Arkansas Razorbacks (9-3)
Dairy Queen Classic
Metrodome • Minneapolis, Minn.
Radio: Razorback Baseball Radio Network
Live Stats: Hogwired.com
Game 10: #5 Arkansas vs. Ole Miss
Friday, March 2, 12:15 p.m. – Metrodome
Probable Starting Pitchers
UA: 34 Shaun Seibert, RHP (0-1, 6.30 ERA)
OM: 39 Will Kline, RHP (2-0, 2.25 ERA)
Game 11: #5 Arkansas vs. The Citadel
Saturday, March 3, 12 p.m. – Metrodome
Probable Starting Pitchers
UA: 42 Duke Welker, RHP (1-0, 5.06 ERA)
Cit: 4 Matt Crim, LHP (0-2, 3.50 ERA)
Game 12: #5 Arkansas at Minnesota
Sunday, March 4, 3:05 p.m. – Metrodome
Probable Starting Pitchers
UA: 33 Nick Schmidt, LHP (2-0, 1.71 ERA)
UM: 39 Tyler Oakes, RHP (1-0, 5.40 ERA)
Hogs Face Ole Miss, The Citadel and Minnesota in Dairy Queen Classic
No. 5 Arkansas travels to the Dairy Queen Classic in Minneapolis, Minn., this weekend for games against SEC foe Ole Miss, The Citadel and host Minnesota inside the Metrodome.
The tournament begins with the Razorbacks and No. 16 Rebels (7-3) at 12:15 p.m. on Friday, March 2. UA then takes on the Citadel (6-4) at noon on Saturday before facing the Golden Gophers (3-0) at 3:05 p.m. Sunday. All three games can be heard on the Razorback Baseball Radio Network with Chuck Barrett calling the play-by-play. The RazorZone at Hogwired.com will also webcast all three games live.
It marks the third time the Hogs have traveled to Minneapolis for a tournament hosted by Minnesota. In 1993 Arkansas played in the Oscar Meyer Classic, facing UM, Georgia Tech and Cal State Fullerton. The Hogs then returned in 2001 for the Hormel Foods Classic and played the Gophers, San Diego State and Miami.
RHP Shaun Seibert returns to the starting rotation this week after working out of the bullpen the past two weeks. He is 0-1 on the season with a 6.50 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 10 innings. Ole Miss will send its ace Will Kline to the hill. He is 2-0 on the year with a 2.25 ERA and 29 strikeouts over 29 innings.
On Saturday right-hander Duke Welker gets the call against The Citadel. Welker, 2-0 with a 5.06 ERA this season, has pitched 16 innings and held opponents to a .211 batting average. The Bulldogs will counter with south paw Matt Crim who boasts a 3.50 ERA and an 0-2 record.
Hogs’ ace Nick Schmidt will face tournament host Minnesota on Sunday. Schmidt is 2-0 on the season with a 1.71 ERA and a miniscule .147 opponent batting average. The Golden Gophers will start right-hander Tyler Oakes (1-0, 5.40 ERA). He is making his second start of the season after holding Virginia Tech to three runs on five hits over five innings last weekend.
Arkansas owns a 30-20 lead in the all-time series with Ole Miss while Saturday will be the first meeting between the Razorbacks and The Citadel. The Hogs own a 6-2 lead in the all-time series with Minnesota, including a 1-1 mark at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.
Leading Off …
• The Razorbacks are making their third trip since 1993 to Minneapolis for a tournament hosted by the University of Minnesota at the Metrodome. Arkansas participated in the Oscar Meyer Classic in 1993 and the Hormel Foods Classic in 2001. The Hogs are 2-4 inside the Metrodome, beating Minnesota in 1993 then losing tight games with Georgia Tech and Cal State Fullerton. In 2001, Arkansas dropped a game to Minnesota before beating San Diego State and losing the finale to Miami.
• Friday’s meeting with Arkansas and Ole Miss is the first non-conference or non-SEC Tournament game between the two schools since the first meeting on April 11, 1982. UA, then a member of the Southwest Conference, beat Ole Miss 7-2 in Fayetteville.
• The Razorbacks have won the last four non-conference tournaments they have played in. Arkansas won four games, two each, against Dallas Baptist and Texas-Arlington in 2005. Then in 2006, the Hogs opened with a three-game sweep of the Jaguar Invitational in Mobile, Ala., and then took three games at the Al Ogletree Classic in Edinburg, Texas. The Razorbacks also traveled to Honolulu last season for the Rainbow Baseball Tournament, winning four-of-five games to take the title.
• Arkansas closer Jess Todd has struck out 20 batters this season in 11.1 innings of work. He is averaging 15.88 strikeouts per nine innings and has a 10/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Todd is 1-0 on the season with a 0.79 ERA, two saves and is two for three in save opportunities this season. Opponents are hitting just .214 off the right-hander, who has allowed just one earned run.
• The Razorbacks are hitting .309 with runners in scoring position (RISP) this season. Jake Dugger is batting .500 (5 for 1) while Ben Tschepikow is hitting an impressive .467 (7 for 15). Casey Coon is not far behind at .400 (6 for 15) while leading the team and league with 20 RBI.
• Casey Coon’s 20 RBI lead the SEC while his .372 batting average ranks leads the team. Freshman shortstop Tim Smalling has only driven in seven runs but ranks second on the team at .361.
• Redshirt freshman Brad Secrist has exploded into the Razorbacks lineup over the past two weeks. The Joplin, Mo., native is hitting .450 (9 for 20) with two doubles, a triple, home run and six RBI.
• Jacob Julius, a transfer from Spaulding [Ky.] University, is also making a big splash for the Razorbacks. Since returning from a pulled hamstring that kept him out of the line up the first two weeks of the season, he is hitting .400 in four starts. Julius is reaching base at a .571 clip and slugging .733.
• 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 Rebels
Arkansas faces a recent conference nemesis in the Dairy Queen Classic opener in the Ole Miss Rebels. UM has won nine of the last 12 games between the two schools, including three of four last season.
Ole Miss enters the game with a 7-3 record after a 4-2 win over Belmont on Tuesday night. The Rebels dropped two-of-three games to Wright State this past weekend in Oxford.
Mississippi boasts a .301 batting average, but is averaging 4.3 runs per game in its first 10 contests. However the pitching staff is loaded with starters Will Kline, Lance Lynn and Brett Bukvich. Kline, 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA, will get the nod vs. the Hogs. Kline made three appearances against the Razorbacks last season with a 1-0 record. He pitched 10 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits. Kline struck out 16, but walked 10.
Scouting the Bulldogs
The Citadel enters the weekend with a 6-4 record after a 20-10 win over Campbell on Tuesday night. The Bulldogs also have a win over South Carolina this season. The Citadel opens the Dairy Queen Classic with Minnesota on Friday evening. It is the first meeting between the Bulldogs and Razorbacks.
The Citadel is coached by skipper Fred Jordan, who is in his 16th season at the helm of the program. The Bulldogs posted a 34-27 record last season and have made six NCAA Tournament appearances under Jordan.
The Bulldogs are batting .311 as a team and scoring 7.3 runs per game. Sonny Meade (.409) and Zach Brown (.400) lead The Citadel attack. Brown leads the club in home runs with three and RBI with 12.
Scouting the Gopher
Sunday will mark the ninth meeting on the baseball diamond between Arkansas and Minnesota and the third inside the Metrodome. The Golden Gopher traveled to Fayetteville in 2005 with the Hogs sweeping three tight games.
John Anderson is in his 26th year leading the Minnesota program. His team is hitting .292 after sweeping through the Homewood Suites Shootout last weekend in Charleston, S.C. The Gopher captured wins over UNC-Asheville, The Citadel and Virginia Tech.
Derek McCallum leads the Minnesota offense with a .600 batting average (6 for 10) while Nate Hanson’s leads the team in home runs (2) and RBI (5). On the mound, the Golden Gopher feature a 2.33-team ERA and a .198 opponent batting average. Right-hander Tyler Oakes will get the start on Sunday vs. the Razorbacks. He is 1-0 on the season with a 5.40 ERA and two strikeouts.
Friday – RHP Shaun Seibert (0-1, 6.50 ERA): Right-handed pitcher Shaun Seibert returns to the rotation on Friday after spending the last two weekends in the bullpen. The right-hander turned in four-solid innings in relief against Wisconsin-Milwaukee and then worked one-scoreless inning against Illinois State on Feb. 24. Seibert struggled in his first two starts of the season, issuing four walks and allowing seven runs. It will be Seibert’s second career start and appearance against the Rebels. He allowed three runs on five hits in 3.1 innings last season in Oxford. More information: See Page 16.
Saturday – RHP Duke Welker (2-0, 5.06 ERA): JC transfer Duke Welker is 2-0 on the season. He picked up a no decision in his last start against Illinois State, allowing five runs on three hits in three innings. Welker worked five innings two weeks ago against Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the second game of a doubleheader with the Panthers. He earned his first win of the season after five-scoreless innings against Troy, fanning four and allowing four hits. The 6-7 right-hander is making his fourth career start. More information: See Page 14.
Sunday – LHP Nick Schmidt (1-0, 2.40 ERA): Junior south paw Nick Schmidt is slated to make his fifth start of the season on Sunday. Schmidt earned his second win of the season last week against Illinois State, allowing just three hits in six-scoreless innings. He got a no decision after throwing six innings against Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the first game of a doubleheader on Feb. 18. He struggled with his control, walking four. He has struck out 15 in 21 innings of work this season and has 249 career strikeouts, which ranks fourth in school history. Schmidt his making his second-career start vs. Minnesota. He allowed three runs on six hits in 3.1 innings in his third career start while on Feb. 25, 2005. More information: See Page 13.
Hogs’ Offense Rolling
Arkansas found its swing in southeastern Alabama two weeks ago and then really caught fire against Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The Hogs have raised their batting average to .305 on the season and an impressive .309 with runners in scoring position.
The Razorbacks are averaging 10.9 runs per game and 10.3 hits in 12 games this season. They have hit 16 home runs and 31 doubles. They boast an on-base percentage of .428 and a .499 slugging percentage. UA has recorded an amazing 29 hit by pitches in 12 games (2.42 per game) and drawn 69 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 10.9 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 18 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.
Three-Run Innings: 3
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 held steady in week’s Baseball America poll at No. 5 after winning two-of-three games from Illinois State. Collegiate Baseball kept the Razorbacks at No. 10 this week after dropping five spots over the previous two polls. Arkansas dropped a spot to No. 11 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll. The USA Today/Coaches’ poll will not be released again until next week.
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.
Todd is Arkansas’ Answer in the Late Innings
Junior college transfer Jess Todd is just what the Razorbacks have needed to close out games. The 6-0, 213-pound, right-hander junior out of Navarro Junior College features a 91-94 mph fastball and a 85-87 mph slider.
Todd has been lights out in 11.1 innings over six appearances this season. He has allowed just two runs – one earned – for a 0.79 ERA. He is holding opponents to a .214 batting average, having allowed just nine singles in 42 at bats.
He has fanned an impressive 20 of the 42 batters he has faced this season. On two occasions this season he has struck out five of the six outs he recorded. Todd is averaging 15.88 strikeouts per nine innings and has a 10/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
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 .382 on the season with three home runs and a league-best 20 RBI.
Coon also leads the team in slugging percentage at .698 and is second in on-base percentage at .481. 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
The versatile infielder can play second base, third base or shortstop, has made one start at first base and may play a little outfield as well. He has two starts at second base, six starts at third base and two at DH.
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 .353 with two doubles and seven RBI. He also has a .478 on-base percentage with eight walks and just three strikeouts in 34 at bats.
Freshman Smalling Making Impact for Hogs
Arkansas freshman Tim Smalling has taken over the starting job at shortstop after an impressive series at Troy two weeks ago. The Raleigh, N.C., native is second on the team with a .361 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 nine games at shortstop and made just one error in 39 chances.
Newcomers Shine vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Arkansas newcomers Brad Secrist (redshirt freshman) and Jacob Julius (junior transfer from Spaulding [Ky.] University) made a little noise two 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 .450 with six RBI on the season.
Julius also started the second inning of Sunday’s 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 and is now hitting .400 for the season.
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 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.
Preseason Polls Tout Razorbacks
The 2007 preseason polls have Arkansas predicted to be among the best teams in the country. The Razorbacks are a consensus top-10 team in the five preseason polls. The No. 4 ranking by Collegiate Baseball was the highest preseason ranking in school history. Baseball America and the USA Today/Coaches’ Poll ranked the Hogs seventh, while UA checked in at No. 8 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll and No. 9 by Rivals.com.
Preseason Polls Ranking Current
Collegiate Baseball 4th 10th
Baseball America 7th 5th
USA Today Coaches 8th 8th
NCBWA 8th 11th
Rivals.com 9th 9th
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.