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Razorbacks Open 2005 Campaign on the Road in T

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Razorbacks Open 2005 Campaign on the Road in T

Arkansas Razorbacks (0-0, 0-0 SEC)
vs.
Dallas Baptist Patriots (1-0)
Texas-Arlington Mavericks (2-1)

Game 1: Arkansas at Dallas Baptist
Friday, Feb. 11, 3 p.m. (Dallas, Texas)
Probable Starting Pitchers
UA: 45 Charley Boyce, RHP
DB: 36 Rodney Brantly, RHP

Game 2: Arkansas vs. Dallas Baptist
Saturday, Feb. 12, Noon (Arlington, Texas)
Probable Starting Pitchers
UA: 33 Nick Schmidt, LHP
DB: TBA

Game 3: Arkansas at Texas-Arlington
Saturday, Feb. 12, 3:30 p.m. (Arlington, Texas)
Probable Starting Pitchers
UA: 32 James Gilbert, LHP
UTA: 24 Michael Gardner, RHP

Game 4: Arkansas at Texas-Arlington
Sunday, Feb. 13, Noon (Arlington, Texas)
Probable Starting Pitchers
UA: TBA
UTA: 31 Jake Baxter, RHP

Razorbacks Open 2005 Campaign on the Road in Texas

The University of Arkansas travels to the state of Texas this weekend to open its 2005 baseball season. The Razorbacks get things started on Friday with a 3 p.m. first pitch at Dallas Baptist.
UA is set to play a double header on Saturday against Dallas Baptist at noon and Texas-Arlington at 3:30 p.m. Both games on Saturday will be played at UTA’s Clay Gould Ballpark. The Razorbacks will wrap up the weekend trip with a Noon start against the Mavericks on Sunday at Clay Gould Ballpark.
Arkansas’ right-handed ace Charley Boyce will get the start in the opener on Friday. Boyce was 10-3 with a 3.20 ERA in 115.1 innings of work last season, including a 5-1 mark in SEC play. Left-handed freshman Nick Schmidt, from High Ridge, Mo., is slated to start in the second game against the Patriots on Saturday at noon. Sophomore James Gilbert will get the start in Saturday’s second game. Sunday’s start has not been set.
All four games this weekend can by be found on the ABRN with Rick Schaeffer handling the play-by-play duties on Friday and Chuck Barrett on Saturday and Sunday
Arkansas continues its seven-game season-opening road trip in Ruston, La., on Feb. 18-20, against Louisiana Tech. The Razorbacks open their home schedule on March 25 at 2:35 p.m. versus Minnesota. The series continues on Saturday and Sunday at 1:05 p.m.

A Look at the Weekend Rotation

Friday: Charley Boyce, RHP – Boyce gets the opening day start after a outstanding sophomore season in 2004. He went 10-3 with a 3.20 ERA in 115.1 innings of work. Boyce is the workhorse of the staff with pinpoint accuracy and great movement.
Saturday (Game 1): Nick Schmidt, LHP – Schmidt, a freshman out of High Ridge, Mo., and Vianney High School, is a big, 6-4, 220 pound, left-hander. He has excellent stuff to go along with great command.
Saturday (Game 2): James Gilbert, LHP – The left-handed Gilbert saw limited action out of the Razorbacks’ bullpen as a freshman in 2004. He pitched in five games with a 9.00 ERA in six innings of work. Gilbert has developed into one of Arkansas’ most consistent hurlers over the fall and early spring.
Sunday: TBD – Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn will most likely pick between transfers Josh Smith (a sophomore from Arizona State) and Lee Land (a redshirt freshman from Wake Forest).

Scouting Dallas Baptist

The Patriots are widely considered the best Division-I independent in the country now that the University of Miami has joined the Atlantic Coast Conference. Dallas Baptist is coming off of a 44-16 campaign last year and a NCCAA Championship. The Patriots are 1-0 on the season after 9-8 win over Texas Wesleyan on Feb. 5. Dallas Baptist is expected to start right-handed pitcher Rodney Brantley on Friday.

Scouting Texas-Arlington

The Mavericks opened their season at the Pan-American Tournament last weekend and posted a 2-1 record with wins over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Texas State. UTA’s lone loss was to tournament host Pan-American, 5-4. Texas-Arlington and Dallas Baptist will square off in Arlington on Thursday, Feb. 10. The Mavericks are led by RHP Jake Baxter, who is 1-0 on the season after pitching five scoreless innings in a 3-0 win over Teas A&M-Corpus Christi on Feb. 4. Offensively, Ryan Nelson has paced the Mavericks with a .500 average with Justin Stevens just behind with a .444 average.

Razorbacks Get Preseason Attention

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.

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.

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.

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 Razorbacks this season. While 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. Land pitched for Wake Forest last season before his injury and was 1-0 with two saves and a 0.00 ERA in 10.1 innings of work over seven appearances. Smith was never able to take the mound for the Sun Devils and is now in Fayetteville looking for a chance to prosper. Walker, a native of Tulsa, Okla. and Union High School, reshirted with Arizona State last season before making the move to Arkansas late in the summer.

Returning Freshmen All-Americans Provide Spark

The Razorbacks return two freshmen All-Americans from a year ago in current sophomores Jake Dugger and Danny Hamblin. Hamblin hit .304 with a eight home runs while driving in 42 RBI. He will make the move to first base full time after serving as the Arkansas’ DH most of last season. Dugger batted .293 with eight home runs and 44 RBI in 2004. He will start in one of the corner outfield spots after being named to the SEC All-Tournament team.



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