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Diamond Hogs Head South for Showdown with LSU

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Diamond Hogs Head South for Showdown with LSU

Series Outlook

Game 43: #11 Arkansas at #29 LSU (COX Sports)

Friday, April 28, 6:37 p.m. – Alex Box Stadium

Probable Starting Pitchers

UA: 33 Nick Schmidt, LHP (7-2, 2.18 ERA)

LSU: 29 Louis Coleman, RHP (4-3, 4.58 ERA)

Game 44: #11 Arkansas at #29 LSU (RazorZone)

Saturday, April 29, 2 p.m. – Alex Box Stadium

Probable Starting Pitchers

UA: 7 Trey Holloway, LHP (4-0, 4.40 ERA)

LSU: 13 Clay Dirks, LHP (3-4, 5.26 ERA)

Game 45: #11 Arkansas at #29 LSU (COX Sports)

Sunday, April 30, 1:07 p.m. – Alex Box Stadium

Probable Starting Pitchers

UA: 34 Shaun Seibert, RHP (3-0, 2.47 ERA)

LSU: TBA

Diamond Hogs Head South for Showdown with LSU

No. 11 Arkansas travels to Baton Rouge, La., this weekend for a three-game SEC series at Alex Box Stadium against LSU. Game times are set for 6:37 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1:07 p.m. Sunday.

The Razorback Baseball Radio Network will carry the game with Chuck Barrett calling the action. The live audio broadcast of all three games and a live video webcast on Saturday will also be available in the RazorZone at Hogwired.com. Live stats can also be found on Hogwired.com.

The Friday and Sunday games can be seen on COX Sports (Ch. 119 in NW Arkansas).

The Razorbacks (30-12, 10-8) enter the series having won four straight SEC series and two straight on the road. The Tigers (27-16, 6-12) were swept by Ole Miss in Oxford last weekend.

Hogs’ ace Nick Schmidt takes the hill on Friday looking for his eighth win of the season. The left-hander is 7-2 with 2.18 ERA and 91 strikeouts. LSU will counter with right-hander Louis Coleman. He is 4-3 on the season with a 4.58 ERA in 55 innings.

Saturday will pit Arkansas senior lefty Trey Holloway aganist the Tigers’ left-hander Clay Dirks. Holloway is coming off of his roughest outing of the year, a no decision at Mississippi State. He has a 4-0 record and a 4.40 ERA in 45 innings. Dirks, who threw a complete-game, three-hit shutout against the Razorbacks last season in Fayetteville, is 3-4 on the year with a 5.26 ERA.

Shaun Seibert will make his third straight Sunday SEC start in the series finale. He is 3-0 on the year with a 2.47 ERA in 40 innings of work. LSU is undecided on a starting pitcher for Sunday.

LSU leads the all-time series with the Hogs 39-18 after sweeping the Hogs in Fayetteville last season. LSU leads the series in Baton Rouge 21-7, but the Razorbacks last trip resulted in an Arkansas sweep.

Arkansas is hitting .288 as a team and scoring 6.5 runs per contest while the pitching staff boasts the second-best ERA in the league at 3.52 ERA with opponents hitting just .241. LSU enters the series with a .299 batting average and scoring 6.2 runs per game. The Tigers’ pitching staff has a 4.70-team ERA with opponents hitting .279.

Scouting the Tigers

LSU enters the weekend series with a 27-16 overall record and a 6-12 mark in SEC action. The Tigers are currently in sixth place in the SEC’s Western Divison. LSU is coached by Smoke Laval, who is in his sixth year at the helm of storied Tiger program.

The Tigers once again feature a potent lineup, scoring 6.2 runs per game and hitting .299 as a team. Quinn Stewart provides the power in the LSU lineup with a SEC-best 19 home runs and 49 RBI, while batting .329. Matt Liuzza leads the club in hitting with a .349 average while J.T. Wise is close behind with a 348 mark and 33 RBI.

The LSU pitching staff boasts a 4.70 ERA while opponents are hitting .279. Derik Olvey has proven to be the Tigers’ top hurler with a 3.50 ERA and a 6-2 record in 69.1 innings. Louis Coleman has been pitching out of the Friday-night spot in the rotation ans has a 4-3 record and a 4.58 ERA. Clay Dirks is slated to start on Saturday for LSU. He is 3-4 on the year with a 5.26 ERA in 53 innings of work. Dirks tossed a complete-game three-hitter at the Hogs last season.

The Series: LSU leads the all-time series with the Hogs 39-18 after sweeping the Hogs in Fayetteville last season. LSU leads the series in Baton Rouge 21-7, but the Razorbacks last trip resulted in an Arkansas sweep.

A Look at the Razorbacks’ Rotation

Friday – Nick Schmidt, LHP (7-2, 2.18 ERA) – Schmidt contiunes to roll along, picking up his seventh win of the season last week at Mississippi State. The big left-hander allowed just one run on eight hits while striking out eight. He won his sixth game of the season at Vanderbilt, working eight innings. Schmidt struck out 10 against the Commodores for his fourth straight double-digit strike out performance. He had tossed his first complete game of the year the week prior against Tennessee and struck out 11. He has five wins over ranked opponents this season (TCU, Hawai’i, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State). Schmidt didn’t allow a hit until his third start of the season against Louisiana Tech on Feb. 24 in the second game of a doubleheader with the Bulldogs. He tossed 13.2 hitless innings to open the season. Opposing hitters are now hitting .198 off Schmidt this season in 74.1 innings.

Saturday – Trey Holloway, LHP (4-0, 4.40 ERA) – Holloway ran into his first real trouble of the season in a 2.2-inning outing at Mississippi State last week. He will look to regain his pin-point location this weekend in Baton Rouge. Holloway had been solid in his SEC starts this season. He is 4-0 on the year overall and 3-0 in SEC games. The left-hander won his fourth game of the season with a career-best 7.1 innings against Kentucky. He threw a then-career-high seven innings against the Georgia on March 26, allowing just one run on four hits. He made his first start in almost two years on short notice against Florida on Saturday, March 18. Holloway earned a 3-2 win over No. 13 Gators.

Sunday – Shaun Seibert (3-0, 2.47 ERA) – Seibert will make his sixth start of the season on Sunday. He is coming off of an outstanding start at Mississippi State last Sunday. He worked six innings, allowing just two run on six hits, while striking out three and not issuing a walk. Seibert was even better in a five-inning start at Missouri State on Tuesday, April 11. Seibert allowed just one unearned run on three hits while striking out five. The sophomore from Edwardsville, Ill., is 3-0 on the season with a 2.47 ERA. He has made 12 appearances this season and pitched 40 innings with 42 strikeouts and just nine walks. Seibert made starts against Louisiana Tech and Texas-Arlington in Hawai’i. He did not allow a run to Louisiana Tech and just two runs to UTA. He pitched five innings in both starts.

Hogs Battling Injuries Once Again

The Hogs’ training room has looked like a MASH unit over the past couple of weeks. Starting shortstop John Henry Marquardt, starting second baseman Ben Tschepikow, right-handed relievers Josh Smith and Justin White have alreay been lost for the season. White’s injuries have actually forced him to quit baseball all together.

Freshman James Ewing stepped in for Tschepikow and was quietly becoming one of Arkansas’ best hitters before breaking his foot and missing four weeks. He played as a reserve last Sunday and is finally expected to be back in the lineup at LSU.

Center fielder Craig Gentry missed 10 games eariler in the season and then went down again prior to the Mississippi State series with an infection in his right knee. He is steadily improving, but is still listed as day-to-day and questionable for this weekend’s series with the Tigers.

Chris Hollensworth and Logan Forsythe return to the Razorbacks’ lineup after missing the entire MSU series with food poising.

Leading Off

• The Razorbacks have not scored a run off LSU pitching in 23 straight innings. UA pushed a run across in the fourth inning of the Friday night game last season and did not score again the rest of the weekend.

• Arkansas’ mid-week game with ORU was postponed due to rain. A make-up date has not been confirmed, but the two teams are looking to play the game in Fayetteville next Wednesday, May 3.

• The series win over Mississippi State was the first series win for Arkansas in Starkville since 1998 and the first series win of any kind over the Bulldogs since 1999.

• Arkansas improved to 30-12 overall and 10-8 in SEC play. UA is tied for second place in the SEC West.

• The Hogs’ pitching staff has the second-best ERA in the SEC at 3.52.

• Nick Schmidt improved to 7-2 in the first game Saturday, pitching seven innings and allowing just one run. He struck out eight to give him a new single-season high in strikeouts with 91 in 74.1 innings. Schmidt fanned 89 in 99.2 innings last season

• Schmidt has a 2.18 ERA and a .198 opponent batting average in 2006. His 2.18 ERA ranks third in the league, while his 91 strikeouts are second.

• Criag Gentry and Danny Hamblin are both tied for sixth in league play with 12 stolen bases.

• Shaun Seibert got his first conference win of the season on Sunday, working a season-high six innings. He allowed two runs on six hits and did not walk a batter on 70 pitches

• Clint Arnold made the most of his five starts last week, hitting .556 (10 for 18) with two doubles, a home run and three RBI. He scored four runs, drew three walks and only struck out once. Arnold was even better against Mississippi State, hitting .583 (7 for 12), including a 4-for-5 performance on Sunday in the Hogs’ 6-4 win. It was his second four-hit game of the season.

• Charley Boyce became the school’s all-time leader in innings pitched on Wednesday against Northern Colorado. He has pitched 368.2 innings in his four-year Arkansas’ career.

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 53 hits and 18 earned runs in 74.2 innings of work this season. That translates to a 2.18 ERA and a .198 opponent batting average. He has a career-best 91 strikeouts, including a string of four straight double-digit strikeout performances and five overall this season.

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.

Schmidt Sets Single-Season Career High for Ks

Nick Schmidt set a new career high for strikeouts in a season last weekend at Mississippi State. The left-hander fanned eight over seven innings to give him 91 for the season. Schmidt struck out 89 batters as a freshman in 99.2 innings of work; he has pitched 74.1 this season.

He is averaging 11.02 Ks per nine innings, which ranks second in the SEC and 22nd in the nation. His 91 strikeouts are also second in the league.

Schmidt enters Friday night’s game at LSU tied with Alan Mahaffey for eighth in single-season strikeouts in school history. He needs three Ks to pass Mike Oquist’s seventh-place mark of 93 set in 1999 and seven strikeouts to pass sixth place Charlie Isaacson’s 97 in 1999.

Fond Memories of 2004 Sweep in Baton Rouge

It will be Arkansas first trip to Baton Rouge since its memorable sweep of LSU in 2004. The Razorbacks entered that series with a 4-21 record all time at Alex Box Stadium and left with three straight wins. The Hogs had single wins in Baton Rouge in 1960, 1986, 1994 and 1996 prior to the sweep in 2004. LSU has swept the Hogs in ‘The Box’ five times, including 1963, 1992, 1998, 2000 and 2002

Hamblin Putting Together Banner Year

Arkansas junior first baseman Danny Hamblin is putting together one of the most complete seasons in the SEC. He is tied for the league-RBI lead with 55 runs batted in. Hamblin also ranks fourth in home runs (12) and sixth in total bases (96). The slugging first baseman now has 18 multiple-RBI games this season.

His RBI total ranks 17th nationally and his home runs are the 36th most. Hamblin’s 12 home runs and 55 RBI are also new career highs.

Hollensworth Doubles Up

Senior Chris Hollensworth has become a doubles machine in his final season in a Razorback uniform. The El Dorado, Ark., native has 17 doubles in 37 games this season for an SEC-best .46 per game. That also ranks as the ninth-most per game in the NCAA. Hollensworth is hitting .352 for the season with 16 RBI and a .455 on-base percentage that ranks eighth in the league.

Collis Closing the Door

Senior Devin Collis never did get comfortable on the mound for Arkansas last season. All of that has changed in 2006, the St. Charles, Mo., native is tied for the second-most saves in the SEC with seven, including three in conference action. Collis has an impressive 1.95 ERA to go along with a 5-0 record in 27.2 innings of work.

Arkansas’ Keys to Winning

There have been two factors that have proven to be tell-tale signs of Razorback wins in 2006 – scoring first and getting at least five innings out of their starting pitcher. Arkansas is 20-3 when they score first and 22-4 when its starting pitcher throws at least five innings.

Hogs at Their Best Against the Best

The Hogs have a SEC-best 13-8 record against teams ranked in the top-25 this season. The 13 wins against the top 25 is two more than No. 6 Alabama at 11. Only Kentucky has double-digit top-25 wins in the SEC East.

Bullpen Getting it Done When it Counts

The much questioned Arkansas bullpen is quietly getting things done, even if it stops the hearts of many Hog fans in the process. It may not always be pretty, but the Razorbacks are now 28-1 when leading after seven innings and 26-1 when leading after eight innings. UA’s only loss in the ninth inning came on Saturday, April 23, in the second game of a doubleheader at Mississippi State when Brian LaNinfa hit a one-out walk-off home run.

Road Warriors

The Razorbacks bucked the trend in the SEC and hit the road throughout the 2006 non-conference slate. That approaced has paid off for Arkansas in league play, who has a 16-6 record away from home. UA has played 22 of its 42 games on the road this season. The Hogs are 9-5 in true road games and 7-1 in neutral site games way from Baum Stadium.

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 .564 .459 1.023

Chris Hollensworth .557 .455 1.012

Jake Dugger .595 .441 .986

James Ewing .429 .478 .977

Danny Hamblin .578 .393 .971

Newcomers Shining for Hogs

Several newcomers have stepped into the everyday lineup and pitching rotation to help Arkansas open with a 28-11 record.

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 .307 with three doubles, a home run and 16 RBI.

David Hum and Wayne Hrozek have shared the DH duties in 2006. Hum has 20 starts and a .269 batting average while Hrozek is hitting .311 in 18 starts.

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 3.38 ERA and three saves in 40.0 innings of work.

Logan Forsythe had his redshirt pulled in late March and has started 18 of the last 19 games. He is hitting .161 (10 for 62) with three home runs, four RBI, a double and seven walks.

James Ewing, a true freshman from Beaumont, Texas, has flourished early in his Razorback career. He is leading the team with a .375 batting average. Ewing has won the everyday job at second base. He has three doubles and 10 RBI. Ewing is slated to return to the Hogs’ lineup this week against ORU and LSU.

Freshman relievers Brett Bollman and Micheal Wild have also provided productive outings with new arm slots. Bollman is 0-2 with a .5-40 ERA, but the coaching staff is loves the movement on his pitches. Wild does not have a decison, but has thrown 7.2 innings.

Hog Bats Sluggish on SEC-Friday Nights

Arkansas has struggled at the plate on Friday nights during SEC play this season. The Razorbacks’ lineup is batting an anemic .187 while averaging just 4.0 runs per game. That stretch includes losses to Florida (6-3), Georgia (2-0) and Vanderbilt (7-1). The Hogs best Friday nights of the season came against Tennessee (6-1 win) and Kentucky (10-9 win). Vanderbilt’s David Price baffled the Razorbacks’ lineup two weeks ago. Considered the best pitcher in the country, Price held Arkansas to three hits over eight innings and struck out 17.

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 54.

He passed Scott Tabor’s school record of 368 innings pitched on Wednesday night with 2.1 innings against Northern Colorado. Boyce has thrown 368.2 innings in his Razorback career. Boyce is second in career victories (29) and third in career appearances (80). He is also tied for sixth 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.

Gentry Sparking the Hogs’ Offense

Arkansas senior center fielder Craig Gentry has been one of the most reliable bats in the Hog’s lineup this season. He is hitting a team-best .355 with three home runs, eight doubles and 16 RBI. He also boasts the Hogs’ best average in SEC play at .379. Gentry missed 10 starts earlier in the season with a broken hand. Hit two home runs against Tennessee, including a walk-off two-run shot on April 2. He is also tied for the team lead and tied for fifth in the SEC with 12 stolen bases.

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 .375 batting average while driving in 10 runs and collecting three doubles.

Arkansas Running Wild Again This Season

Dave Van Horn’s Razorbacks are up to their old tricks again this season. Arkansas has swiped 61 bases in 86 attempts for an average of 1.45 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.

The Combined No-Hitter

Nick Schmidt, Brian McLelland and Devin Collis combined for the 12th no-hitter in Arkansas history on Saturday, Feb. 11, against Oklahoma State in the Jaguar Invitational in Mobile, Ala.

Schmidt threw the first six innings before McLelland came on to hold OSU hitless for a frame. Collis carved up the Cowboys over the final two innings. It marked the first time in 71-recorded years of OSU baseball that the Cowboys had been held hitless in a nine-inning game.

The no-hitter was the first for Arkansas since Scott Roehl’s no-no against Kansas State on March 20, 2001, in Shreveport, La. It was the first combined no-hitter since Brian Cook and Brian Dennison teamed up to hold Evangel without a hit on April 2, 1991.

RazorZone to Feature Live Webcast

Saturday’s game with No. 29 LSU will be webcast live in the RazorZone. The LSU video board feed will be streamed live in the RazorZone at Hogwired.com. The Friday and Sunday games are being televised by COX Sports and will be available in the RazorZone as a replay. All of the Hogs remaining home games will be streamed live in the RazorZone. The RazorZone is a subscription package ($9.95 a month) through Hogwired.com that features live audio, video and special features of Razorback athletics.

Live Stats on Hogwired.com

New and improved live stats for Razorback baseball games are available to everyone on Hogwired.com this season. Up-to-the-minute scoring, boxscores and play-by-plays can be found under the ‘Live Stats’ link on the left side of the Hogwired.com homepage. Once in the live stats page click on the camera icon next to the event you want to follow.

Hogs Post 3.15-Team GPA During Fall Semester

The Arkansas baseball team proved they were truly student-athletes during the 2005 fall semester with an impressive 3.15-team grade point average.

The 3.15-team GPA was the highest of any male team on campus with 26 of 41 players earning a 3.0 or better GPA. Razorback position players compiled a 3.27 GPA, while the pitching staff put together a 3.0 GPA during the fall.

Senior right-handed pitcher Charley Boyce and former shortstop Scott Hode received their degrees in December, while Trey Holloway and Josh Smith are scheduled to graduate in May.

Two Hogs, freshmen Taylor Ardoin and Brad Secrist, earned perfect 4.0 GPAs during the fall. Eleven Razorbacks posted GPAs of 3.5 or better during the fall, including Brian Walker (3.91), Thomas Hauskey (3.86), Lee Land (3.83), Brandon Barr (3.83), Brian McLelland (3.82), Hunter London (3.75), Trey Holloway (3.69), Jake Dugger (3.60), Shaun Seibert (3.60), James Ewing (3.60) and Danny Hamblin (3.53).

Razorbacks Pick Captains for 2005

The Razorbacks selected their 2006 captains by a vote of the team prior to the start of the season. Senior pitcher Charley Boyce, junior first baseman Danny Hamblin and sophomore catcher Brian Walker were chosen to represent the Razorbacks this season.

Player Number Corrections From Media Guide

There are a few numbers changes from your 2006 Arkansas baseball media guide. The new numbers are reflected on the roster page on page seven of this notes package. The corrected numbers are #30 Chris Rhoads, #37 Tommy McClain, #40 Brett Bollman, #43 Hunter London and #44 Brad Secrist.

Download: LSU Release.pdf



Sports Category : Baseball