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Diamond Hogs Tackle Siena in Weekend Series at Baum Stadium

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Diamond Hogs Tackle Siena in Weekend Series at Baum Stadium

Arkansas Razorbacks

(8-1, 0-0 SEC)

vs.

Siena Saints

(1-6)

Baum Stadium • Fayetteville, Ark.

Broadcast Information

Razorbacks Baseball Radio Network

Chuck Barrett (play-by-play)

Rick Schaeffer (analyst)

TV: None

Game Outlook

Game 10: Siena at Arkansas

Fri.., March 7, 4:05 p.m. – Baum Stadium

Probable Starting Pitchers

AR: 32 Mike Bolsinger, RHP (1-0, 1.69 ERA)

SC: 33 Craig Chaput, RHP (0-0, 2.45 ERA)

Game 11: Siena at Arkansas

Wed., March 8, 1:05 p.m. – Baum Stadium

Probable Starting Pitchers

AR: 28 Cliff Springston, LHP (2-0, 0.73 ERA)

SC: 31 Craig Marcellus, LHP (0-2, 14.09 ERA)

Game 12: Siena at Arkansas

Sun., March 9, 12:05 p.m. – Baum Stadium

Probable Starting Pitchers

AR: 34 Shaun Seibert, RHP (0-0, 12.46 ERA)

SC: 15 Tom Hopkins, LHP (0-0, 11.81 ERA)

Diamond Hogs Tackle Siena in Weekend Series at Baum Stadium

The Arkansas baseball team closes out a five-game home stand with a three-game series against Siena at Baum Stadium over the weekend.

The series gets started at 4:05 p.m. on Friday with Saturday’s game slated for 1:05 p.m. while Sunday’s first pitch is 12:05 p.m.

The series can be heard on the Razorback Baseball Radio Network with Chuck Barrett handling the play-by-play duties and Rick Schaeffer as the analyst. The audio can also be heard over the internet inside the RazorZone at Hogwired.com. Live stats are also available on Hogwired.com.

Head coach Dave Van Horn’s club, which is ranked 28th in the latest Collegiate Baseball poll, is in the middle of a five-game home stand. Arkansas is coming off of a second-place finish at the Domino’s Pizza Aggie Baseball Classic and a doubleheader sweep of South Dakota State in the midweek.

The Razorbacks are hitting .312 as a team with a .417 on-base percentage. Senior outfielder Aaron Murphree is providing the power with a SEC-leading seven home runs in nine games and 20 RBI. Freshman Brett Eibner leads the team in average at .542 with two home runs and 12 RBI.

Sophomore junior-college transfer Mike Bolsinger gets his first start of the season in Friday’s series opener. He is 1-0 on the season with a 1.69 ERA in three appearances out of the bullpen. Bolsinger has struck out nine while issuing four walks.

Junior southpaw Cliff Springston gets the nod on the hill Saturday. He is 2-0 on the season after six-strong inning out of the bullpen in the win over Ohio State on March 2 in College Station, Texas. Springston is making his first start of the season after four appearances out of the bullpen. He boasts a 0.73 ERA in 12.1 innings with 12 strikeouts and just three walks.

Shaun Seibert makes his third start of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on March 22, 2007, and missing the rest of the 2007 campaign. He does not have a decision this season with a 12.46 ERA in 4.1 innings.

The Saints are hitting .253 as a team with seven home runs and a .317 on-base percentage while the pitching staff boasts a 7.29 ERA and a .307 opponent batting average.

Siena will start right-hander Craig Chaput on Friday. He does not have a decision on the season but has an impressive ERA over 11 innings of work. He has walked nine and struck out 14 on the year.

The Saints will start left-handers on Saturday and Sunday. Craig Marcellus gets the call on Saturday with a 0-2 record and a 14.09 ERA. Tom Hopkins will start the finale on the mound on Sunday and has an 11.81 ERA in 5.1 innings this season with two walks and a .333 opponent batting average.

Leading Off …

The Diamonds Hogs exploded for 33 runs on 32 hits in the midweek doubleheader sweep of South Dakota State. Aaron Murphree went 6 for 9 in the doubleheader with three home runs and seven RBI, while freshman Brett Eibner was 7 for 11 with two home runs and eight RBI.

Murphree has hit five home runs in the last three games, including multiple-home run games vs. Ohio State on March 2 and South Dakota State in game two of a doubleheader on March 5.

Arkansas has been devastated by injuries early in 2008 and that trend continued last weekend in College Station with Logan Forsythe going down with a pulled hamstring, Brett Eibner missing Sunday’s game with an injured left shoulder and Wayne Hrozek breaking his hand when hit by a pitch.

Hogs’ head coach Dave Van Horn will coach his 800th Division-I game on Saturday (or second game of series). He boasts a 530-268 record in 14 years as head coach at the Division-I level, spanning stops at Northwestern (La.) State, Nebraska and Arkansas.

Van Horn is also just six wins shy of his 800th win as a head coach (794-351) over a 20-year career that included stops at Texarkana College, Central Missouri State, Northwestern (La.) State, Nebraska and Arkansas.

UA is hitting .288 with runners in scoring position through the first nine games of the 2008 season. Brett Eibner leads the way with a .636 average (7 for 11), while Logan Forstyhe (3 for 7 ) and Aaron Murphree (6 for 14) are hitting .429.

The Hogs have been at their best with two outs, sporting a .330-team average with 35 two-out RBI, which accounts for 49.3 percent of Arkansas’ RBI. Three Razorbacks are hitting over .500 with two outs, including Ben Tschepikow (.556, 5 for 9), Brett Eibner (.545, 6 for 11) and Aaron Murphree (.500, 7 for 14).

Chase Leavitt has been a force at the top of the Hogs’ lineup with a .320 batting average and a .528 on-base percentage. He is also third on the team with 10 runs scored while hitting .400 with two outs, including three two-out RBI.

The UA pitching staff fanned 16 Kansas batters on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at Baum Stadium. It was the most by an Arkansas team since Jess Todd struck out 17 by himself in eight innings against South Carolina in last season’s SEC Tournament on May 24.

Logan Forsythe and Casey Coon are on the Brooks Wallace Award watch list, which goes to the top player in college baseball.

Shaun Seibert, who injured this right elbow against Kansas last season returned to the mound for the Hogs on Saturday, Feb. 23. The junior right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery on March 22, 2007, and returned to the hill on Feb. 23, 2008, just 11 months off surgery. He will make his third start of the season on Sunday vs. Siena.

Forsythe is on the Golden Spikes Award watch list.

Forsythe is ranked as the No. 43 pro prospect by Baseball America in their top 100 college prospects list.

Forsythe was also selected first-team pre-season All-SEC by SEBaseball.com. Coon garnered second-team honors in the outfield. SEBaseball.com also tabbed Forsythe and Coon as the third-best 1-2 offensive punch in the SEC.

• Arkansas was picked to finish third in the SEC’s Western Division league coaches and fifth by Baseball America.

Baseball America also tabbed Forsythe as the best defensive third baseman in the Southeastern Conference.

Freshman Brett Eibner was the seventh-highest drafted player to come to school after being taken in the fourth round by the Houston Astros (No. 141 overall).

Arkansas boasts seven players on the 2008 roster who have previously been drafted. Six of those players are new to the Arkansas lineup.

Scouting the Saints

The Saints enter the series on Friday after a 24-hour bus ride from Loudonville, N.Y., which is about five minutes north of Albany, N.Y. Siena is 1-6 on the season after being swept by Florida to open the season and then going 0-2 at Virginia and splitting a pair of games with Cornell in Charlottesville, Va. Head coach Tony Rossi is in his 39th year at the helm of the Saints and boasts a 620-743-6 (.455) career record.

Siena posted a 12-33 record last season while finishing seventh in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with a 10-13 record. Third baseman Jake Willis powers the Saints’ offensive attack with a .357 average, three home runs and four RBI. Jason DeFilippo leads the team with a .438 batting average with Nick Messinger close behind with a .429 average.

On the mound, Siena will start right-hander Craig Chaput on Friday. He does not have a decision on the season but has an impressive 2.45 ERA over 11 innings of work. He has walked nine and struck out 14 on the year. LHP Craig Marcellus gets the call on Saturday with a 0-2 record and a 14.09 ERA. Southpaw Tom Hopkins will start the finale on the mound on Sunday and has an 11.81 ERA in 5.1 innings this season with two walks and a .333 opponent batting average.

A Look at the Razorbacks’ Rotation

Friday – Mike Bolsinger, RHP (1-0, 1.69 ERA) – Mike Bolsinger gets his first start as a Razorback after making three appearances out of the bullpen to start the season. He was impressive out of the pen with a 1-0 record, 1.69 ERA and nine strikeouts in 5.1 innings. Bolsinger started nine games at Grayson County Community College last season and posted a 6-1 record with a 2.93 ERA.

Saturday – Cliff Springston, LHP (2-0, 0.73 ERA) – Cliff Springston, a transfer from Baylor, also gets his first start as a Hog against Siena. Springston is 2-0 on the year with a 0.73 ERA and 12 strikeouts and three walks. He has held opponents to a .159 batting average over 12.1 innings. The southpaw features a low-90s fastball, a quality changeup and a curveball.

Sunday – Shaun Seibert, RHP (0-0, 11.57 ERA) – Shaun Seibert makes his third start for the Hogs’ since he underwent Tommy John surgery on March 22, 2007. The right-hander is only throwing between 80-90 percent, but is locating his pitches and will use his experience to his advantage. Seibert boasts a 9-4 career record with a 3.55 ERA in 144.2 innings with 134 strikeouts.

Injury Bug Bites Diamond Hogs

The Diamond Hogs have been bit by the injury bug throughout the spring. Arkansas has seen numerous position players ailing and have lost one promising freshman left-handed pitcher for the season.

Most recently Logan Forsythe, Brett Eibner and Wayne Hrozek went down with injuries. Forsythe is day-to-day with a strained hamstring and Eibner returned to the lineup vs. South Dakota State on March 5.

Hrozek suffered the most serious injury in College Station when he was hit in the left hand by Ohio State reliever Alex Wimmers. The pitch broke his hand and will have him on the bench for 6-8 weeks.

Sean Jones, who was penciled in to start in center field for the Razorbacks, was hit by a pitch in the left hand in early February and will miss roughly the first four weeks of the season with a broken hand. He could return as early as the LSU series.

Casey Coon and Tim Smalling are both fighting through slight shoulder injuries but are expected to play.

True freshman left-hander Drew Smyly was lost for the season with fractured left elbow. The Little Rock Central product will have screws inserted in the coming weeks and will be ready for 2009.

Quick Start for Razorbacks’ Offense

The Razorbacks’ offense is off to a quick start in 2008 with a .312 batting average, a .551-team slugging percentage and a .417 on-base percentage.

That is a four-point improvement in batting average over last year through nine games and a 43-point improvement in slugging percentage. The Hogs have banged out 17 home runs in 2008, having hit just 13 at the same point last year.

Aaron Murphree’s seven home runs is four more than any UA player had through nine games last year and his 20 RBI is one more that Casey Coon had nine games into the season.

Murphree Providing Power for Hogs

Senior Aaron Murphree saw action in just 16 games as a junior-college transfer in 2007. But in 2008 the 6-foot, 5-inch slugger from Weatherford, Texas, has become a force in the Diamond Hogs’ lineup in 2008.

Murphree has four game-winning hits early in 2008, including a walk-off two-run home run with one out in the ninth inning to beat Louisiana Tech on Feb. 29. He has seven home runs on the season to lead the Southeastern Conference with four doubles and a team-high 20 RBI. He has connected for five home runs in the last three games, including multiple-home runs game vs. Ohio State on March 2 and South Dakota State in the second game of a doubleheader on March 5.

Murphree has a 1.171 slugging percentage and is reaching base at a .513 clip. He has also swiped two bases and scored a team-high 12 runs. His best game came in the nightcap of the SDSU doubleheader, going 4 for 6 with two home runs and six RBI.

Murphree has collected six-multiple-hit games and six-multiple-RBI games over the first nine games of the Hogs’ 2008 season.

Bullpen Coming to the Rescue

Arkansas’ revamped bullpen has been impressive through the first nine games of the 2008 season. The Hogs’ relief staff has allowed just 11 earned runs in 52.2 innings for a 1.97 ERA and three saves. The bullpen has struck out 55 while issuing just 21 walks (2.62-to-1 ratio). The Razorbacks’ bullpen has a .197 opponent batting average for the season.

All six of Arkansas’ eight victories have come out of the bullpen with Cliff Springston leading the team with two wins. Dallas Keuchel, Brett Eibner, Travis Hill and Mike Bolsinger earning one win each out of the pen.

Hill has also proven to be a reliable closer for the Razorbacks with three saves in three chances. He has allowed just two hits in 5.2 innings out of the pen with five strikeouts and a .111 opponent batting average.

Eibner Proving to be Two-Way Player

Freshman Brett Eibner is proving to everyone that he is capable of being an everyday-two-way player for the Razorbacks. Eibner has made six starts in center field and one on the mound for Arkansas. He has also made two relief appearances out of the Hogs’ bullpen.

Eibner is batting a team-high .542 at the plate (13 for 24) with two home runs and 12 RBI. He also has scored six runs while drawing five walks and has been hit by two pitches to post a .645 on-base percentage. On the mound, Eibner is 2-0 on the season with a 6.00 ERA with 11 strikeouts on just two walks in nine innings. He earned the win on Feb. 24 with three-solid innings out of the bullpen vs. Wright State, allowing just one run on three hits with four strikeouts. Eibner then made his first start on the hill, working five innings against South Dakota State in the second game of a doubleheader on March 5 with six strikeouts and no walks.

Strike 3!

After setting the school record with 565 strikeouts as a team in 2007, the 2008 pitching staff is picking up right where the 2007 team left off. The Hog hurlers have struck out 84 batters in nine games for an average of 9.45 per nine innings. UA also set the school more for strikeouts per nine innings last season at 8.83.

Wilkins Earns SEC Freshman of the Week Honors

It didn’t take freshman Andy Wilkins long to make a name for himself in the SEC. The Broken Arrow, Okla., product garnered SEC Freshman of the Week honors following the season-opening weekend.

Wilkins hit .455 in three starts (one at first base and two at DH) against Wright State with a home run and six RBI. He also delivered two game-winning hits with a three-run home run that propelled the Hogs to victory in the opener on Friday and a two-RBI single to give UA the win on Sunday. Wilkins posted a .727 slugging percentage and a .571 on-base percentage with the help of three walks. He also hit .500 with runners in scoring position and .500 with two out, including four two-out RBI.

Forsythe Finds a Home

Forsythe finished an amazing turnaround in 2007 by leading the team with a .347 batting average, nine home runs and a career-best 55 RBI. He was second on the team in slugging percentage at .556, was second on the team in on-base percentage at .431, and led the team with 18 stolen bases. He hit safely in 47 of the Hogs last 59 games and in 26-of-30 SEC games last season.

His play during the season earned him the opportunity to play for Team USA over the summer. Forsythe showed his versatility as he played all over the field and hit over .300 for Team USA.

His glove did not let anyone down either, making play after play at third base. He boasted a .933 fielding percentage at third base last season with eight errors in 119 chances, all coming on throws.

Early on in 2008 Forsythe as even better with a .381 batting average and a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage at third base.

Forsythe Named to Golden Spikes Watch List

Arkansas junior third baseman Logan Forsythe was named to USA Baseball’s pre-season Golden Spikes Award Watch. The release of the watch list marks USA Baseball’s first step toward identifying the top player in college baseball.

The Golden Spikes Watch List features 75 of the nation’s top collegiate players that were nominated by baseball sports information directors across the country.

New Faces Dot Razorback Lineup

Several new faces will be seen on the baseball diamond for the 2008 Diamond Hogs as the season opens. As many as eight newcomers could see action early in the season, including five true freshmen.

The Hogs will start true freshman – James Mahler – on the mound on Tuesday while Andy Wilkins (DH/1B), Jacob House (1B/OF) and Brett Eibner (OF/RHP) have positioned themselves to be penciled into the lineup. Freshman Kendall Korbal is scheduled to make his second start vs. Texas A&M on Saturday.

Junior-college transfers are also making an immediate impact for the Razorbacks as shortstop Scott Lyons, outfielder/infielder Chase Leavitt and catcher Ryan Cisterna all have a chance to start for the Hogs.

On the mound even more newcomers are going to make immediate impact with LHP Cliff Springston, RHP Mike Bolsinger (starting vs. Kansas on Feb. 27), RHP Eibner and RHP Justin Wells.

USA Razorbacks

Arkansas has had a key player on the USA National Team in each of the past two summers. Nick Schmidt was one of the American’s top starting pitchers with a 3-1 record and a 1.31 ERA in 2006 and Logan Forsythe was one of the top hitters last year with a .309 average in 28 starts.

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. Early on in 2008, senior Aaron Murphree leads the way with four game-winning hits, while freshman Andy Wilkins has two and Brett Eibner and Ben Tschepikow have one each.

Date Opponent Player Result (Inning)

2/22 Wright State Andy Wilkins HR, 3 RBI (4th)

2/23 Wright State Aaron Murphree HR, 2 RBI (6th)

2/24 Wright State Andy Wilkins 1B, 2 RBI (7th)

2/27 Kansas Brett Eibner 1B, 2 RBI (6th)

2/29 vs. Louisiana Tech *Aaron Murphree HR, 2 RBI (9th)

3/2 vs. Ohio State Aaron Murphree HR, 2 RBI (5th)

3/5 South Dakota St. (1) Ben Tschepikow 1B, 2 RBI (2nd)

3/5 South Dakota St. (2) Aaron Murprhee HR, 3 RBI (1st)

* indicates walk-off

Hogs 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 29 games at Baum Stadium in 2007 (not including the NCAA Regional) the Hogs led the way once again. The Razorbacks sold 233,350 tickets for an average of 8,047 per game. UA is averaging 5,700 fans per game in actual attendance with a school record 165,298 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.

Baum Stadium is underwent its third expansion since prior to the 2003 season with the addition of 20 luxury suites, over 1,500 chair back seats and an expanded Hog Pen in 2007. Baum Stadium will now features 34 luxury suites, 8,237 chair back seats and a capacity of 10,737 with additional standing room only available.

In an informal survey by the Baton Rouge (La.) Advocate, Arkansas led all SEC schools in actual attendance in 2005 and 2006. Below is a breakdown of both paid and actual attendance at Baum Stadium over the past four seasons.

Year Tickets Sold Actual Attendance

2007 266,270 (8,069) 198,218 (6,007)

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

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

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

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

Razorbacks Selected in the MLB Draft

Arkansas currently has seven players on its roster that have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft. Below is a breakdown of Razorbacks that chose books over the bucks.

Player Year Round Pick Team

Brett Eibner, RHP 2007 4th 141 Houston Astros

Andy Wilkins, INF 2007 25th 770 Texas Rangers

Mike Bolsinger 2006 34th 1031 Cleveland Indians

Scott Lyons, INF 2007 36th 1099 Boston Red Sox

James Mahler, RHP 2007 42nd 1262 Philadelphia Phillies

Travis Hill, RHP 2005 42nd 1266 Texas Rangers

Ryan Cisterna, C 2006 47th 1391 Kansas City Royals

Ryan Cisterna, C 2007 48th 1351 Washington Nationals

Download: Arkansas Notes vs. Siena.pdf



Sports Category : Baseball