SEC Baseball Tournament
Arkansas Razorbacks (38-18, 18-12)
Regions Park • Hoover, Ala.
Radio: RBRN / XM Satellite
Live Stats: SECsports.com • TV: CSS/FSN
Hogs No. 2 Seed at SEC Tourney
No. 2-seed Arkansas (38-18, 18-12) is making its 14th appearance in the SEC Tournament in 16 years in the conference.
UA opens with No. 7-seed Alabama (31-24, 15-15) in the first round at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 23, at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala.
The Razorbacks won the SEC Western Division for the third time in school history. Vanderbilt claimed the overall title at 22-8.
SEC Tournament games can be heard on the Arkansas Baseball Radio Network with Chuck Barrett and Rick Schaeffer calling the action. The all of the Wednesday and Thursday games on Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS) can be viewed on Cox Sports. Cox Sports Television is available on all Cox Communications’ systems. In Northwest Arkansas, CST is channel 119.
Arkansas is 14-23 (.378) all time in SEC Tournament play and 2-8 under skipper Dave Van Horn.
Nick Schmidt go to the hill for Arkansas in the opener. The junior southpaw is 9-3 with a 3.08 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 108 innings. Alabama will counter with right-hander Tommy Hunter (7-4, 3.59 ERA).
The Hogs and Tide squared off two weekends ago in Tuscaloosa, with Alabama winning the series two games to one. Alabama leads the all-time series, 33-19.
Wednesday – May 23
Game 1: #7 Alabama vs #2 Arkansas – 10 a.m.
Game 2: #6 Florida vs #3 South Carolina – 1 p.m.
Game 3: #8 Tennessee vs #1 Vanderbilt – 5 p.m.
Game 4: #5 Ole Miss vs #4 Miss. State – 8 p.m.
Thursday – May 24
Game 5: Loser Gm 1 vs Loser Gm 2 – 10 a.m.
Game 6: Loser Gm 3 vs Loser Gm 4 – 1 p.m.
Game 7: Winner Gm 1 vs Winner Gm 2 – 5 p.m.
Game 8: Winner Gm 3 vs Winner Gm 4 – 8 p.m.
Friday – May 25
Game 9: Winner Gm 5 vs Loser Gm 7 – 1:30 p.m.
Game 10: Winner Gm 6 vs Loser Gm 8 – 5:30 p.m.
Saturday – May 26
Game 11: Winner Gm 7 vs Winner Gm 9 – 10 a.m.
Game 12: Winner Gm 8 vs Winner Gm 10 – 1:30 p.m.
*Game 13: Winner Gm 11 vs Loser Gm 11 – 5 p.m.
*Game 14: Winner Gm 12 vs Loser Gm 12 – 8:30 p.m.
Sunday – May 27
#Game 15: Championship Game – 3 p.m.
* – Game 13 will be necessary if the winner of Game 9 also wins Game 11.
* – Game 14 will be necessary if the winner of Game 10 also wins Game 12.
If Game 13 is not necessary, Game 14 would start at 5:00 p.m.
# – If both bracket winners are undefeated, there will be no 5:00 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. games on Saturday and the championship game would be Game 13.
TV: All games on Wednesday and Thursday will be televised by Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS). All CSS games that feature the Arkansas can be seen on Cox Sports in NW Arkansas (channel 119). Both games on Friday will be carried by Fox Sports Net (FSN). Games 11 and 12 on Saturday will be carried by FSN. The ‘if necessary’ games on Saturday, games 13 and 14 will be aired on CSS. The Championship game will air on Fox Sports Net at 3 p.m.
Leading Off …
• The Razorbacks are making their 14th appearance in the SEC Tournament since they joined t he league 16 years ago. UA only missed the SEC Tournament in 2000 and 2001. Their best finish at the SEC Tournament came in 1999 when they advanced to the championship game before losing to Alabama. UA is 14-23 in the SEC Tournament and 2-8 under head coach Dave Van Horn.
• The Hogs have qualified for six straight SEC Tournaments. Norm DeBriyn took the Razorbacks in his final season in 2002 and Dave Van Horn has qualified all five of his teams. It is the second-longest streak in the SEC to South Carolina’s string of 11 straight dating back to 1997.
• SEbaseball.com named Jess Todd and Nick Schmidt first-team All-SEC pitchers on Monday. The second team included Danny Hamblin at first base, Logan Forsythe at third base and Casey Coon in the outfield. RHP Duke Welker also earned honorable mention honors.
• The Hogs won their third SEC West title since joining the Southeastern Conference for the 1992 season. They finished with a 18-12 mark in the league, beating out Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
• Nick Schmidt was one of 10 pitchers named as semifinalists for the Roger Clemens Award on Thursday.
• Jess Todd and Nick Schmidt became the first teammates to each record at least 100 strikeouts in a season. Todd has 107 to rank fifth in the SEC while Schmidt’s 101 rank sixth. Todd’s 107 is the fifth-most in school history, while Schmidt’s 101 ranks eighth. Schmidt’s 145 Ks in 2006 are the second-most in a single season at UA.
• Arkansas has been hit by a school-record 98 pitches in 56 games this season (1.75 per game). The mark leads the SEC this season. The old school record of 94 set in 2003.
• The Hogs rank fourth in on-base percentage (.396) in the SEC and third in runs scored (438) and tied for second in doubles (124).
• Casey Coon’s 67 RBI rank second in the SEC while Danny Hamblin has moved into 10th place with 54. Hamblin is tied for eighth in RBI in SEC games with 29.
• Danny Hamblin leads the Hogs with 20 home runs, which leads the league lead and fifth nationally, while his 14 home runs in SEC games are tied for the most. The 20 home runs are also tied for the second-most in school history. Arkansas’ 68 home runs as a team rank third in the league. Hamblin earned SEC Hitter of the Week honors after batting .462 with two home runs and eight RBI vs. Florida.
• Brian Walker is once again turning it on during the second half of the season. The junior is hitting .295 over his last 31 games with eight doubles, six home runs and 19 RBI.
• Nick Schmidt was named one of 50 semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award in early May.
• Nick Schmidt claimed his fourth-career SEC Pitcher of the Week after tossing a complete-game victory at Tennessee on Friday, March 30. Jess Todd was named the SEC Pitcher of the Week after earning two wins over then-No. 1 Vanderbilt.
• Danny Hamblin’s 213 career RBI rank second all time at Arkansas. He is 20 shy of career record holder Ryan Lundquist (233).
• Arkansas is 4-0 this season in extra inning games and their first hit came on April 21 when Danny Hamblin’s solo home run beat the Georgia. The Hogs had not gotten a single hit in its first two extra-innings wins. UA benefited from a error, intentional walk and a fielder choice to beat Illinois State. UA then beat Vandy in 10 innings when Sean Jones scored from second on a sacrifice fly deep into the right-center field gap after reaching base on a hit by pitch.
• Wayne Hrozek connected for a two-run double over the right-fielders head in the 10th inning on May 18 to clinch the SEC Western Division for the Razorbacks. It was also their fourth extra-innings win of the season.
• Shaun Seibert injured this right elbow in the fourth inning on Sunday, March 11, and will be out for the season. He will undergo Tommy John surgery on Thursday, March 22.
• The Hogs are 4-3 in games played on TV this season.
• All of the SEC Tournament games can also been heard across the country on XM Satellite radio.
Friday – LHP Nick Schmidt (9-3, 3.08 ERA): Junior southpaw Nick Schmidt is slated to make his 17th start of the season on Wednesday morning against Alabama at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala. He is coming off of his second straight loss and third of the season last week vs. Ole Miss. He became Arkansas’ all-time strikeouts leader vs. Florida with seven Ks and he now has 335 in his career. Schmidt passed Matt Carnes (1995-97) who finished his career with 301 strikeouts. His 3.08 ERA ranks sixth in the SEC, while his nine wins are also second. He also second in the league in opponent batting average (.211) and is third in innings pitched (108). Schmidt is 0-1 in three career starts vs. Alabama. More information: See Page 14.
Saturday – RHP Jess Todd (8-2, 2.95 ERA): Jess Todd is slated to make hits ninth start of the season and his eighth in SEC play on Thursday at the SEC Tournament. He has thrown 41.2 innings in his last five starts, including back-to-back complete-game, six-hit wins at Georgia and Auburn. He is 4-0 during that stretch with a 1.08 ERA. Todd has struck out 10 or more batters in four of his last six starts, including two straight 10-K performances (LSU and Alabama). Todd then set a new career-high with 12 strikeouts vs. Ole Miss on May 18. He is 7-1 in SEC play with a 2.48 ERA that ranks third in the league. He has struck out 108 and walked just 24 this season. More information: See Page 15.
Hamblin Red Hot
Danny Hamblin had had a tough time getting the hits to fall in early in the season as he got off to a terrible start with a .119 batting average (5 for 42) at the first of March.
But over the last 39 games Hamblin is on fire, hitting .328 with 12 doubles, 19 home runs, a .792 slugging percentage, a .399 on-base percentage and 44 RBI to raise his average to .278. That average is also .328 in conference play, including 10 doubles, a league-best 14 home runs and 29 RBI. Hamblin is second on the team and 10th in the SEC with 54 RBI this season. His 20 home runs also lead the league and rank fifth nationally.
Hamblin continues to move up the Arkansas record book as well with each at bat. The senior ranks second in career home runs (55) – one shy of the school record of 56 by Ryan Lundquist – and first in at bats (913), second in career RBI (213), second total bases (510), sixth in walks (116) and third in hits (277).
Schmidt Named Golden Spikes Semifinalist
Arkansas junior left-handed pitcher Nick Schmidt was named one of 50 semifinalists for the 2007 Golden Spikes Award by USA Baseball. Schmidt has a 9-3 record, a 3.08 ERA and a .211 opponent batting average in 108 innings this season.
This year will mark the 30th consecutive year that the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award has been presented to the nation’s premier amateur baseball player. The winner’s name will be announced on June 29, 2007, during the 2007 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Show presented by Major League Baseball.
In 2007 USA Baseball instituted a new selection and balloting procedure for the most prestigious award in amateur baseball. After accepting nominations from sports information directors across the country, a committee voted to determine the 50 semi-finalists. The names of the 50 semi-finalists will now be forwarded to a voting body of 125 who will select the five finalists and the eventual 2007 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Winner.
Forsythe Finds a Home
In and out of the lineup over the first two weekends of the season, Logan Forsythe’s name is penciled in on an everyday basis these days. Maybe the best defensive third baseman in the SEC, entering the season his bat was a question mark after hitting just .189 as a true freshman.
He has dispelled any questions about his bat over the last two months and enters the Alabama series as the Razorbacks leading hitter. His glove has not let anyone down either, making play after play at third base. He boasts a .935 fielding percentage at third base this season with seven errors in 106 chances, all coming on throws.
Forsythe has a .354 batting average, seven home runs and a career-best 46 RBI. He is second on the team in slugging percentage at .551, is second on the team in on-base percentage at .427, and leads the team with 16 stolen bases. He has hit safely in 43of the Hogs last 51 games and in 26 of 30 SEC games this season.
Todd Returns to Dominance in Starting Role
Junior Jess Todd has started six straight SEC weekend games and turned in dominating performances in each. He started with 10 strikeouts in five innings against Florida on April 15 but did not get a decision. The next week at Georgia Todd only fanned seven but threw his first complete game as a Hog and induced four double plays. He followed a similar pattern with a complete-game six hitter at Auburn. He struck out eight with just two walks to improve to 6-2. Last week vs. LSU he hurled 8.2-scoreless innings as the Hogs shutout LSU for the first time in school history. Todd matched his career high with 10 strikeouts in the game. He matched those 10 strikeouts again at Alabama with his fourth straight win with six innings of work. He set a new career high with 12 strikeouts over nine innings in a no decision on May 18.
He leads the team with 107 strikeouts and just 24 walks in 82.1 innings and leads the team with a 11.70 strikeouts per 9.0 innings. He also has a 4.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He has lowered his ERA to 2.73 from a high of 5.09 following the March 23 win over Vanderbilt. Todd is 7-1 in SEC games with a 2.48 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 65.1 innings.
Arkansas’ Keys to Winning
There have been two factors that have proven to be tell-tale signs of Razorback wins in 2007 – scoring first and getting at least five innings out of their starting pitcher. Arkansas is 33-9 when they score first and 26-10 when its starting pitcher throws at least five innings.
Hitting When it Counts – RISP
A key to the Razorbacks’ offense in 2007 has been their hitting with runners in scoring position. Overall, Arkansas is hitting .290, but that average is still to .291 with runners on second or third base. Tim Smalling leads the way a .361 with Ben Tschepikow and Logan Forsythe close behind at .357 and .333, respectively.
Player RISP RBI
Tim Smalling .361 (13 fro 36) 23
Ben Tschepikow .357 (20 for 56) 27
Logan Forsythe .333 (24 for 72) 46
Casey Coon .313 (26 for 83) 67
Walker Once Again Catching Fire in the Second Half of the Season
Arkansas junior catcher Brian Walker is well known for his early season swoons. However, he is just as well known for his late season surges. Walker has made a habit of being one of the Razorbacks’ best and most consistent hitters over the second half of the season in his three years on campus.
That trend continues in 2007 as the Tulsa, Okla., native is hitting .295 with six home runs and 19 RBI over the last 25 games. His average had dipped to .183 heading into the Sunday finale against top-ranked Vanderbilt on March 25. The Hogs needed a win to capture the series and Walker’s fifth-inning grand slam proved to be all they would need in an 8-3 win. Below is a look at Walker’s second-half hitting sprees and where he was when they began.
Season 2nd-Half Numbers 1st Half Numbers
2007 .295, 8 2B, 6 HR, 19 RBI (25 gms) .177, 2 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI (24 gms)
2006 .337, 4 2B, 6 HR, 19 RBI (32 gms) .202, 7 2B, 2 HR, 18 RBI (24 gms)
2005 .318, 6 2B, 4 HR, 13 RBI (21 gms) .183, 1 2B, 3 HR, 13 RBI (25 gms)
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 8.1 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 60innings this season, including 16 four-run innings and 18 innings of five or more runs. Arkansas has scored seven runs in an inning four times this season and eight runs in the fifth inning on Saturday, Feb. 24, against Illinois State.
Three-Run Innings: 27
Four-Run Innings: 16
Five-Run Innings: 9
Six-Run Innings: 4
Seven-Run Innings: 4
Eight-Run innings: 1
Razorbacks in the National Polls
Arkansas’ series loss at Alabama last weekend caused the Hogs to slip again in week’s polls. Baseball America dropped the Razorbacks at No. 10 – down two spots – while the USA Today Coaches’ poll also moved the Hogs down three to No. 11. The Hogs fell to No. 9 in this week’s Collegiate Baseball poll – down three. The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association slid the Razorbacks down two spots to No. 11.
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. Casey Coon leads the way with five game-winning hits, while Danny Hamblin has four and Tim Smalling, Jeff Nutt and Logan Forsythe have three game-winning hits each.
Date Opponent Player Result (Inning)
2/4 at Louisiana Tech Brian Walker HR, 3 RBI (8th)
2/9 at Troy Sean Jones HR, RBI (8th)
2/11 at Troy Casey Coon HR, 2 RBI (1st)
2/18 Wisconsin-Milwaukee Casey Coon 2B, 2 RBI (7th)
2/18 Wisconsin-Milwaukee Jacob Julius 2B, 3 RBI (1st)
2/23 Illinois State Jake Dugger 2B, 2 RBI (3rd)
3/9 Kansas Wayne Hrozek 2B, RBI (5th)
3/11 Kansas Tim Smalling 1B, RBI (6th)
3/13 Oral Roberts Tim Smalling 1B, RBI (2nd)
3/16 at Kentucky Logan Forsythe HR, 3 RBI (1st)
3/18 at Kentucky Danny Hamblin HR, 2 RBI (2nd)
3/21 at Centenary Danny Hamblin HR, 2 RBI (7th)
3/25 Vanderbilt Jeff Nutt 2B RBI (1st)
4/1 at Tennessee Matt Willard 2B, 2 RBI (2nd)
4/3 Northern Colorado Logan Forsythe HR, 3 RBI (4th)
4/4 Northern Colorado Matt Willard 3B, 3 RBI (5th)
4/8 Mississippi State Tim Smalling HR, 3 RBI (2nd)
4/14 Florida (1) Danny Hamblin 1B, RBI (4th)
4/14 Florida (2) Sean Jones 2B, RBI (3rd)
4/15 Florida Logan Forsythe 2B, 3 RBI (8th)
4/21 at Georgia Danny Hamblin HR, RBI (10th)
4/22 at Georgia Jeff Nutt 2B, 2 RBI (1st)
4/25 Wichita State Casey Coon HR, 4 RBI (1st)
4/27 at Auburn Casey Coon 1B, RBI (1st)
4/29 at Auburn Jeff Nutt 1B, RBI (1st)
5/12 at Alabama Casey Coon HR, 3 RBI (5th)
5/18 Ole Miss *Wayne Hrozek 2B, 2 RBI (10th)
* indicates walk-off
Schmidt Named Semifinalist for Roger Clemens Award
Junior Nick Schmidt was named one-of-10 semifinalist for the Roger Clemens Award. The Roger Clemens Award goes to the top pitcher in college baseball.
Schmidt and Hamblin on Brooks Wallace Award Watch List
Schmidt and Danny Hamblin are also on the Brooks Wallace Award watch list, which goes to the top player in college baseball.
Hogs Post 3. 20 GPA during Spring Semester
The Arkansas baseball team proved they were truly student-athletes during the 2007 spring semester with an impressive 3.20-team grade point average. The 3.20-team GPA follows 3.12 GPA in the fall of 2006, 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).
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 26 games at Baum Stadium in 2007 the Hogs are leading the way once again. The Razorbacks have sold 233,350 tickets for an average of 8,046 per game. UA is averaging 5,699 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 chairback seats and an expanded Hog Pen in 2007. Baum Stadium will now features 34 luxury suites, 8,237 chairback 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 233,350 (8,046) 165,298 (5,699)
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)