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Diamond Hogs Open SEC Play at No. 15 Florida

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Diamond Hogs Open SEC Play at No. 15 Florida

Series Outlook

Game 18: #10 Arkansas vs. #15 Florida

Fri., March 17, 5:30 p.m. – McKethan Stadium

Probable Starting Pitchers

UA: 33 Nick Schmidt, LHP (4-0, 1.47 ERA)

UF: 44 Bryan Ball, RHP (3-2, 3.99 ERA)

Game 19: #10 Arkansas vs. #15 Florida

Sat., March 18, 3 p.m. – McKethan Stadium

Probable Starting Pitchers

UA: 45 Charley Boyce, RHP (2-0, 3.92 ERA)

UF: 21 Bryan Augenstein, RHP (5-0, 1.37 ERA)

Game 20: #10 Arkansas vs. #15 Florida

Sun., March 19, 11 a.m. – McKethan Stadium

Probable Starting Pitchers

UA: 7 Trey Holloway, LHP (1-0, 3.29 ERA)

UF: 33 J.K. LaCoste, LHP (2-1, 1.20 ERA)

Arkansas Opens SEC Play at No. 15 Florida

No. 10 Arkansas spent most of the 2006 non-conference slate on the road. Razorbacks’ head coach Dave Van Horn wanted his team ready when they opened Southeastern Conference play the third weekend in March at defending SEC champion and national runner-up Florida.

All three games can be heard on the Razorback Baseball Radio Network or over the internet on the RazorZone with Chuck Barrett calling the action.

The Gators (15-6) are ranked 15th nationally by Baseball America and have won six straight games. Florida returns the majority of its offense from last year’s team that lost to Texas in the College World Series finals.

UF will send right-hander Bryan Ball to the hill on Friday opposite the Razorbacks’ All-America candidate LHP Nick Schmidt. Schmidt is 4-0 on the season with a 1.47 ERA. Ball is 3-2 with a 3.99 ERA.

Saturday’s contest will feature Florida’s ace Bryan Augenstein. The right-handed Augenstein is 5-0 on the season with a 1.37 ERA in 39.1 innings of work. He has struck out 41 and walked just two. Veteran right-hander Charley Boyce will take the mound for Arkansas. Boyce is 2-0 on the season with a 3.92 ERA. He has been at his best over his last two starts (both wins) with a 2.19 ERA in 12.1 innings.

Trey Holloway will get his first start in almost two years on Sunday. The left-hander from Booneville, Ark., has not started since May 9, 2004 at Ole Miss. Holloway is 1-0 on the season out of the bullpen. He has thrown 13.2 innings over six appearances. Freshman LHP J.K. La Coste is expected to get the start for the Gators on Sunday.

Florida owns a 16-10 edge in the all-time series. Arkansas split four games with the Gators last season. The Hogs won the conference series in early May at Baum Stadium, winning the first two games behind strong outings from Schmidt and Boyce. UF won the series finale in a wild 11-10 affair. UF then battled back against the UA bullpen at the SEC Tournament to overcome an 8-2 eighth-inning deficit to beat the Hogs 9-8. Florida won two-of-three game in Gainesville in 2004.

Scouting the Gators

Florida enters the opening weekend of conference play with a 15-6 record, a six-game winning streak and a No. 15 national ranking. The Gators are 3-2 against top 25 competition this season with a sweep of then-No. 16 Miami and losses to then-No. 12 Missouri and No. 8 Florida State. All five of UF’s games against top 25 competition this season were played in Gainesville. Florida is coming off of a SEC championship and a runner-up finish at the College World Series last season. UF was the conference coaches’ preseason selection to win the eastern division and capture the overall SEC crown.

The Gators have relied on a solid pitching staff and good defense early in 2006. Florida boasts a 3.00 team ERA and a .259 opponent batting average. The UF staff is striking out 6.8 batters per nine innings while issuing only 2.3 walks per game. Bryan Augenstein, the Gators’ ace and Saturday starter, leads the way with a 5-0 record and a 1.37 ERA in 39.1 innings of work. He has allowed just six earned runs all season and has a fanned 41 while walking only two. Darren O’Day, a side-winding right-hander is UF’s top reliever. He is 1-0 with a 1.37 ERA in 19.2 innings of work and three saves.

Offensively, Florida has a .263 batting average but is scoring 7.2 runs per game. The Gators are missing their preseason SEC Player of the Year Matt LaPorta, who has been sidelined for almost three weeks due to injury. He is expected to return to the lineup against Arkansas this weekend. Brian Leclerc is leading UF with a .33 batting average while catcher Brian Jeroloman has driven in 20 runs.

A Look at the Razorbacks’ Rotation

Friday – Nick Schmidt, LHP (4-0, 1.47 ERA) – Schmidt is looking to rebound after his first rough outing of the season against Cal State Northridge on March 10. He picked up a no decision against the Matadors and is 4-0 on the season after holding then-No. 24 Hawai’i to two hits over seven innings in his previous start. He allowed his first three hits of the 2006 season against Louisiana Tech in the second game of a doubleheader with the Bulldogs on Friday, Feb. 24 after 13.2 hitless innings to open the season. Opposing hitters are now hitting .101 off Schmidt this season in 29.2 innings. Schmidt was 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 16 innings in two starts against Florida as a freshman.

Saturday – Charley Boyce (1-0, 5.14 ERA) – Boyce will be making his 51st career start as a Razorback on Saturday at Florida. He earned his second win of the season in his sharpest outing of the season on March 11 against Cal State Northridge. The senior worked a season-high 6.2 innings, allowing just one run while striking out four and not walking a batter. Boyce has made three appearances and one start in his career against Florida. He is 2-1 against the Gators with a 1.46 ERA in 12.1 innings.

Sunday – Trey Holloway, LHP (1-0, 3.29 ERA) – Holloway will be making just his second career start in 39 career appearances on Sunday. His last start was at Ole Miss on May 9, 2004, where he lasted 1.2 innings and allowed two runs. He has made six appearances out of the bullpen this season and pitched 13.2 innings. Holloway has never faced the Florida Gators.

Looking Back at the Rainbow Baseball Tournament

Arkansas swept three games from Cal State Northridge at Baum Stadium to improve to 16-1 headed into conference play this weekend.

#10 Arkansas 6, Cal State Northridge 5 – Danny Hamblin went 2 for 4 with a home run and two RBI as the Hogs posted a come-from-behind 6-5 win. Devin Collis earned the win out of the bullpen with 2.1 innings of work. Daryl Maday recorded the final three outs to earn his third save.

#10 Arkansas 8, Cal State Northridge 1 – Danny Hamblin homered for the second straight day and Charley Boyce turned in his best start of the season. Boyce pitched 6.2 innings, allowing just one run and striking out four while not walking a batter.

#10 Arkansas 8, Cal State Northridge 6 – Brian McLelland earned his second win of the year with 3.2 innings out of the bullpen as Arkansas swept Cal State Northridge. Clint Arnold became the first Hog to collect four hits in a game this season to lead the offense.

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 only allowed 10 hits and five earned runs in 29.2 innings this season. That translates to a 1.47 ERA and a .101 opponent batting average. He has 32 strikeouts (including 10 vs. La. Tech) and just 13 walks.

vs. Florida: Schmidt made two starts against Florida last season with a 1-0 record and a 1.69 ERA. He struck out seven in a complete-game win and then took a no decision after leaving in the seventh inning of the SEC Tournament with an 8-2 lead.

Hamblin Scorching

Razorbacks’ junior first baseman Danny Hamblin is on a tear of late to take over the SEC lead in RBI with 26. Hamblin is hitting .328 on the season and leading the Hogs with six home runs, a .657 slugging percentage and three sacrifice flies.

Hamblin had a 14 game hitting streak until this past Sunday. He has hit in 15-of-17 games this season and recorded an RBI in 14-of-17 games. Hamblin leads the team in multiple-RBI games with nine and is third in multiple-hit games with five.

Road Warriors

The Razorbacks have bucked the trend in the SEC and hit the road throughout the 2006 non-conference slate. Arkansas, on the road to open SEC play at Florida this weekend, has played 11 of its 17 games on the road this season in three tournaments. The Hogs are 10-1 away from home this season and 3-0 in true road games and 7-1 in neutral site games way from Baum Stadium. UA has swept both of its home series this season.

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 On-Base % Slugging % OPS

Jake Dugger .481 .603 1.084

Danny Hamblin .415 .657 1.072

Chris Hollensworth .492 .596 1.061

Matt Willard .488 .528 1.024

Craig Gentry .419 .536 .955

James Ewing .491 .444 .935

Brian Walker .435 .463 .898

Blake Parker .387 .500 .887

Hollensworth Off to Hot Start

Senior Chris Hollensworth has been ripping double after double over this season to lead the Razorbacks with a .404 batting average and an impressive 10 doubles in just 52 at bats. The right fielder has almost a quarter (10 of 42) of Arkansas’ doubles this season after producing just three in 77 at bats last season.

His .404 batting average not only leads the team but ranks eighth in the SEC, while his 10 doubles leads the conference. Hollensworth is also tied for the team lead in runs scored with 18.

Razorbacks Climb in National Polls

Arkansas climbed once again in the national polls this week after improving to 16-1 on the season and sweeping Cal State Northridge at Baum Stadium. The Hogs moved up two spots in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ poll to No. 8. The Razorbacks held steady in both the Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball polls.

Arkansas moved up one spot to No. 7 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll. SEBaseball.com has the Razorbacks ranked the highest at No. 4, up one spot from last week, with RosenblattReport.com listing the Hogs at No. 7.

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 16-1 record.

Redshirt freshman Matt Willard made the most of his redshirt season and has come out smoking in year two. The New Place, Pa., native is hitting .389 with two doubles, a home run and seven RBI. With the loss of John Henry Marquardt, Willard is now the Hogs’ starting shortstop.

James Ewing, a true freshman from Beaumont, Texas, has flourished early in his Razorback career. He is hitting .378 in 11 starts spread between second base, third base and shortstop. Ewing has two doubles and six RBI. He is penciled in as the Hogs’ starting second baseman at this time. His twin brother Michael is the starting first baseman for Southern Mississippi and hitting .370 for the Golden Eagles.

David Hum and Wayne Hrozek have shared the DH duties in 2006. Hum has seven starts and a .296 batting average while Hrozek is hitting .333.

Junior college transfer Chris Rhoads has thrown quality innings for the Hogs’ as a starter early in the season. The right-hander is 3-1 with a 3.43 ERA in 21 innings of work.

Gentry Returned Against Cal State Northridge

Arkansas center fielder Craig Gentry returned to the Razorbacks’ lineup last weekend against Cal State Northridge. The senior had missed eight starts with a broken hand. He injured the hand in practice on Wednesday, Feb. 15, when he was hit by a pitch. Gentry hit .333 (4 for 12) against the Matadors with a triple, two RBI and three stolen bases. He posted a .429 on-base percentage and also laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt.

Arkansas Running Wild Again This Season

Dave Van Horn’s Razorbacks are up to their old tricks again this season. Arkansas has swiped 33 bases in 45 attempts for an average of 1.94 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. More on all 12 Arkansas no-hitters can be found on page 116 of your 2006 Razorback baseball media guide.

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 games started with 49. Boyce is second in career victories (29), third in career appearances (73) and second in all-time innings pitched (351.1). Boyce is also eighth in career strikeouts with 213. Boyce has a career ERA of 3.43.

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 1.54 ERA, eight strikeouts and two walks in 11.2 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 four saves this season after saving both the Friday and Sunday games against Cal State Northridge. He has a 1.08 ERA in 8.1 innings this season.

Game-Winning Hits

Coming through with the game-winning base hit is not an easy thing to do. Here we will track the Razorback players that come through in the clutch this season. Jake Dugger is leading the way for Arkansas this season with four game-winning hits.

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 75-12 (.862) in regular-season non-conference games since Van Horn arrived in 2003 and 37-2 (.949) since the beginning of the 2005 season.

Arkansas has been even better at home with a 45-3 mark in non-conference games since 2003 and 16-0 at home in non-conference game since the start of 2005. The Hogs have won 18 straight non-conference games at Baum Stadium dating back to a 6-4 loss to Oral Roberts on April 13, 2004.

Schmidt Pro-Line Cap National Pitcher of the Week

Nick Schmidt added to his long list of honors on Tuesday, Feb. 14, when the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) named the Arkansas left-hander the Pro-Line Cap National Pitcher of the Week. He also captured SEC Pitcher of the Week honors for his efforts.

The sophomore from St. Louis, Mo., quickly displaced any notion of a sophomore jinx in his season debut against perennial power Oklahoma State at the Jaguar Invitational in Mobile, Ala. Schmidt started and pitched the first six innings of the 12th no-hitter in school history. He struck out six and walked three on 87 pitches. It was the first time in 71 years of recorded baseball at Oklahoma State that the Cowboys had been held without a hit in a nine-inning game.

RosenblattReport.com Tabs Schmidt with National Honors

Schmidt was also recognized as the national pitcher of week by RosenblattReport.com on Tuesday, Feb. 14, after his impressive showing against Oklahoma State. RosenblattReport.com was the only outlet to name Schmidt to one of their preseason All-America teams.

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.

RazorZone to Feature Live Webcast

Saturday and Sunday’s games at Florida will be webcast live in the RazorZone. The video feed at McKethan Stadium will be streamed in the RazorZone at Hogwired.com. The Razorbacks continue to webcast all home games that do not conflict with televised games or the SEC Game of the Week on FSN will be streamed on RazorZone. Selected road games at Florida (Saturday and Sunday) and LSU that can been seen on 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.

Preseason Polls Tout Razorbacks

Arkansas is ranked among the nation’s best in the 2006 preseason rankings. Prognosticators have the Hogs anywhere from 14th to 33rd in the preseason polls.

Baseball America ranks the Razorbacks 18th in the nation, while Collegiate Baseball has the Hogs all the way down at 33rd. The NCBWA picked Arkansas at No. 19, while the USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ Poll ranks the Razorbacks 23rd.

The two major internet rankings, SEBaseball.com and RosenblattReport.com have the Hogs ranked 15th and 14th, respectively. Defending national champion Texas is a consensus preseason No. 1 with Florida or Clemson holding down the No. 2 spot.

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).

Hum Granted Release

Freshman transfer David Hum was granted his release by Notre Dame on Wednesday, Feb. 22, and cleared to play two days later. Hum made his first appearance in a Razorback uniform in the second game of a doubleheader with Louisiana Tech on Friday, Feb. 24.

Baseball America’s Preseason Look at the SEC

Baseball America tabbed the Razorbacks 18th nationally headed into the 2006 in its preseason poll. The publication also picked the Hogs second in the SEC’s Western Division behind Mississippi State and just ahead of LSU.

That projected finish also nabs Arkansas a NCAA Tournament according to Baseball America.

On the individual front BA did not name any Hogs to the first-team preseason all-conference team. But several Razorbacks were singled-out by the publication after a polling of the league’s coaches.

• Sophomore LHP Nick Schmidt was named the SEC’s fourth-best prospect in the 2007 MLB Draft.

• He was also named the 15th-best sophmore prospect by Baseball America.

• Senior center fielder Craig Gentry was selected as the best defensive outfielder in the SEC.

• Senior RHP Charley Boyce was picked to have the best control.

SEBaseball.com Tabs Schmidt Preseason Pitcher of the Year

Sophomore left-handed pitcher Nick Schmidt was named the 2006 Preseason Pitcher of the Year in the Southeastern Conference by SEBaseball.com. Schmidt posted an 8-2 last season with a 2.80 ERA in 99.2 innings. He also led the team in strikeouts with 89.

RosenblattReport.com Selects Schmidt and Hamblin 3rd All-Americans

Danny Hamblin and Nick Schmidt earned preseason All-America honors by RosenblattReport.com. Hamblin got the nod after leading Arkansas in almost every offensive category as a sophomore. The Rowlett, Texas, native hit .341 with 19 doubles, 10 home runs, a .420 on-base percentage and a .573 slugging percentage. The left-handed Schmidt was named to the third-team after a stellar freshman campaign. As the Hogs’ No. 1 starter, he posted an 8-2 record with a 2.80 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 99.2 innings. Schmidt was named the SEC Freshman of the Year by SEBaseball.com and was on everyone’s freshmen All-America team in 2005.

Hamblin Named First-Team All-Conference by SEBaseball.com

SEBaseball.com named Arkansas first baseman Danny Hamblin and LHP Nick Schmidt to its first-team preseason All-SEC squad. Schmidt was a freshman All-American a season ago after an 8-2 record, a 2.80 ERA and 89 strikeouts. Hamblin led almost every offensive category for the Razorbacks as a sophomore with a .341 batting average, 19 doubles, 10 home runs and 49 RBI.

The Hogs also had two second-team selections by SEBaseball.com in center fielder Craig Gentry and starting pitcher Charley Boyce. Gentry produced outstanding numbers for the Razorbacks a season ago after taking over in center field in late March. The Fort Smith native hit .311 with 12 doubles and 18 stolen bases. Boyce pitched out of just about every role for the Hogs in 2005, finishing with an 11-10 record and a 3.53 ERA in 122.1 innings.

Florida’s Matt LaPorta was selected as SEBaseball.com’s Hitter of the Year.

Hogs Believed to Lead Country in Actual Attendance

The NCAA and Southeastern Conference recognize paid attendance as their method of ranking attendance, but Arkansas keeps both an actual attendance and paid attendance. In 2005, the Razorbacks also set a school record in actual attendance with 146,902 fans showing up at Baum Stadium. That averages out to 5,247 fans per game and is believed to have led the country last season.

In an informal survey by the Baton Rouge (La.) Advocate, Arkansas led all SEC schools in actual attendance. The Razorbacks’ average of 5,247 fans in actual attendance would rank fifth nationally on the NCAA’s paid attendance rankings. LSU finished second in The Advocate’s survey of actual attendance with 3,922 fans per game. Below is a breakdown of both paid and actual attendance at Baum Stadium over the past three seasons and a look ahead to the 2006 season.

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: Florida Release.pdf



Sports Category : Baseball