(33-13, 9-12 SEC)
(31-13, 14-7 SEC)
TV: SUN (Fri.)/Cox (Sun.)
Game 47: Florida at Arkansas (SUN)
Friday, May 6, 7:07 p.m. – Baum Stadium
Probable Starting Pitchers
UA: 33 Nick Schmidt, LHP (6-1, 2.66 ERA)
UF: 44 Bryan Ball, RHP (5-2, 2.88 ERA)
Game 48: Florida at Arkansas
Saturday, May 7, 3:05 p.m. – Baum Stadium
Probable Starting Pitchers
UA: 34 Shaun Seibert, RHP (5-1, 2.84 ERA)
UF: 32 Alan Horne, RHP (5-2, 4.71 ERA)
Game 49: Florida at Arkansas (Cox)
Sunday, May, 8 12:07 p.m. – Baum Stadium
Probable Starting Pitchers
UA: 19 Josh Smith, RHP (1-1, 3.23 ERA)
UF: 48 Tommy Boss, RHP (5-3, 4.70 ERA)
Razorbacks Host SEC Leader Florida at Baum Stadium This Weekend The Arkansas baseball team returns home to the friendly confines of Baum Stadium for a three-game series against SEC-leading Florida on Friday, May 6, at 7:07 p.m. The second game of the series is slated for 3:05 p.m. on Saturday with the series finale played at 12:07 p.m. on Sunday.
All three games can be heard on the Razorback Baseball Radio Network (see page six for complete listing). Chuck Barrett and Rick Schaeffer will call the action on RBRN. Sunday’s game will be televised locally on the Cox Sports channel.
Florida (31-13, 14-7 SEC), ranked as high as fourth in the national polls, enters the series with a 14-7 record in SEC play, which leads the both the SEC Eastern Division and is the best among all SEC teams. The Gators are coming off of series loss against Tennessee last weekend and a mid-week loss to intra-state rival Florida State.
The Razorbacks are 33-13 this season and 9-12 in SEC action. Arkansas is ranked 19th in the latest Sports Weekly/ESPN Coaches poll.
Left-handed freshman pitcher Nick Schmidt has been the one of the SEC’s top pitchers this season with a 6-1 record and a 2.66 ERA. He will get the start on Friday night opposite Florida’s Bryan Ball. Ball is a right-hander with a 5-2 record and a 2.88 ERA.
Saturday’s pitching match up pits the Hogs’ freshman right-hander Shaun Seibert (5-1, 2.84 ERA) against the Gators’ RHP Alan Horne (5-2, 4.71 ERA). It will be Seibert’s first start since April 17 at Tennessee. Arkansas will send sophomore transfer Josh Smith to the mound on Sunday for the first time since April 6. He is 1-1 this season with a 3.23 ERA. The Gators will counter with RHP Tommy Boss (5-3, 4.70 ERA).
A Look at the Rotation Friday: Nick Schmidt, LHP – Schmidt has steadily proven himself as not only the ace of the Razorbacks staff, but one of the better young pitchers in the country. The tall, left-handed freshman from High Ridge, Mo., is 6-1 with a 2.66 ERA, having allowed just three earned runs over the past 18 innings. Schmidt also leads the team in strikeouts with 54 in 64.1 innings and opponent batting average a .216. Schmidt’s fastball has consistently been clocked at 90-92 mph, and topped out at 94 mph.
Saturday: Shaun Seibert, RHP – Seibert has had a little bit of a roller coaster season. The freshman from Edwardsville, Ill., has outstanding numbers at 5-1 with a 2.84 ERA, but has struggled with his control and consistency at times this season. He has been pitching better over the past several weeks out of the bullpen. Seibert has allowed just four earned runs over his seven outings that spans 20 innings.
Sunday: Josh Smith, RHP – Smith hasn’t started since April 6, but the flame-throwing right-hander has been effective out of the bullpen. Coming off Tommy John surgery just over a year ago, Smith will not go deep into the game, but the Hogs’ coaching staff will be looking for three to five strong innings. Smith’s fastball has touched 96 this season and sits on 92-93 mph. He tossed three-scoreless innings in relief last Sunday at Kentucky, striking out four.
Scouting the Gators Florida is ranked as high as fourth nationally and leads both the SEC’s Eastern Division and the overall SEC standings at 14-7. They have a 33-13 mark after losing two-of-three games against Tennessee last weekend and dropping a mid-week game to FSU.
The Gators have a powerful lineup (.304 as a team and 56 home runs) with All-America candidate Jeff Corsaletti leading the way with a .391 average. Matt LaPorta supplies the power with a SEC-best 17 home runs and 53 RBI. Behind the plate UF has Brian Jeroloman who leads the SEC in runners caught stealing with 27.
On the mound, UF sends three solid right-handed starters to the hill. Bryan Ball (5-2, 2.88 ERA) gets the start on Friday with Alan Horne (5-2, 4.71) starting on Saturday and Tommy Boss (5-3, 4.70 ERA) pitching on Sunday. The UF pitching staff has a 3.83 ERA, including a 4.40 mark in SEC play.
Looking back at the Week Saturday, April 30: Gm 1 – Arkansas 8, Kentucky 5 – The Hogs had to play a double header on Saturday after Friday night’s game was washed out. Brian Walker and Ben Tschepikow paced the Arkansas with three hits each as the offense pounded out eight runs on 12 hits. Walker cracked his sixth home run of the season and drove in two runs. Nick Schmidt earned the win with six strong innings to improve to 6-1.
Saturday, April 30: Gm 2 – Kentucky 11, Arkansas 8 – UK jumped out to an early lead 8-1 lead that the Hogs couldn’t quite overcome. Daryl Maday started and was rocked, allowing six runs in one inning of work. Chris Hollensworth hit two home runs and picked up four hits. UA got as close at 8-7, but John Shelby made sure the Wildcats didn’t blow the lead with three home runs.
Sunday, May 1: Kentucky 7, Arkansas 1 – A five-run fourth inning doomed the Razorbacks. Starter Lee Land cruised through the first three innings, facing the minimum, but he ran into trouble in the fourth, allowing five hits. Blake Parker hits his ninth home run of the season to score the Hogs’ only run.
Hamblin Gets Tryout for USA Baseball Arkansas first baseman Danny Hamblin was one of the first 13 players invited to participate in the 2005 USA Baseball National Team Trials on June 27-30 in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Hamblin leads the Razorbacks in batting average (.362), home runs (10), RBI (41), doubles (16), slugging percentage (.656) and on-base percentage (.431).
The 2005 USA Baseball National Team will be selected from a pool of 36 players and be managed by Baylor Head Coach Steve Smith. Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn will be an assistant on the team along with John Cohen of Kentucky and Rob Walton of Oral Roberts. The 20-man team roster will be announced on July 1.
Marquardt to Miss Series With Knee Injury Arkansas’ starting second baseman John Henry Marquardt will miss the Florida series after having his knee scoped on Monday, May 2. Marquardt has missed the last five games with the knee injury. He has not played since the Saturday, April 23, game with LSU. Marquardt replaced Scott Bridges at second base when he was suspended. He is hitting .375 with two home runs and 23 RBI.
Hogs Break SEC Series Attendance Record Arkansas broke the SEC series attendance record against LSU on April 22-24 with 26,007 tickets sold. The previous mark was held by Mississippi State with 25,868 against Georgia. Arkansas drew 25,091 in actual attendance. On Friday, 8,806 tickets were sold with 8,593 fans in attendance. Saturday was the Hogs first regular-season sellout (9,133) with 9,012 fans at the game. The Razorbacks broke the record on Sunday with 8,068 tickets sold and 7,486 fans in attendance.
Boyce Regains Swagger in Bullpen
A move to the bullpen was just what the doctor order for Arkansas’ junior right-hander Charley Boyce. Since making the move to the pen after his Saturday, April 2, start at Auburn, Boyce has a 2.87 ERA and a 3-2 record and three saves. He has made 10 appearances out of the bullpen and pitched 31.1 innings – 11 more innings than any Arkansas starter during that stretch. He has allowed just eight earned runs. Boyce has struck out 14 and walked just four during that time.
Brian Walker Starting to Produce at the Plate Catcher Brian Walker is finally discovering how productive he can be at the plate. The redshirt freshman led the Hogs in hitting throughout the fall, but struggled through the first half of the season and never seemed to catch a break.
After letting the average dip as low as .177, the catcher with a strong arm and excellent defensive instincts, has begun to display the power he is capable of. He is hitting .375 with three home runs and seven RBI since the final game of the Tennessee series – a stretch of nine games. He hit two home runs and drove in a career-best five RBI at SMS on April 19. Walker has raised his average to .234 on the season.
‘The HAMMER’ Powering the Hogs Offense Danny Hamblin, nicknamed ‘The Hammer’ by Hogs’ assistant coach and hitting instructor Matt Deggs and recently picked up by Baseball America’s Will Kimmey, is living up to his name. Hamblin leads the team in batting average (.362), home runs (10), hits (59), doubles (16), slugging % (.656), on-base % (.431) and total bases 107. He has been even hotter in the month of April, hitting .408 since April 2 with seven home runs and 24 RBI.
Razorbacks Ranked 19th by Coaches Arkansas dropped to 19th in this week’s Sports Weekly/ESPN Coaches Poll. The Razorbacks dropped out of the Baseball America poll. The NCBWA poll has the Hogs 20th and Collegiate Baseball has UA 28th.
Schmidt Listed on Baseball America’s Midseason Report Freshman Nick Schmidt was listed as a freshman All-America in Baseball America’s midseason college baseball report that was released in the middle of April. Schmidt has established himself as the Hogs’ Friday night starter with a 6-1 record and a 2.66 ERA. He is second on the team with 58.0 innings pitched and leads the team with an opponent batting average of .216. The High Ridge, Mo., native has made 12 starts this season and two appearances out of the bullpen.
Gentry Sets New School Record Craig Gentry collected 10 straight hits last week to break the school record of nine set by Brett Harrison in 1983. Gentry picked up hits in his final three at bats versus SMS on April 13 and then went 4-for-4 on April 15. He broke the record on Saturday with hits in his first three at bats. He also hit his first home run as a Razorback on April 16 at Tennessee. During that stretch he hit .591 with three doubles and six RBI.
Home Run Record Falls at ORU Arkansas connected for a team-record eight home runs at Oral Roberts on Tuesday, April 12, at J.L. Johnson Stadium. The eight home runs bested the previous record of seven set on May 23, 1985, in the NCAA South II Regional in Tallahassee, Fla., against Eastern Kentucky. Danny Hamblin led the way by tying a school record of three home runs in a game. Blake Parker went deep twice with John Henry Marquardt and Ben Tschepikow also connecting for home runs.
Speed Kills for the Razorbacks Again in 2005 Arkansas led the SEC with 111 stolen bases last season and they are doing it again in 2005. The Razorbacks have swiped a league-best 93 bases, including 11 on Sunday, March 13 against Eastern Illinois. Scott Bridges tied the school record earlier this season with four stolen bases against Louisiana Tech on Feb. 20, a game where the Razorbacks stole 10 bases as a team.
School Stolen Base Record a Possibility in 2005 With most of the Razorbacks starting lineup a threat on the base paths, Arkansas could make a realistic run at the school record for stolen bases in a season. The Hogs have 93 stolen bases through the first 46 games of the season. The school record for stolen bases is 155 set by Norm Debriyn’s 1983 club. Arkansas is averaging 2.02 stolen bases per game so far this season. The Razorbacks are on pace to steal 113 bases in a 56-game season. But with postseason play the record is still a possibility for the 2005 Hogs.
Bullpen Getting it Done for the Hogs Arkansas bullpen has been the most trusted component to the Hogs’ 2005 pitching staff. The Hogs’ pen boasts a 3.17 ERA, compared to the starter’s ERA of 4.06. The Razorback bullpen has a 20-4 record and has pitched more innings than the starters (224.0 bullpen; 184.0 starters).
Fans Filling Baum Stadium at Record Pace Arkansas has already drawn 106,297 fans to Baum Stadium this season. That averages out to 4,832 per game in actual attendance. The SEC reports tickets sold instead of actual attendance and the Hogs have sold the second most tickets in the SEC at 152,991 and average of 6,954. UA’s series with LSU drew 26,002 fans, which is a new SEC record.
Hogs Feature Deep Bench After playing virtually the same lineup all of last season, Head Coach Dave Van Horn has more flexibility this season. Arkansas has 16 position players that have made starts this season with 12 of those making at least 16 starts.
Boyce Climbing Arkansas Career Charts Charley Boyce is climbing up the Arkansas career record books each time he takes the field. The junior from Tulsa, Okla., is eighth in games started (41), tied for fifth in career victories (23) and fourth in all-time innings pitched (282.2).
Arkansas Catchers Gunning Them Down One of the biggest questions of the off season was who was going to replace Brady Toops behind the plate for the Hogs. That question was answered rather quickly with the emergence of freshman Brain Walker. He has thrown out 42 (15-36) percent of runners that have tried to steal on him. Walker threw out six straight base runners and was 5 for 5 in conference play before the Saturday game at Auburn. Blake Parker and Clint Arnold have also seen time behind the plate and have combined with Walker to throw out 56 percent of base stealers. Arnold has thrown out 50 percent (5-10) and Parker 67 percent (4-6).
Game-Winning Hits Danny Hamblin leads the Hogs with four game-winning hits this season. Clay Goodwin is close behind with three. Ben Tschepikow has the Hogs only walk-off it this season.
Van Horn Gets 100th Win at Arkansas Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn won his 100th game as the skipper of the Razorbacks on Wednesday, March 23 at Centenary. He became the quickest coach in school history to 100 wins, accomplishing the feat in just 148 games. Van Horn has 433 career Division-I wins and 698 in his head coaching career. He took over the Razorback program in 2003 and led them to 35 wins and followed that with 45 wins and a trip to the College World Series in 2004. Van Horn has led his Hogs to 33 wins this season.
Holloway Could be Lost for Season Trey Holloway underwent surgery on Friday, April 8 to place a screw in his left elbow after suffering a stress fracture his elbow against Centenary on March 23. Holloway could return for the stretch run in late May. He is also eligible for a medical redshirt and could return next season for the Hogs.
Rowlett and Bridges Suspended Indefinitely Center fielder Casey Rowlett and Scott Bridges were suspended indefinitely on March 29. Rowlett was leading the Hogs with a .473 batting average and Bridges was second with a .410 average. No time table has been set for their return.
SEASON NOTES Coming off the SEC Championship and a trip to the College World Series last season, Arkansas has the college baseball world’s attention heading into the 2005 season. The Razorbacks were ranked 24th by the Preseason Sports Weekly/ESPN Coaches Poll and 26th in Baseball America’s preseason rankings. Collegiate Baseball also ranked the Hogs at 33rd. Arkansas is currently ranked 25th in the coaches’ poll and 29th in the NCBWA poll.
Razorbacks Get Preseason Attention
SEC Coaches Pick the Razorbacks 3rd in the Western Division The Southeastern Conference coaches picked Arkansas third in the SEC’s Western division in their annual preseason poll.
The Razorbacks were picked last in the SEC West prior to the 2004 campaign and proved the critics wrong by winning the SEC title. Arkansas garnered 46 points in the 2005 poll’s Western Division behind LSU’s 66 points and 11 first-place votes and Ole Miss’ 51 points and one first-place vote.
Van Horn Named USA Baseball Assistant for Summer of 2005 USA Baseball and 2005 National Team Head Coach Steve Smith of Baylor picked Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn to serve as an assistant coach on the 2005 USA Baseball National Team.
The team will represent the United States this summer internationally. Joining Van Horn as assistants will be Kentucky Head Coach John Cohen and Oral Roberts Head Coach Rob Walton. Steve Smith of Baylor will serve as Team USA’s head coach this summer. In June, USA Baseball will invite 36 of the nation’s top freshman and sophomore collegiate players to the USA Baseball National Team Trials in Raleigh.
Hamblin, Boyce Second-Team All-SEC Picks SEBaseball.com First baseman Danny Hamblin and starting right-handed pitcher Charley Boyce were picked to SEBaseball.com’s second-team preseason All-Conference team, while shortstop Scott Hode was a third-team selection. SEBaseball.com also picked the Razorbacks to finish third in the SEC Western Division this season, behind LSU and Ole Miss.
Transfers to Play Important Role for Arkansas Division-I transfers Josh Smith (Arizona State) and Lee Land (Wake Forest) will play an important role on the mound for the Hogs this season. Catcher Brian Walker, another ASU transfer, will get the start behind the plate. Both Smith and Land are coming off arm injuries last season, but are ready to go for the 2005 season.
Razorbacks Pick Captains for 2005 The Razorbacks selected their 2005 captains by a vote of the team prior to the start of the season. Senior outfielder Casey Rowlett, senior shortstop Scott Hode and junior pitcher Charley Boyce were chosen to represent the Razorbacks this season.