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Diamond Hogs Travel to Ole Miss for SEC West Encounter

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Diamond Hogs Travel to Ole Miss for SEC West Encounter

Arkansas Razorbacks (34-15, 14-10)

vs.

Ole Miss Rebels (31-18, 13-11)

Swayze Field • Oxford, Miss.

Radio: Razorback Baseball Radio Network

Live Stats: Hogwired.com • Saturday: Fox Sports

Series Outlook

Game 50: #10 Arkansas at #22 Ole Miss

Friday, May 12, 6:30 p.m. – Swayze Field

Probable Starting Pitchers

AR: 33 Nick Schmidt, LHP (7-2, 2.77 ERA)

UM: 30 Craig Rodriguez, LHP (3-2, 4.33 ERA)

Game 51: #10 Arkansas at #22 Ole Miss (FSN)

Saturday, May 13, 3:06 p.m. – Swayze Field

Probable Starting Pitchers

AR: 28 Daryl Maday, RHP (1-0, 2.05 ERA)

UM: 34 Brett Bukvich, RHP (4-4, 3.53 ERA)

Game 52: #10 Arkansas at #22 Ole Miss

Sunday, May 14, 1:30 p.m. – Swayze Field

Probable Starting Pitchers

AR: 34 Shaun Seibert, RHP (3-0, 2.68 ERA)

UM: 33 Lance Lynn, RHP (4-3, 4.53 ERA)

Diamond Hogs Travel to Ole Miss for SEC West Encounter

No. 10 Arkansas looks to take advantage of its sweep of Alabama as they hit the road this weekend for a three-game SEC series against No. 22 Ole Miss at Swayze Field. Game times are set for 6:30 p.m. on Friday, 3 p.m. on Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

The Razorbacks and Rebels will play the SEC Game of the Week on Fox Sports Saturday afternoon. It will be the Hogs’ first appearance on Fox Sports this season.

The Hogs boast a 34-15 overall record and 14-10 mark in Southeastern Conference action. The Razorbacks are in second place in the SEC West, one game ahead of Ole Miss and one game behind Alabama. Ole Miss is 31-18 overall and 13-11 in league play.

The Razorback Baseball Radio Network will carry all three games with Rick Schaeffer calling the action. The live audio broadcast of all three games is available inside the RazorZone at Hogwired.com. Live stats can also be found on Hogwired.com.

Arkansas will send All-America candidate Nick Schmidt to the hill on Friday night. The left-hander is 7-2 in the season with a 2.77 ERA and ranks second in the SEC with 104 strikeouts. Ole Miss countered with junior left-hander Craig Rodriguez, who 3-2 with a 4.33 ERA in 60.1 innings of work.

Saturday will pit the Hogs’ RHP Daryl Maday against redshirt freshman lefty Brett Bukvich. Maday won his first SEC start in two years last week and is 1-0 on the season with a 2.05 ERA in 26.1 innings. Bukvich is 4-4 with a 3.53 ERA.

RHP Shaun Seibert will go to the mound on Sunday with a 3-0 record and a 2.68 ERA in 47 innings this season. He has walked 11 and fanned 46. Ole Miss will start right-hander Lance Lynn, who is 4-3 with a 4.53 ERA over 10 starts and 59.2 innings.

The Razorbacks lead the all-time series 29-17, including a 13-8 mark in Oxford. However, Ole Miss has seen success in recent meetings against the Razorbacks with a 7-4 record dating back to the 2003 season.

Scouting the Rebels

Ole Miss enters the weekend series with a 31-18 record and ranked 22nd by Baseball America. Head coach Mike Bianco is in his sixth year at the helm of the Rebels’ program with a 229-128-1 record. UM is third in the SEC West, one game behind Arkansas and two games behind Alabama. They were swept at league leading Kentucky last weekend, but have won 11 straight games – seven in conference action – prior to that. Ole Miss is 23-7 at home this season.

Zack Cozart leads the Mississippi attack that is hitting .308 as a team and scoring 7.3 runs per game. Cozart boasts a .347 batting average, eight home runs and 51 RBI. Justin Henry is close behind with a .344 average, while C.J. Ketchum is batting .333, Chris Coghlan .332 and Alex Presley .330. Mark Wright leads the team with nine home runs, while five different Rebels have 14 doubles.

The Ole Miss pitching staff has a 4.38 ERA to rank ninth in the league with opponents are hitting .272. The Rebels’ weekend rotation has been Craig Rodriguez (3-2, 4.33 ERA), Brett Bukvich (4-4, 3.53 ERA) and Lance Lynn (4-3, 4.53 ERA). Garrett White handles the closing duties with seven saves and a 2.14 ERA in 42 innings.

The Series: Arkansas leads the all-time series 29-17, including a 13-8 mark in Oxford. However, Ole Miss has seen success in recent meetings against the Razorbacks with a 7-4 record dating back to the 2003 season. The Rebels took two-of-three games from Arkansas in Oxford in 2004 before the Hogs won 4-3 at the SEC Tournament. Last season Ole Miss ran rough shot over the Razorbacks in Fayetteville, sweeping the three-game series.

A Look at the Razorbacks’ Rotation

Friday – Nick Schmidt, LHP (7-2, 2.77 ERA) – Schmidt’s job at the front of the Razorbacks rotation has been a little tougher this year with the lack of run production on Friday night for the Hogs. UA is hitting just .196 on Friday nights during SEC play. But he still has five wins over ranked opponents this season (TCU, Hawai’i, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Miss. State). Schmidt didn’t allow a hit until his third start of the season against Louisiana Tech on Feb. 24. He tossed 13.2 hitless innings to open the season. Opposing hitters are now hitting an SEC-best .198 off Schmidt in 80.1 innings.

Saturday – Daryl Maday, RHP (1-0, 2.05 ERA) – Maday is making his second start in SEC play after a dominating start last Saturday against Alabama. He allowed just one run on five hits in six innings of work. Maday is 1-0 in 15 appearances and five saves. He has worked 26.1 innings and allowed six earned runs while striking out 20 and walking seven. Maday moved into the starting rotation after getting Trey Holloway out of trouble in the first inning at LSU on April 29.

Sunday – Shaun Seibert (3-0, 2.49 ERA) – Seibert will make his eighth start of the season on Sunday. He is coming off of 4.2 innings last Sunday against Alabama in a no decision. Seibert allowed one earned run on nine hits. He is 3-0 after beating Mississippi State in Starkville, where he worked six innings and allowed just two run on six hits. The sophomore from Edwardsville, Ill., has a 2.49 ERA. He has made 14 appearances this season and pitched 47 innings with 46 strikeouts and just 11 walks.

Bama Sweep Huge for Hogs

Arkansas’ sweep of then-No. 6 Alabama last weekend at Baum Stadium didn’t just mark the first Hogs’ sweep of the Tide since 1994. The sweep vaulted the Razorbacks back into contention for the SEC West and overall SEC title. It also put Arkansas back into position to host the first round of the NCAA Regionals. UA is 34-15 on the season and 14-10 in SEC play. The Hogs are one game back of Alabama in the race for the SEC West title and two games behind Kentucky for the overall SEC Championship.

Razorbacks Rocket Up in the RPI

The Razorbacks’ 34-15 overall record and 16-8 mark against ranked opponents have them flying high in Boyd’s World Pseudo-RPI. The Boyd’s World RPI is a simulation of the Ratings Power Index, the official NCAA measure of team quality used by the tournament selection committee. The ISR is Boyd’s World take on how to measure the quality of NCAA Division-I baseball teams.

Pseudo-Ratings Power Index (RPI)

Rating Record Team

1 0.638 39-9 Rice

2 0.636 35-13 Clemson

3 0.628 36-13 Texas

4 0.627 36-12 Georgia Tech

5 0.627 37-8 Nebraska

12 0.605 34-15 Arkansas

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 .196 while averaging just 4.3 runs per game. That stretch includes losses to Florida (6-3), Georgia (2-0), Vanderbilt (7-1) and LSU. 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, holding Arkansas to three hits over eight innings and struck out 17.

Arkansas Getting it Done with Two Outs

The Razorbacks’ offense has been dangerous with two outs this season. The Hogs are hitting just .278 overall with two outs, but 41 percent of their total RBI coming with two down. That number gets better in SEC play with 42 percent of the Razorbacks’ RBI coming with two outs.

One of the keys to Arkansas’ sweep of the Crimson Tide was two-out RBI. The Hogs accounted for 20 RBI in the three game set, with 12 of those coming with two outs (60%). UA also hit .333 with runners in scoring position against Alabama.

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 second in the league with 60 RBI. Hamblin also ranks tied for third in home runs (14) and in seventh in total bases (111). The slugging first baseman now has 19 multiple-RBI games this season.

Schmidt Sets Single-Season Career High for Ks

Nick Schmidt set a new career high for strikeouts in a season at Mississippi State. The left-hander fanned eight over seven innings to give him 91 for the season. Schmidt has struck out 13 over his last two starts to give him 104 Ks for the season in 87.2 innings of work. He fanned 89 batters as a freshman in 99.2 innings of work.

He is averaging 10.67 Ks per nine innings, which ranks second in the SEC. His 104 strikeouts are also second in the league.

Schmidt enters Friday night’s game at Ole Miss tied one K shy of Matt Carnes’ 105 strikeouts in 1996, two shy of John Cebuhar’s 1987 season and seven short of Carnes’ 1995 season.

Collis Closing the Door

Senior Devin Collis never did get comfortable on the mound for Arkansas last season. But all of that has changed in 2006, the St. Charles, Mo., native has the third-most saves in the SEC with eight, including four in conference action. Collis has an impressive 1.95 ERA to go along with a 7-2 record in a team-best 28 appearances.

Records Watch

Members of the 2006 Razorback baseball team are beginning to climb up both the season and career record charts as the year progresses.

Hitting

• Danny Hamblin is tied for eighth in school history with 32 homes; tied for 9th in RBI with 151; 10th in total bases with 359; ranks third in strikeouts with 152.

• For the season Hamblin is one home run shy of moving into the top 10 in single season home runs and seven RBI shy of the top 10 in RBI. His 48 Ks this season are tied for 10th in a single season.

• Jake Dugger ranks third all-time at Arkansas with 122 career walks. He also ranks fifth in career strikeouts with 140.

Pitching

• Charley Boyce holds the school records for starts (55) and innings pitched 375.1. He ranks second in career wins (30) and career appearances (83). Boyce is tied for fourth in career strikeouts with 225.

• Boyce also ranks 10th in SEC history with 375.1 innings pitched.

• Nick Schmidt (193) is three strikeouts from tying Kevin Campbell (196) for 10th on Arkansas’ all-time chart. His 2.79 career ERA currently ranks seventh in school history for pitchers with more than 100 career innings.

• Schmidt’s 105 strikeouts this season rank sixth on the single-season list. He is one back of Matt Carnes (1996), two behind John Cebuhar (1987) and seven Carnes’ 1995 season.

• Devin Collis’ eight saves so far this season is tied for sixth in a single season and ranks tied for ninth for a career. He is also one appearance short tying three former Hogs for ninth with 28. Phillip Stidham holds the school record with 36 appearances in 1991 and 1989.

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 22-5 when they score first and 24-6 when its starting pitcher throws at least five innings.

Hogs at Their Best Against the Best

The Hogs have a SEC-best 16-8 record against teams ranked in the top-25 this season. The 16 wins against the top 25 is five more than any other team in the West and one better than No. 11 Kentucky.

Boyce Gets No. 30

Arkansas senior right-hander Charley Boyce became just the second Razorback pitcher in school history to record 30 wins over a career. He collected win No. 30 on Sunday against Alabama, pitching 2.1 innings of scoreless relief. 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 30-20 and a 3-2 mark this season. He posted six wins in 2003, 10 wins in 2004 and 11 wins as a junior last season.

Walker Named SEC Hitter of the Week

Arkansas catcher Brian Walker was named the Southeastern Conference’s Hitter of the Week on May 1, after helping the Razorbacks sweep No. 6 Alabama. The Tulsa Union product led the way for the Hogs with a .600 (6 for 10) batting average and five RBI. Walker also ripped his fourth home run of the season and collected three doubles.

He raised his batting average 25 points and set a new single-season career-high in RBI with 26. Walker also reached base with three walks and a hit by pitch for a .714 on-base percentage for the weekend.

Hamblin/Schmidt Named to Wallace Watch

LHP Nick Schmidt and first baseman Nick Schmidt were named to the Brooks Wallace Award watch list this week. The award is given to the nation’s top collegiate baseball player by the Collegiate Baseball Foundation in Lubbock, Texas.

The selection committee for the Wallace Award is comprised of a national panel of preeminent coaches, sports information directors, former winners and beat media who most closely follow the sport.

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 30-2 when leading after seven innings and 28-1 when leading after eight innings. UA’s only loss when leading going into 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. The Hogs are 4-1 when tied going into the ninth inning.

Tough Losses in League Play

Arkansas has lost 10 games in SEC play this season with seven of those losses coming by two runs or less. The Hogs have lost five games in league action by just one run. UA has dropped two more games by two runs and one game by three runs. Only two of the Razorbacks’ losses in SEC action are by more than three runs this season. Two of those one-run losses have been on walk-off home runs in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Team Saves Record Falls

Arkansas set a new team saves record last weekend against Alabama. The Hogs’ pitching staff now has 18 saves in 34 wins this season, breaking the old record of 17 set in 1989. Devin Collis leads the way with eight, while Daryl Maday has five, Chris Rhoads has three and James Gilbert and Brian McLelland have one each.

Newcomers Shining for Hogs

Several newcomers have stepped into the everyday lineup and pitching rotation to help Arkansas open with a 34-14 record.

James Ewing, a true freshman from Beaumont, Texas, has flourished early in his Razorback career. He is leading the team with a .360 batting average. Ewing has won the everyday job at second base. He has four doubles and 14 RBI.

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 .289 with four doubles, two home runs and 20 RBI.

David Hum and Wayne Hrozek have shared the DH duties in 2006. Hum has 22 starts and a .289 batting average while Hrozek is hitting .291 in 20 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 3.61 ERA and three saves in 42.1 innings of work.

Logan Forsythe had his redshirt pulled in late March and has started 20 games. He came alive against Alabama four hits to raise his average 29 points to .189 (14 for 74) with three home runs, nine RBI, a double and eight walks. Forsythe set a career high with four RBI on Saturday, May 6.

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 63 hits and 27 earned runs in 87.2 innings of work this season. That translates to a 2.77 ERA and a .198 opponent batting average. He has a career-best 104 strikeouts, including five double-digit strikeout performances 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.

Download: Ole Miss Release.pdf



Sports Category : Baseball