the country buzzing after opening the season with 13.2 hitless innings that included a combined no-hitter against traditional-power Oklahoma State.

Schmidt has allowed just 23 hits and nine earned runs in 44.1 innings of work this season. That translates to a 1.83 ERA and a .189 opponent batting average. He has 56 strikeouts, including three double-digit strikeout performances (10 vs. La. Tech, 11 at Florida & 13 vs. Georgia).

His 13 strikeout performance against Georgia was a career best and the most by a Arkansas pitcher since Denny Walling fanned 14 against South Carolina on May 16, 1999.

Hamblin Scorching

Razorbacks’ junior first baseman Danny Hamblin is on a tear of late to take over the SEC lead in RBI with 36. Hamblin is hitting .327 on the season and leading the Hogs with seven home runs, a .602 slugging percentage and a SEC-best five sacrifice flies.

Hamblin had a 14-game hitting streak this season and has hit in 19-of-25 games. He has also recorded an RBI in 19-of-25 games this season. Hamblin leads the team in multiple-RBI games with 12 and is second in multiple-hit games with eight.

Ewing X2

Arkansas’ James Ewing in not the only freshman named Ewing to be making a splash on the college baseball scene in his rookie campaign. James has an identical-twin brother, Michael, who is starting at first base for the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.

James, UA’s starting second baseman, is leading the Hogs in hitting with a .382 batting average while driving in 10 runs and collecting three doubles.

Michael is hitting .307 for Southern Miss with two home runs and 12 RBI in 20 starts.

James is out until at the very least the Vanderbilt series with a stress fracture in his foot.

OPS Becoming Telling Stat

OPS or on-base percentage plus slugging percentage has become a popular way of better using statistics to identify a players true productivity at the plate. The following is a quick look at Arkansas’ top hitters according to OPS.

Player Slugging % On-Base % OPS

Craig Gentry .667 .500 1.167

Chris Hollensworth .587 .465 1.049

Danny Hamblin .602 .393 .995

Jake Dugger .506 .440 .946

James Ewing .436 .485 .921

Stephen Robison .455 .429 .884

Matt Willard .435 .444 .879

Boyce Looking for Career Win No. 30

Arkansas senior right-hander Charley Boyce will be looking to become only the second Razorback pitcher in school history to record 30 win over a career. Scott Tabor (1979-82), the school’s all-time wins leader with 34, is the only other Hog to accomplish the feat.

Boyce has a career record of 29-18 and a 2-0 mark this season. He posted six wins in 2003, 10 wins in 2004 and 11 wins as a junior last season.

Newcomers Shining for Hogs

Several newcomers have stepped into the everyday lineup and pitching rotation to help Arkansas open with a 20-5 record.

James Ewing, a true freshman from Beaumont, Texas, has flourished early in his Razorback career. He is leading the team with a .382 batting average. Ewing has won the everyday job at second base. He has three doubles and 10 RBI. He will miss the next several weeks with a fractured foot.

Redshirt freshman Matt Willard made the most of his redshirt season and has come out smoking in year two. The Newtown, Pa., native is hitting .355 with two doubles, a home run and eight RBI. With the loss of John Henry Marquardt, Willard is now the Hogs’ starting shortstop.

David Hum and Wayne Hrozek have shared the DH duties in 2006. Hum has 10 starts and a .244 batting average while Hrozek is hitting .368.

Junior college transfer Chris Rhoads has thrown quality innings for the Hogs’ as a starter early in the season and now out of the bullpen. The right-hander is 3-2 with a 2.57 ERA and one save in 28 innings of work.

Logan Forsythe had his redshirt pulled this past week, starting all five of the Hogs’ games. He hit .278 (5 for 18) with a double and a walk.

Gentry Sparking the Hogs’ Offense

Arkansas center fielder Craig Gentry returned to the Razorbacks’ lineup March 10 against Cal State Northridge. The senior had missed eight starts with a broken hand. Since that time Gentry has been on fire with a .421 batting average, six doubles, a triple, a home run and six RBI. He has swiped seven bases and laid down three sacrifice bunts.

Arkansas Running Wild Again This Season

Dave Van Horn’s Razorbacks are up to their old tricks again this season. Arkansas has swiped 47 bases in 68 attempts for an average of 1.88 per contest. UA was second in the SEC a year ago with 108 stolen bases after leading the league in 2004 with 112 pilfers. The school record for stolen bases in a season is 155 set in 1983. The Hogs would need to average 2.77 stolen bases per game in a 56-game regular season to surpass the 1983 club.

Boyce Climbing Up Arkansas’ Record Books

Charley Boyce is climbing up the Arkansas record books each time he takes the field. The senior from Broken Arrow, Okla., is the school’s all-time leader in career starts with 52.

He is just 5.2 innings shy of Scott Tabor’s school record of 368 innings pitched. Boyce has thrown 362.1 innings in his Razorback career. Boyce is second in career victories (29) and third in career appearances (754). He is also tied for ninth in career strikeouts with 219.

His sophomore and junior seasons also rank as some of the best in school history. Boyce’s 11 wins last season are tied for the third-most in a single season, while his 10 victories in 2004 are tied for eighth. His 19 starts in 2004 are tied for the most in school history. Boyce’s 122.1 innings in 2005 are the second-most in a single season in school history, while his 115.1 innings in 2004 rank eighth.

Collis & Maday Handling Closer Duties

Senior left-hander Devin Collis and right-hander Daryl Maday have provided an effective 1-2 punch closing out games for the Razorbacks.

Collis quickly took hold of the role as the Hogs’ closer. The St. Charles, Mo., native has four saves and a 2.35 ERA, nine strikeouts and three walks in 15.1 innings.

Maday earned the first save of his career in the season opener against George Mason. The Bristol, Wis., native served as a setup man for several weeks before beginning to share the closers role with Collis. Maday also has five saves this season after saving the Hogs’ 3-2 win at Florida on March 18. He has a 1.74 ERA in 10.1 innings this season.

Download: Wichita State Release.pdf



Sports Category : Baseball