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Razorbacks to Face Minnesota, San Diego State,

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Razorbacks to Face Minnesota, San Diego State,
Back in the national rankings for the first time since the 2000 preseason rankings, the University of Arkansas Razorbacks (8-3) travel to Minneapolis, Minn., this weekend to compete in the Hormel Foods Baseball Classic at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.

UA will face host Minnesota (4-5) Friday at 6:30 p.m. CT, San Diego State (8-5) Saturday at 7 p.m. CT and No. 4 Miami (12-3) Sunday at 11 a.m. CT.

THE ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS

Led by 32nd-year head coach Norm DeBriyn, Arkansas enters the weekend 8-3 after an 8-4 loss to Northwestern (La.) State on Tuesday that snapped the Hogs’ seven-game winning streak overall and nine-game winning streak at Baum Stadium. The loss came on the heels of last weekend’s sweep of a weather-plagued, three-game series against Eastern Illinois. UA won Friday’s game, 6-2, and won both games of Sunday’s doubleheader, 10-4 and 17-4.

The sweep propelled Arkansas to a No. 21 ranking in this week’s Collegiate Baseball newspaper poll – UA’s first appearance in the national polls since Collegiate Baseball’s 2000 preseason rankings.

UA returns 15 lettermen and six starting position players from last year’s team that finished 24-30 and failed to earn an NCAA postseason bid for the first time since 1997. An 8-20 Southeastern Conference record left the Hogs in sixth place in the SEC Western Division and locked them out of the SEC Tournament for the first time since joining the league prior to the 1992 season.

THE MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS

Under the direction of 20th year head coach John Anderson, the Minnesota Golden Gophers bring a 4-5 record into the Hormel Foods Baseball Classic. The Golden Gophers won the final two games of last weekend’s three-game series at South Florida to snap a four-game losing streak.

THE SAN DIEGO STATE AZTECS

Led by 30th-year head coach Jim Dietz, San Diego State brings an 8-5 record into the Twin Cities for the Hormel Foods Baseball Classic. Saturday’s game will be the first-ever meeting between the Aztecs and the Razorbacks.

SDSU is riding a four-game winning streak after a win over California-Riverside Feb. 18 and a three-game sweep of Gonzaga last weekend.

THE MIAMI HURRICANES

Now in his 20th season as a head coach and eighth at Miami, head coach Jim Morris has guided the Hurricanes to a 12-3 record and national rankings of No. 4 by Baseball America, No. 7 by Baseball Weekly and No. 8 by Collegiate Baseball.

UM has won three in a row and six of its last seven, with a loss to Florida International on Feb. 21 the only blemish during that span.

STARTING PITCHERS

Arkansas’ pitching rotation for the weekend will consist of junior LHP Layne Berry (0-1, 2.53 ERA) Friday against Minnesota, freshman RHP Scott Roehl (0-0, 7.71 ERA) Saturday against San Diego State and junior RHP Charlie Isaacson (2-1, 3,26 ERA) Sunday against Miami.

Minnesota will start junior righthander Mike Kubow (0-1, 8.04 ERA) against the Razorbacks. San Diego State has not announced a starter for its game against UA. Miami will start junior RHP Tom Farmer (3-0, 3.57 ERA) Sunday against the Hogs.

RAZORBACK SHORT HOPS

NEVER GIVE UP: Arkansas has come from behind to win five of its last seven games. UA trailed Long Beach State 4-1 after 3 1/2 innings on Saturday before scoring 11 unanswered for a 12-4 win. The next day, UA rallied from a 4-0 deficit after 4 1/2 innings to win, 6-4. The Hogs trailed Oklahoma City 3-2 after 4 1/2 innings on Wednesday, but rallied for a 14-4 victory. Last Friday, UA rallied from a 2-0 deficit after 2 1/2 innings to defeat Eastern Illinois, 6-2. The Hogs were tied with but never trailed the Panthers in a 10-4 win in Sunday’s first game, but rallied from a 4-2 deficit after 4 1/2 innings with 15 unanswered runs for a 17-4 victory in the nightcap… TO ERROR IS HUMAN, TO IMPROVE IS DIVINE: After commiting 14 errors in their first six games – including three games in which the Hogs committed three errors – UA has played error-free in four of its last five games and has allowed just two unearned runs in that span… TURN TWO: The Hogs have turned 1 double plays while hitting into just five, two of which were line-drive double plays… WHO’S ON FIRST: UA’s first base tandem of Ryan Fox and Nick Pitts are a combined 5-for-43 with two extra-base hit and nine strikeouts to date this season… WISHYFUL THINKING: Freshman OF Andrew Wishy is making a bid for playing time with eight hits, a home run, two doubles, seven RBI and a .929 slugging percentage in just 134at-bats. In addition to being one of the Hogs’ key newcomers this season, Wishy is an accomplished vocalist and pianist. A music major at Arkansas, he is a member of UA’s Schola Cantorum vocal group.

THE HORMEL FOODS BASEBALL CLASSIC

The four-team event will begin Friday with the Hurricanes facing San Diego State at 12:15 p.m. CT, followed by the Razorbacks and Golden Gophers at 6:30 p.m. CT. On Saturday, Miami and Minnesota will meet at 1:30 p.m. CT, followed by UA and SDSU at 7 p.m. CT. The Hogs will take on the fourth-ranked Hurricanes Sunday at 11 a.m. CT, followed by San Diego State and Minnesota at 3 p.m. CT.

The event features four head coaches who own a combined 3,818-2,087-29 career record for a .646 winning percentage in 102 years of total head coaching experience.

Following Sunday’s SDSU-Minnesota game, a brief ceremony will be held to award the team championship trophy, announce the all-tournament team and award the Easton Silver Stick Award for the starting player with the highest batting average during the event. The championship will be awarded to the team with the best record after the completion of the round-robin format. If two teams tie for the best record, head-to-head competition will determine the champion. If three teams tie for the best record, the champion will be determined by subtracting runs allowed from runs scored during the event. The team with the greatest number using this formula will be declared the champion.

The event will mark the second time the Razorbacks have competed in an event at the Metrodome, home of Major League Baseball’s Minnesota Twins. UA went 1-2 at the 1999 Oscar Mayer Baseball Classic, earning a win over Minnesota before falling to Georgia Tech and Cal State Fullerton. It will be the Hogs’ first time to play in a domed venue since competing in the 1998 Winn-Dixie Showdown at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.
HORMEL FOODS BASEBALL CLASSIC
HUBERT H. HUMPHREY METRODOME
MINNEAPOLIS, MINN.
MARCH 2-4, 2001
FRIDAY, MARCH 2
Miami (Fla.) vs. San Diego State – 12:15 p.m. CT
Arkansas at Minnesota – 6:30 p.m. CT
SATURDAY, MARCH 3
Miami (Fla.) at Minnesota – 1:30 p.m. CT
San Diego State vs. Arkansas – 7 p.m. CT
SUNDAY, MARCH 4
Arkansas vs. Miami (Fla.) – 11 a.m. CT
San Diego State at Minnesota – 3 p.m. CT

DeBRIYN REACHES 1,100-WIN PLATEAU

With Arkansas’ 25-6 win over MISSOURI SOUTHERN on opening day, UA head coach Norm DeBriyn became the 17th head coach in history to earn 1,100 wins at the NCAA Division I level.

With a career record of 1,107-596-6 – all in his 32 seasons at Arkansas – DeBriyn owns the ninth-highest win total among active Division I head coaches. He reached another milestone on Feb. 9 when he coached his 1,700th game as head coach of the Razorbacks

The Ashland, Wis., native has eared conference coach-of-the-year honors seven times, most recently in 1999. That season, DeBriyn was named Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year after guiding the Razorbacks to a 22-8 SEC record and their first SEC overall and Western Division titles.

ARKANSAS’ LAST GAME
Feb. 27, 2001
Northwestern (La.) State 8
Arkansas 4
Baum Stadium at George Cole Field
Fayetteville, Ark.

Northwestern (La.) State pitcher Carl Makowsky held Arkansas scoreless after the fourth inning in a complete-game victory as the Demons defeated the 21st-ranked Razorbacks, 8-4, Tuesday at Baum Stadium.

Northwestern State (10-4) snapped Arkansas’ (8-3) seven-game winning streak with its first win over the Razorbacks in 11 all-time meetings. The loss also snapped UA’s nine-game home winning streak.

Makowsky (2-0) threw 150 pitches and gave up all four UA runs on 10 hits with five strikeouts and five walks in his first complete game of the season. UA starter LHP Wes McCrotty (2-1) gave up four runs on three hits and lasted just 1 1/3 innings.

NSU staked Makowsky to an early lead and chased McCrotty during a six-run outburst in the top of the second inning, highlighted by back-to-back home runs by Jordan Robison and Tyler Durham off Hog reliever RHP Scott Woods.

Arkansas answered with two runs in the bottom of the second on a sacrifice fly by OF Michael Conner and a wild pitch that scored 3B Cody Clark.

Durham doubled off UA reliever RHP Justin Leraris to lead off the top of the fourth and scored on a groundout for a 7-2 NSU lead. The Razorbacks trimmed the deficit to 7-4 in the bottom of the inning on IF Brett Hagedorn’s two-out, two-run double – his 10th two-out hit and 13th and 14th two-out RBI of the season.

The Demons plated their final run when Jeramie Hale scored on wild pitch by UA reliever LHP Jared Manatt in the top of the eighth. Arkansas loaded the bases with two out in the bottom of the ninth and brought the tying run to the plate, but Makowsky got Clark to fly out to end the game.

WASHBURN CONTINUES TO PACE THE HOGS

After being named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week last week, senior C Kyle Washburn continues to pace the Razorbacks with a .389 batting average.

A product of Southside High School in Fort Smith, Ark., and a former transfer from Westark College in Fort Smith, Washburn went 5-for-7 with four RBI and three runs scored to help the Razorbacks sweep a two-game series against Long Beach State with a pair of comeback victories Feb. 17 and 18 at Baum Stadium.

Washburn delivered a pair of two-out doubles in the Feb. 17 win over LBSU in which the Hogs rallied from a 4-0 deficit after 4 1/2 innings for a 6-4 victory. His two-out, two-run double in the fifth inning cut the 49ers’ lead to 4-3 and he tied the game at 4-4 with a two-out, RBI double in the seventh. The Razorbacks scored two more runs in the seventh to claim their third-consecutive win and fourth in a row against ranked opponents. Long Beach State was ranked 15th in that week’s Collegiate Baseball poll.

After starting 50 of Arkansas’ 54 games last season at third base, Washburn moved behind the plate for the 2001 season. He is the first UA player to receive a weekly honor from the league since LHP Jared Manatt was named the final SEC Pitcher of the Week last year and the first Hog to named SEC Player of the Week since 1B Rodney Nye earned the honor on March 30, 1998.

ISAACSON RETURNING TO 1999 FORM

Junior RHP Charlie Isaacson is off to a 2-1 start and is showing no ill effects of the shoulder injury that sidearned him last season. He earned his first pitching victory since opening day of the 2000 season when he got the win in the 6-4 triumph over Long Beach State on Feb. 17.

After a two-inning stint in the Hogs’ season opener, Isaacson started and suffered his second collegiate defeat in a 2-4 loss at UTSA Feb. 10 despite allowing just one earned run and three hits while striking out six in 6 2/3 innings.

Isaacson made just three appearances and logged just 6.0 innings last season before tendonitis in his right (throwing) shoulder ended his sophomore season. Although Isaacson is officially listed as a junior this season, UA can petition the NCAA for an additional year of eligibility for the Overland Park, Kan., native once he completes his senior season.

In 1999, Isaacson posted a 9-0 record and 3.16 earned-run average and was named second-team All-America by the American Baseball Coaches Association, first-team All-Southeastern Conference, and a Freshman All-American by Baseball Weekly, Baseball America (first team) and Collegiate Baseball (first team).

CROSSETT’S STREAK SNAPPED WITH 0-FOR-2 VS. OCU

Senior OF/DH Scott Crossett had his career-best hitting streak snapped at 17 games with an 0-for-2 performance in the Feb. 21 win over Oklahoma City. He had stretched his streak to 17 with one hit in each of the Razorbacks’ wins over Long Beach State. The Batesville, Ark., native finished the 2000 season with a 12-game hitting streak and hit safely in each of his first five games this season.

Expected to be the Razorbacks’ designated hitter for most games, Crossett returned to the UA outfield for the first time this season on Feb. 18 after undergoing surgery on his right (throwing) shoulder early last summer to repair damage done during an injury he suffered during his senior basketball season at Batesville High School.

HAGEDORN EMERGES AS CLUTCH HITTER

Redshirt freshman IF Brett Hagedorn has quickly emerged as the Razorbacks’ best clutch hitter. The Fort Smith, Ark., native enters the Hormel Foods Baseball Classic batting .318 (14-for-44) with a team-leading 16 RBI and tied for the team lead in home runs with two. He has thrived in pressure situations, going 10-for-18 with 13 RBI in two-out sitations.

Hagedorn has started 10 of UA’s 11 games – nine at second base and one at third – and has not committed an error in 51 fielding chances. His three-run homer gave the Hogs a lead they would not relinquish in a 14-4 win over Oklahoma City on Feb. 21. His two-run, two-out single in the bottom of the fourth inning gave the Hogs the lead for good in their 6-2 win over Eastern Illinois on Feb. 23.

THE SCHEDULE

Home series with Southeastern Conference rivals Georgia, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Tennessee and defending national champion LSU highlight the 2001 schedule.

In addition to the five SEC series, the 30-game home schedule includes a rain-shortened two-game series with Long Beach State Feb. 17-18 to open a seven-game homestand for the Hogs. The Razorbacks will play 28 games away from Baum Stadium, including single games against regional rivals Wichita State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Arkansas and OSU will meet on somewhat neutral territory April 24 at Drillers Stadium in Tulsa, Okla., at the Tulsa World Big 4 Baseball Bash.

“This is a real classy schedule in terms of the competition we’ll face and the trips we’ll make,” UA head coach Norm DeBriyn said, “especially when you throw in the SEC schedule. If we can do well with this schedule, it should help set us up well for postseason play.”

The Razorbacks will travel to Minneapolis, Minn., to participate in the Hormel Foods Baseball Classic March 2-4. Arkansas will play one game each against host Minnesota, San Diego State and Miami (Fla.) at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, home of the Minnesota Twins.

The Hogs will open conference play March 9 with a three-game series against 2000 SEC champion South Carolina. UA will also travel to Florida, Auburn, Kentucky and Alabama for three-game series in league play.

RAZORBACKS SEEKING RETURN TO POSTSEASON

Arkansas is looking to return to NCAA postseason play this year after missing the NCAA field last year for the first time since 1997. After reaching the title game of the Southeastern Conference Tournament in 1998 and 1999, Arkansas did not qualify for last year’s field, marking its first SEC tourney absence since joining the league in 1992.

FAMILY TIES

The father-son combination of Doug and Cody Clark is not the only family connection involving this year’s Razorback baseball team. Redshirt freshman IF Brett Hagedorn is the younger brother of former UA IF and four-year letterman Brad Hagedorn, who concluded his career last season. In addition, true freshman C Jason Reynolds is the son of former Razorback C Ronn Reynolds. In his two years at UA, the elder Reynolds was an All-America and All-Southwest Conference selection in 1979 and earned All-SWC Tournament honors in 1979 and 1980. He helped Arkansas to an NCAA regional appearance both years and was a member of the 1979 squad that made the school’s first appearance in the NCAA College World Series. Reynolds went on to enjoy a nine-year Major League Baseball career.

HOGS EXCEL IN THE CLASSROOM

While the Razorbacks endured a disappointing year on the field, 1999-2000 saw the Hogs place nine players on the 2000 Southeastern Conference Baseball Academic Honor Roll. Only South Carolina (12), Florida (10) and LSU (10) placed more student-athletes on the list. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must: (1) have a 3.0 grade-point average for either the past year (two semesters or three quarters) or a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher for his career; (2) be a sophomore or higher in terms of academic classification; and (3) have 24 semester or 36 quarter hours toward a degree.

The 2001 Razorbacks established a solid academic foundation this past fall with a team grade-point average of 3.01 to lead all UA men’s athletics teams. Twenty Hogs posted a GPA of 3.0 or better, including three with a 4.0 mark.



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