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Diamond Hogs Return Home for Three-Game Set with Kansas

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Diamond Hogs Return Home for Three-Game Set with Kansas

Arkansas Razorbacks (10-5)

at

Kansas Jayhawks (11-5)

Baum Stadium • Fayetteville, Ark.

Radio: Razorback Baseball Radio Network

Live Stats: Hogwired.com

Series Outlook

Game 16: Kansas at #10 Arkansas

Friday, March 9, 12:35 p.m. – Baum Stadium

Probable Starting Pitchers

UA: 28 Jess Todd, RHP (1-1, 2.19 ERA)

KU: 21 Zach Ashwood, LHP (2-1, 4.15 ERA)

Game 17: Kansas at #10 Arkansas

Saturday, March 10, 12:05 p.m. – Baum Stadium

Probable Starting Pitchers

UA: 33 Nick Schmidt, LHP (3-0, 1.50 ERA)

KU: 17 Nick Czyz, LHP (2-1, 2.18 ERA)

Game 18: Kansas at #10 Arkansas

Sunday, March 11, 1:05 p.m. – Baum Stadium

Probable Starting Pitchers

UA: 34 Shaun Seibert, RHP (0-1, 4.80 ERA)

KU: 27 Andy Marks, LHP (3-1, 4.12 ERA)

Diamond Hogs Return Home for Three-Game Set with Kansas

No. 10 Arkansas returns home this weekend for a three-game series with the Kansas Jayhawks at Baum Stadium. Game times are set for 12:35 p.m. on Friday, 12:05 p.m. on Saturday and 1:05 p.m. on Sunday.

All three games can be heard on the Arkansas Baseball Radio Network with Chuck Barrett and Rick Schaeffer calling the action. The series can also be seen live over the internet inside the RazorZone at Hogwired.com.

The Razorbacks are 10-5 on the season after going 1-2 at the Dairy Queen Classic last weekend. UA is hitting .299 as a team with a 4.36 ERA on the mound.

It marks the first meeting between the two teams since a 2-1 Arkansas win in 2003 at Baum Stadium. The Hogs lead the all-time series 35-25 dating back to the first meeting on the baseball diamond in 1904. Arkansas boasts a 29-11 edge in the series dating back to the 1960 season.

Kansas, coached by fifth-year skipper Ritch Price, is the defending Big 12 Tournament Champions and boasts a 11-5 record in 2007. The Jayhawks are batting .315 as a team while the pitching staff has a strong 2.98 ERA.

Junior Jess Todd makes his first appearance in the Razorbacks’ starting rotation on Friday afternoon. The right-hander is 1-1 on the season with a 2.19 ERA and two saves. He has struck out 21 batters in 12.1 innings and walked just two. Kansas will throw left-hander Zach Ashwood, who is 2-1 with a 4.15 ERA and 27 strikeouts.

After throwing a complete game at Minnesota last Sunday, the Arkansas coaching staff pushed ace Nick Schmidt’s start back to Saturday for an extra day of rest. He is 3-0 on the year with a 1.50 ERA and 26 strikeouts. Kansas will counter with south paw Nick Czyz. He is 2-1 on the season with a 2.18 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 20.2 innings.

The series finale will pit Arkansas right-hander Shaun Seibert against the Jayhawks’ lefty Andy Marks. Seibert is 0-1 with a 4.80 ERA, but is coming off of a strong start vs. Ole Miss in the Dairy Queen Classic at the Metrodome last Friday. Marks is 3-1 with a 4.12 ERA this season

Leading Off …

The Razorbacks play host to Kansas for the first time since 2003 when Arkansas captured a 2-1 win in Fayetteville. It was Coach Van Horn’s first season with the Razorbacks.

Van Horn has faced off with the Jayhawks at three different schools. He first played KU in 1994 at Central Missouri State where the Jayhawks scratched out two wins in a midweek series. Van then had a little more success against Kansas when he made the move to Nebraska. With the Cornhuskers, Van Horn posted a 10-2 record from 1999-2002.

Van Horn has an 11-4 lifetime record against the Jayhawks.

The Razorbacks are hitting .313 with runners in scoring position (RISP) this season. Ben Tschepikow leads the way with an impressive .476 (10 for 21) average while Casey Coon is hitting .474 (9 for 20). Jake Dugger is batting .417 (5 for 12) with RISP.

The Hogs have also hit well with two-outs this season, posting a .284 average. Jake Dugger has been the best with two away, hitting at a .615 (8 for 13) clip. Casey Coon is close behind at .500 (9 for 18) with Logan Forsythe hitting .462 (6 for 13).

Casey Coon’s 26 RBI lead the SEC while his .389 batting average ranks leads the team. Coon’s seven doubles rank second in the SEC.

• Coon has made a full-time move to the outfield this week. The moves allows the Razorback coaches to get more bats in the lineup and their best defensive third baseman, Logan Forsythe, in the game.

Redshirt freshman Brad Secrist has exploded into the Razorbacks lineup over the past three weeks. The Joplin, Mo., native is hitting .435 (10 for 23) with two doubles, a triple, home run and seven RBI. He is hitting .333 with runners in scoring position.

• LHP Nick Schmidt is a preseason first-team All-American by Louisville Slugger Collegiate Baseball, NCBWA, Rivals.com and the College Baseball Foundation. He was a second-team choice by Baseball America.

• Schmidt and junior-college transfer Jess Todd are on the preseason Roger Clemens Award watch list. The Roger Clemens Award goes to the top pitcher in college baseball.

• Schmidt and Danny Hamblin are also on the Brooks Wallace Award watch list, which goes to the top player in college baseball.

• Hamblin is ranked as the No. 13 senior prospect by Baseball America.

• Schmidt is ranked as the No. 13 pro prospect by Baseball America in their top 100 college prospects list. Duke Welker is ranked No. 70 on that list while Jess Todd comes in at No. 73.

• Todd and Welker rank as the No. 3 and No. 5 transfers in college baseball this season by Baseball America.

• Arkansas was picked to win the SEC Western Division by both the league coaches and Baseball America.

• The Diamond Hogs posted a 3.12-team GPA during the 2006 fall semester.

Scouting the Jayhawks

Kansas rolls into Fayetteville on a four-game winning streak. The Jayhawks, coached by Rich Price, swept a doubleheader from Western Illinois on March 4 and then beat up on tiny Tabor College (18-2) and Baker College (24-7) during the midweek to up their record to 11-5 on the season. KU’s loss came in a three-game sweep at Stanford, a midweek loss at Oral Roberts and a one-run loss to South Dakota State at the Metrodome.

The Jayhawks feature an offense that is scoring 8.1 runs per game and averaging 11.1 hits, while the pitching staff has a 2.98 ERA and is striking out 10 batters per nine inning.

John Allman leads the offensive attack with a .434 average, while Ryne Price and Erik Morrison provide the power with three home runs each. Brock Simpson (6-7 in stolen bases) and Kyle Murphy (4-4) are threats on the base paths.

On the mound, KU features a starting rotation of left-handed pitchers Zach Ashwood (2-1, 4.15 ERA), Nick Czyz (2-1, 2.18 ERA) and Andy Marks (3-1, 4.12 ERA). Paul Smyth handles the closing duties with three saves in seven appearances over 8.2 innings. He has not allowed an earned run and fanned 10.

Razorback Rotation

Friday – RHP Jess Todd (1-1, 2.19 ERA): Right-handed pitcher Jess Todd makes his first start this week after beginning the season as the Hogs’ closer. Todd is 1-1 with a 2.19 ERA and two saves, but has struggled with a sore arm in recent weeks. He is believed to be 100 percent once again and will return to a starting role that he excelled in high school and junior college. Todd possesses a 92-94 mph four-seam fastball when healthy and a slider clocked between 85-87 mph. He also has a 90-92 mph two-seam fastball. More information: See Page 14.

Saturday – LHP Nick Schmidt (1-0, 2.40 ERA): Junior south paw Nick Schmidt is slated to make his sixth start of the season on Saturday. After throwing a 108-pitch complete game on Sunday, March 4, at Minnesota he will pitch on full rest on Saturday vs. the Jayhawks. Schmidt has allowed just one run in his last 17 innings of work and just three runs over the last 29 innings. He struck out a season-high 11 batters vs. Minnesota last week, improving to 3-0 on the season. He has 260-career strikeouts, just one shy of tying Scott Tabor for third place all time at Arkansas. More information: See Page 13.

Sunday – RHP Shaun Seibert (0-1, 6.50 ERA): Right-handed pitcher earned another start this week against Kansas after a strong outing vs. Ole Miss in the Dairy Queen Classic on March 2. Prior to the start against the Rebels, Seibert has spent two weekends in the bullpen after struggling in his first two starts of the season. The right-hander turned in four-solid innings in relief against Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Feb. 18 and then worked one-scoreless inning against Illinois State on Feb. 24. Seibert returns to the Sunday spot in the Hogs’ rotation for the first time this season, a place where he excelled last season, going 4-0 with a 2.79 ERA. More information: See Page 15.

Hogs’ Offense Rolling

Arkansas found its swing in southeastern Alabama against Troy and then really caught fire against Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The Hogs are hitting .299 on the season and an impressive .313 mark with runners in scoring position.

The Razorbacks are averaging 9.5 runs per game and 10.5 hits in 15 games this season. They have hit 16 home runs and 37 doubles. They boast an on-base percentage of .413 and a .468 slugging percentage. UA has recorded an amazing 34 hit by pitches in 15 games (2.27 per game) and drawn 76 walks (5.75 per game).

Big Innings Key Razorbacks’ Offense

Arkansas has made a habit out of putting up crooked numbers on the scoreboard this season. The Razorbacks are averaging 10.5 runs per game and a big part of that has been innings where UA score three, four or even five-plus runs. The Hogs have scored three-or-more runs in 21 innings this season, including seven four-run innings and eight innings of five or more runs. Arkansas has scored seven runs in an inning three times this season and eight runs in the fifth inning on Saturday, Feb. 24, against Illinois State.

Big-Inning Breakdown

Three-Run Innings: 5

Four-Run Innings: 7

Five-Run Innings: 2

Six-Run Innings: 2

Seven-Run Innings: 3

Eight-Run innings: 1

Razorbacks in the National Polls

Arkansas fell in this week’s polls after going 1-2 at the Dairy Queen Classic. The Hogs dropped to No. 10 in the Baseball America poll and fell to No. 11 in Collegiate Baseball. The first USA Today Coaches’ Poll of the regular season was also released with the Razorbacks residing at No. 12. Arkansas dropped a four spots to No. 15 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll.

Saturday Struggles

Arkansas has had a hard time putting everything together on Saturday this season. The Razorbacks are 0-3 in games played on Saturday this season (the Saturday game vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee was postponed and played as a part of a doubleheader on Sunday). The pitching staff boasts an 11.88 ERA on Saturday with 21 strikeouts and 18 walks while the Hogs’ offense is hitting just .280.

The Razorbacks are 9-0 in all other games this season, scoring 11.5 runs per game with a .314 batting average and a 2.20 ERA on the mound.

Coon’s Bat Shines Early

Casey Coon came to Arkansas has a heralded hitter and he has quickly shown why. He is hitting a team-best .389 on the season with three home runs, seven doubles and a league-best 26 RBI.

Coon also leads the team in slugging percentage at .685 and is second in on-base percentage at .471. He connected for two home runs on Friday, Feb. 9, at Troy and then cracked his third home run of the season on Sunday, Feb. 11. He leads the team in both multiple-hit games (9) and multiple-RBI games (6).

The versatile infielder can play second base, third base or shortstop, but made the move to the outfield following the Dairy Queen Classic to enable the Razorbacks to put both their best offensive and defensive teams on the field.

Tschepikow Back at Full Strength

Junior infielder Ben Tschepikow finally appears to be back at full strength in 2007. He was bothered by back problems throughout his freshman season in 2005 where he hit .400. He was then put on the shelf 14 games into his sophomore season and underwent surgery to correct the problem.

The athletic Fayetteville native is back to his old self. He has been spraying balls all over the field early on in the 2007 season. Tschepikow is hitting .348 with three doubles and nine RBI. He also has a .441 on-base percentage with eight walks and just four strikeouts in 46 at bats. Tschepikow also leads the team with a .476 average with runners in scoring position.

Freshman Smalling Making Impact for Hogs

Arkansas freshman Tim Smalling has taken over the starting job at shortstop after an impressive series at Troy. The Raleigh, N.C., native is second on the team with a .349 batting average after hitting .545 with two doubles and three RBI in three starts against the Trojans and .455 with a double, triple, home run and four RBI vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Smalling has started 11 games at shortstop and made just two errors in 44 chances (.955) while making several run-saving plays. Smalling and Tschepikow have combined to help turn 15 doubles plays this season and are proving to be one of the better double-play combs in the Southeastern Conference.

Newcomers Shine vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Arkansas newcomers Brad Secrist (redshirt freshman) and Jacob Julius (junior transfer from Spalding [Ky.] University) made a little noise three weeks ago against Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The pair combined for 11 hits in 19 at bats in two starts for each.

Secrist made a run a the school record for hits in a game during the second inning of a doubleheader on Sunday. He finished one hit short (5 for 7) but doubled and scored five runs while driving in three. He hit .583 for the weekend with a double, triple, first career home run and four RBI. Secrist is now hitting .435 with seven RBI on the season.

Julius also started the second inning of the Feb. 18 doubleheader. He went 4 for 6 at the plate while scoring four runs and driving in two with his first career home run. He followed that by going 2 for 2 with a RBI and three walks in the series finale on Monday. Julius started two games against Illinois State, going 2 for 8 with two runs scored. His average has dipped to .286 after struggling at the Dairy Queen Classic.

Host of Publications Tab Schmidt First-Team All-American

Arkansas sophomore left-handed pitcher Nick Schmidt was named a preseason Louisville Slugger First-Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball.

Schmidt, a native of St. Louis, is 17-5 with a 2.91 ERA and 234 strikeouts. He was named the SEC Pitcher of the Year by league coaches last season. Schmidt is also a preseason first-team All-American by the NCBWA, Rivals.com and the College Baseball Foundation. He is a second-team selection by Baseball America.

Hamblin Returns for Senior Season

Arkansas third baseman/first baseman Danny Hamblin returns for his senior season in 2007. He was selected with the ninth round with the 278th overall pick of the 2006 MLB Draft by the Oakland Athletics. Hamblin is a preseason third-team All-American by Louisville Slugger. The Rowlett, Texas, native put together one of the most complete seasons for a Razorback in recent memory in 2006. He was the only player in the SEC to rank in the top 10 in home runs and stolen bases. Hamblin was third in the league with 68 RBI. He tied for seventh in home runs (17) and was just outside of the top 10 in total bases (131).

Hogs Boast Deep Pitching Staff

The Razorbacks feature one of the deepest pitching staffs in recent memory in Fayetteville with the likes of Nick Schmidt and Shaun Seibert. Arkansas returns six pitchers from its 2006 staff that finished a 3.64 ERA, which is the lowest by a UA club in 15 years.

The staff also gets a boast from highly-touted junior-college transfers Jess Todd, Duke Welker and Travis Hill. Welker is ranked as the No. 70 pro prospect in college baseball by Baseball America while Todd is listed at No. 73. Schmidt leads that list for the Hogs at No. 13.

Hamblin, Schmidt and Walker Selected as Captains

The Arkansas baseball team selected three captains for the 2007 season last fall. Both senior Danny Hamblin and junior Brain Walker were selected for a second straight season, while junior Nick Schmidt was picked for a first time.

Hogs Post 3.11 GPA During Fall Semester

The Arkansas baseball team proved they were truly student-athletes during the 2006 fall semester with an impressive 3.12-team grade point average.

The 3.11-team GPA follows a 2.9 GPA in the spring of 2006 and a 3.15 GPA during the fall of 2005.

The Razorbacks had 32 players compile a GPA of 3.0 or better with two players, Brandon Barr and Brad Secrist, making a perfect 4.0.

Senior right-hander Brian McLelland earned his degree in chemical engineering in December. Volunteer assistant coach Bubbs Merrill also earned his degree in sociology and former Hog Clay Goodwin finished his masters in adult education.

Fourteen Razorbacks posted GPAs of 3.5 or better during the fall, including Barr (4.0), Casey Coon (3.8), Thomas Hauskey (3.81), Travis Hill (3.81), Scott Limbocker (3.8), Brian McLelland (3.71), Sam Murphy (3.81), Chad Pierce (3.60), Stephen Richards (3.8), Secrist (4.0), Shaun Seibert (3.53), Jess Todd (3.8), Ben Tschepikow (3.8) and Michael Wild (3.5).

SEC Coaches Pick Hogs in SEC West

The Southeastern Conference coaches picked Arkansas to win the SEC’s Western division in their annual preseason poll.

The Razorbacks were picked third in the West in the 2004 and 2005 preseason polls and last in the SEC West prior to the 2004 campaign. Arkansas finished second in the SEC West last season and tied for fifth in 2005. UA proved the critics wrong in 2004 by winning the SEC title.

Arkansas garnered 66 points in the 2007 poll’s Western Division with every possible first-place vote (11). Ole Miss finished second with 53 points and Alabama finishing third with 47 points. Ole Miss received one first-place votes in the Western Division.

South Carolina was selected as the conference’s overall champion with seven of the 12 overall first-place votes. Arkansas garnered three and Vanderbilt two.

Points were compiled on a 6-5-4-3-2-1 basis for each division. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team. Each coach also voted for one team as an overall conference champion. (See Page 9 for Preseason SEC Coaches’ Poll)

Hogs Believed to Lead Country in Actual Attendance – Again

The NCAA and Southeastern Conference recognize paid attendance as their method of ranking attendance, but Arkansas keeps both an actual attendance and paid attendance. After six games at Baum Stadium in 2007 the Hogs are off to a quick start once again. The Razorbacks have sold 42,940 tickets for an average of 7,157 per game. UA is averaging 3,895 fans per game in actual attendance with 23,369 fans passing through the gates this season.

In 2006, Arkansas set school records in both tickets sold and attendance over 29 games at Baum Stadium, including the NCAA Regional. The Razorbacks sold 206,352 tickets for a 7,116 average (the average is second all time). A record 164,608 fans passed through the gates in actual attendance for an average of 5,676.

In 2005, the Hogs also set a then-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 four seasons.

Baum Stadium is undergoing its third expansion since prior to the 2003 season with the addition of 20 luxury suites, over 1,500 chairback seats and an expanded Hog Pen. Baum Stadium will now features 34 luxury suites, 8,237 chairback seats and a capacity of 10,737 with additional standing room only available.

Year Tickets Sold Actual Attendance

2007 42,940 (7,157) 23,369 (3,895)

2006 206,352 (7,116) 164,608 (5,676)

2005 200,378 (7,156) 146,902 (5,247)

2004 (regular season) 134,525 (4,204) 91,779 (2,868)

2004 (w/postseason) 188,753 (4,840) 146,007 (3,743)

2003 100,372 (3,585) 60,510 (2,161)

Download: Arkansas Notes vs. Kansas.pdf



Sports Category : Baseball