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No. 21 Tennessee Visits Baum Stadium for SEC Showdown

BY ANDRES FOCIL
No. 21 Tennessee Visits Baum Stadium for SEC Showdown

Series Outlook

Game 27: #13 Arkansas vs. #21 Tennessee

Friday, March 31, 6:35 p.m. – Baum Stadium

Probable Starting Pitchers

UA: 33 Nick Schmidt, LHP (4-2, 1.83 ERA)

UT: 31 James Adkins, LHP (4-2, 3.04 ERA)

Game 28: #13 Arkansas vs. #21 Tennessee

Saturday, April 1, 4:05 p.m. – Baum Stadium

Probable Starting Pitchers

UA: 45 Charley Boyce, RHP (2-0, 4.26 ERA)

UT: 25 Craig Cobb, RHP (4-1, 2.42 ERA)

Game 29: #13 Arkansas vs. #21 Tennessee

Sunday, April 2, 12:35 p.m. – Baum Stadium

Probable Starting Pitchers

UA: 7 Trey Holloway, LHP (2-0, 2.77 ERA)

UT: 34 Josh Lindblom, RHP (4-2, 2.91 ERA)

No. 21 Tennessee Visits Baum Stadium for SEC Showdown

No. 13 Arkansas enters this weekend’s series with 21st-ranked Tennessee coming off back-to-back extra-inning wins to improve to 21-5 on the season. Game times are set for 6:35 p.m. on Friday, 4:05 p.m. Saturday and 12:35 p.m. on Sunday.

The Razorbacks are tied with LSU for third in the SEC West with a 2-4 record. The Volunteers are sixth in the SEC East with a 1-4 conference record and 17-8 overall mark. UT had their Sunday, March 19, with Mississippi State in Starkville rained out.

The Razorback Baseball Radio Network will carry all three games with Chuck Barrett and Rick Schaeffer calling the action. RazorZone will also have live audio of all three games and a live webcast of the Friday and Sunday games.

Friday night will feature two of the best left-handed pitchers in the country taking the hill for the Hogs and Vols. Arkansas sends ace Nick Schmidt (4-2) to the hill after striking out 24 hitters over his last two starts. Tennessee counters with James Adkins who is 4-2 with a 3.04 ERA.

Charley Boyce will take the mound on Saturday opposite the Volunteers’ right-hander Craig Cobb. The right-handed Boyce is 2-0 on the season with a 4.26 ERA in 31.2 innings of work. He is 5.2 innings away from equaling Scott Tabor’s school record for innings pitched at 368. Cobb is 4-1 on the season with a 2.42 ERA.

The series finale will pit Arkansas’ left-handed Trey Holloway against UT’s right-handed Josh Lindblom. Holloway has been outstanding in two SEC starts the season against Florida and Georgia. He is 1-0 in SEC play with a 2.19 ERA. Holloway is 2-0 on the season with a 2.77 ERA. Lindblom is 4-2 with a 2.91 ERA. He is 0-2 in conference action with a 2.77 ERA.

Arkansas is hitting .299 as a team and scoring 6.7 runs per contest while the pitching staff boasts a 2.65 ERA with opponents hitting just .222. The Volunteers enter the series scoring 6.9 runs per game with a .314 batting average. The UT pitching staff has a 3.01 team ERA with opponents batting .229. The Tennessee staff strikes out 8.5 batters per game while issuing 3.7 walks.

UT leads the all-time series 21-16 while Arkansas holds a 10-8 advantage in Fayetteville.

Scouting the Volunteers

Tennessee enters the series ranked 21st nationally by Baseball America. The Volunteers are 17-7 on the season and 1-4 in SEC play. UT lost its first two SEC games of the season at Mississippi State, and had their Sunday, March 19, with the Bulldogs in Starkville rained out. Tennessee the took the opening game of the Kentucky series in Knoxville before dropping the final two.

The Tennessee offense is cruising along at a .314 clip overall and a .257 average in SEC play. The Vols are scoring 6.9 runs per game while averaging 10.4 hits per contest. Julio Borbon leads the Volunteers in hits with 39 and is second with a .386 batting average. Kelly Edmundson has a .393 average and a club best 20 RBI. J.P. Arencibia, UT’s catcher, is hitting .340 with four home runs and 19 RBI. Chris Kemp also has four home runs to equal Arencibia for the team lead.

On the mound, Tennessee boasts a 3.01 ERA while while striking out 8.5 batters per game and walking 3.7. LHP James Adkins is the staff ace with a 3.04 ERA and a 4-2 record in 47.1 innings this season. He has struck out 52 and walked 19. RHP Craig Cobb has been just as good in the No. 2 spot in the rotation. He is 4-1 with a 2.36 ERA in 45.2 innings of work while walking just seven and striking out 31. RHP Josh Lindblom will start on Sunday against the Hogs. He is 4-2 with a 2.91 ERA in 47.1 innings this season. The hard-throwing right-hander has 52 Ks and 19 walks this season. RHP Sean Watson handles the closing duties with six saves in 13 appearances this season. He also has three wins while striking out 19 and walking seven.

The Series: Tennessee leads the all-time series 21-16 after winning two-of-three games in Knoxville last season. The Hogs took the opener in 2005 with UA ace Nick Schmidt out-dueling first-round draft pick Luke Hochevar. Tennessee battled back to take the final two games of the series, 8-2 and 4-3. Arkansas leads the series in Fayetteville with a 10-8 advantage having won two-of-three games in 2004.

A Look at the Razorbacks’ Rotation

Tuesday – Nick Schmidt, LHP (4-2, 1.83 ERA) – Schmidt has lost both of his SEC starts this season because of errors and a lack of run support. He has fanned 24 batters in 13.2 innings over his last two starts, including a career-high 13 against Georgia. The Hogs have scored just three runs on eight hits for a .136 batting average in Schmidt’s last two starts. He does have two wins over ranked opponents this season (TCU and Hawai’i). Schmidt allowed his first three hits of the 2006 season against Louisiana Tech on Feb. 24 in the second game of a doubleheader with the Bulldogs. He tossed 13.2 hitless innings to open the season. Opposing hitters are now hitting .152 off Schmidt this season in 44.1 innings.

Saturday – Charley Boyce (2-0, 4.26 ERA) – Boyce will be making his 53rd career start as a Razorback on Saturday against the Volunteers. He picked up a no decision on Saturday, March 25, against Georgia. A week earlier at Florida he left in the seventh inning with a 7-0 lead but throwing errors helped erase the Hogs’ lead. Boyce allowed just one earned run to the Gators over six innings.

Sunday – Trey Holloway, LHP (2-0, 2.77 ERA) – Holloway has been masterful in his first two starts of the season (at Florida and Georgia) Holloway threw a career-high seven innings against the Bulldogs, allowing just one run on four hits. He made his first start in almost two years on short notice against Florida on Saturday, March 18. Holloway earned a 3-2 win over No. 13 Gators. He threw 5.1 innings, allowing just two runs on a home run by Gavin Dickey. He did not walk a batter and gave up just four hits.

Errors Costing Razorbacks

Errors have been costly for Arkansas in 2006. The Hogs’ .964 fielding percentage doesn’t appear that bad on paper, but an inability to overcome those errors has been devastating.

UA has a .966 fielding percentage in wins this season and a .950 fielding percentage in losses. The Razorbacks’ 29 unearned runs rank fourth in the SEC behind Auburn (37), Tennessee (36) and Florida (32).

Four-of-five Arkansas losses can be directly related to errors or defensive miscues. Errors have also forced the Razorbacks’ last two games into extra innings where Arkansas has produced a win.

Washington (2/28) – Two misplayed fly balls in the 1st inning result in four UW runs.

Florida (3/17) – Two 7th inning throwing errors cost Hogs a 3-1 lead in 6-3 loss.

Florida (3/19) – Two 7th inning throwing errors allow UF to overcome 7-0 deficit.

Georgia (3/25) – 8th inning error leads to game-winning two-run home run for UGA.

Arkansas High in RPI & ISR

The Razorbacks’ 21-5 overall record and 5-4 mark against ranked opponents have them flying high in Boyd’s World Pseudo-RPI and ISR rankings. 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.

Iterative Strength Ratings (ISR)

Team Rating Record

1 Cal St Fullerton 126.1 21-7

2 Mississippi St. 124.1 21-1

3 Arkansas 122.8 21-5

4 Georgia 122.6 18-6

5 Georgia Tech 121.1 21-4

Pseudo-Ratings Power Index (RPI)

Team Rating Record

1 Clemson 0.685 17-7

2 Georgia Tech 0.669 21-4

3 Mississippi St. 0.657 21-1

4 Alabama 0.651 20-8

5 Wake Forest 0.647 20-7

8 Arkansas 0.635 21-5

Hogs Battling Injuries Once Again

The Hogs’ training room has looked like a MASH unit over the past couple of weeks. Ben Tschepikow and James Ewing have left the chores at second base up to outfielder Stephen Robison and freshman Logan Forsythe.

Tschepikow underwent back surgery on Thursday, March 30, and is out for the remainder of the season while Ewing is sidelined with a stress fracture in his foot. He will not return for the Tennessee series and is doubtful for the Vanderbilt series next weekend.

RHP Josh Smith will also miss the entire season after undergoing back surgery earlier this spring.

Razorback Notebook

• The Razorbacks used extra innings for the second straight game on Tuesday night to knock off No. 17 Wichita State, 4-3, in 11 innings. Arkansas beat No. 25 Georgia, 5-4, in 10 innings on Sunday.

• The Arkansas bullpen threw six-scoreless innings in Tuesday’s win at No. 17 Wichita State. The UA bullpen did not allow a hit until the 11th inning.

• Chris Hollensworth connected for his first home run of the season last week to go along with two doubles while batting .467. He now has 13 doubles on the season to rank second in the SEC.

• Danny Hamblin connected for the first grand slam of his career on Saturday. Hamblin drove in seven runs last week and one against Wichita State to give him 37 on the season – just one off the SEC lead. He is just 12 shy of his career best of 49 he set as a sophomore.

Schmidt Not Getting Run Support

Arkansas LHP pitcher Nick Schmidt hasn’t got much run support over his last two outings. He set a new career high with 13 strikeouts in just seven innings last week against Georgia and fanned 11 the week before that at Florida. The 13 strikeouts were the most by a Arkansas pitcher since David Walling struck out 14 against South Carolina on May 16, 1999.

Arkansas hitters are batting just .136 in Schmidt’s last two starts (at Florida and Georgia), while scoring just three runs.

Rhoads Thriving in Bullpen Role

Chris Rhoads has taken to his new role out of the bullpen with two saves in five relief appearances. He has not allowed an earned run in 10 innings out of the bullpen while striking out striking out nine and walking just one. He is 3-2 on the season with 25 Ks and just two walks in 28.2 innings.

10 SEC Teams Ranked This Week

Ten of the 12 SEC teams were ranked in the top 25 of the Baseball America, USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ poll or the Collegiate Baseball rankings this week.

Baseball America has eight SEC teams ranked with Mississippi State at No. 1 with South Carolina fifth, Arkansas 13th, Florida 15th, LSU 16th, Kentucky 20th, Tennessee 21st and Georgia 22nd.

The USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ poll also has eight SEC teams ranked in the top 25, but excludes Kentucky and has Alabama ranked at No. 23.

Collegiate Baseball has nine teams ranked including Vanderbilt at No. 17, but dropped Florida from No. 9 to completely out of the top 30 after getting swept at No. 5 South Carolina.

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 23 hits and nine earned runs in 44.1 innings of work this season. That translates to a 1.83 ERA and a .189 opponent batting average. He has 56 strikeouts, including three double-digit strikeout performances (10 vs. La. Tech, 11 at Florida & 13 vs. Georgia).

His 13 strikeout performance against Georgia was a career best and the most by an Arkansas pitcher since Denny Walling fanned 14 against South Carolina on May 16, 1999.

Hamblin Scorching

Razorbacks’ junior first baseman Danny Hamblin is second in the SEC with 37 RBI, just one behind the league leader. Hamblin is hitting .324 on the season and leading the Hogs with seven home runs, a .588 slugging percentage and a SEC-best five sacrifice flies.

Hamblin had a 14-game hitting streak this season and has hit in 20-of-26 games. He has also recorded an RBI in 20-of-26 games this season. Hamblin leads the team in multiple-RBI games with 12 and is second in multiple-hit games with eight.

Ewing X2

Arkansas’ James Ewing in not the only freshman named Ewing to be making a splash on the college baseball scene in his rookie campaign. James has an identical-twin brother, Michael, who is starting at first base for the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.

James, UA’s starting second baseman, is leading the Hogs in hitting with a .382 batting average while driving in 10 runs and collecting three doubles.

Michael is hitting .307 for Southern Miss with two home runs and 12 RBI in 20 starts.

James is out until at the very least the Vanderbilt series with a stress fracture in his foot.

OPS Becoming Telling Stat

OPS or on-base percentage plus slugging percentage has become a popular way of better using statistics to identify a players true productivity at the plate. The following is a quick look at Arkansas’ top hitters according to OPS.

Player Slugging % On-Base % OPS

Craig Gentry .627 .478 1.105

Chris Hollensworth .595 .473 1.068

Danny Hamblin .588 .393 .981

Jake Dugger .500 .441 .941

James Ewing .436 .485 .491

Matt Willard .439 .442 .881

Stephen Robison .435 .424 .859

Boyce Climbing Up Arkansas’ Record Books

Charley Boyce is climbing up the Arkansas record books each time he takes the field. The senior from Broken Arrow, Okla., is the school’s all-time leader in career starts with 53.

He is just 5.2 innings shy of Scott Tabor’s school record of 368 innings pitched. Boyce has thrown 362.1 innings in his Razorback career. Boyce is second in career victories (29) and third in career appearances (754). He is also tied for ninth in career strikeouts with 219.

His sophomore and junior seasons also rank as some of the best in school history. Boyce’s 11 wins last season are tied for the third-most in a single season, while his 10 victories in 2004 are tied for eighth. His 19 starts in 2004 are tied for the most in school history. Boyce’s 122.1 innings in 2005 are the second-most in a single season in school history, while his 115.1 innings in 2004 rank eighth.

Boyce Looking for Career Win No. 30

Arkansas senior right-hander Charley Boyce will be looking to become only the second Razorback pitcher in school history to record 30 wins over a career. 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 29-18 and a 2-0 mark this season. He posted six wins in 2003, 10 wins in 2004 and 11 wins as a junior last season.

Newcomers Shining for Hogs

Several newcomers have stepped into the everyday lineup and pitching rotation to help Arkansas open with a 21-5 record.

James Ewing, a true freshman from Beaumont, Texas, has flourished early in his Razorback career. He is leading the team with a .382 batting average. Ewing has won the everyday job at second base. He has three doubles and 10 RBI. He will miss the next several weeks with a fractured foot.

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 .365 with two doubles, a home run and 10 RBI. His 11th-inning RBI single at Wichita State led the Hogs to a 4-3 win. With the loss of John Henry Marquardt, Willard is now the Hogs’ starting shortstop.

David Hum and Wayne Hrozek have shared the DH duties in 2006. Hum has 10 starts and a .244 batting average while Hrozek is hitting .349 in 11 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 2.51 ERA and two save in 28.2 innings of work.

Logan Forsythe had his redshirt pulled this past week, starting the Hogs’ last six games. He is hit .261 (6 for 23) with a home run, a double and a walk. His home run came on his 21st career at bat and allowed the Razorbacks to take Wichita State into extra innings before earning the win.

Gentry Sparking the Hogs’ Offense

Arkansas center fielder Craig Gentry returned to the Razorbacks’ lineup March 10 against Cal State Northridge. The senior had missed eight starts with a broken hand. Since that time Gentry has been on fire with a .395 batting average, six doubles, a triple, a home run and six RBI. He has swiped seven bases and laid down three sacrifice bunts.

Arkansas Running Wild Again This Season

Dave Van Horn’s Razorbacks are up to their old tricks again this season. Arkansas has swiped 48 bases in 70 attempts for an average of 1.85 per contest. UA was second in the SEC a year ago with 108 stolen bases after leading the league in 2004 with 112 pilfers. The school record for stolen bases in a season is 155 set in 1983. The Hogs would need to average 2.77 stolen bases per game in a 56-game regular season to surpass the 1983 club.

Download: Tennessee Release.pdf



Sports Category : Baseball