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Razorbacks Wrap Up Seven-Game Road Trip at Lou

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Razorbacks Wrap Up Seven-Game Road Trip at Lou

Arkansas Razorbacks
(4-0, 0-0 SEC)
vs.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (3-3)

Radio: Arkansas Baseball Radio Network

Game 1: Arkansas at Louisiana Tech
Friday, Feb. 18, 6 p.m. – J.C. Love Field
Probable Starting Pitchers
UA: 33 Nick Schmidt, LHP (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
LT: 22 Clayton Meyer, RHP (1-1, 4.50 ERA)

Game 2: Arkansas at Louisiana Tech
Saturday, Feb. 19, 1 p.m. – J.C. Love Field
Probable Starting Pitchers
UA: 45 Charley Boyce, RHP (1-0, 3.18 ERA)
LT: 10 Brandon Hudson, RHP (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Game 3: Arkansas at Louisiana Tech
Saturday, Feb. 20, 1 p.m. – J.C. Love Field
Probable Starting Pitchers
UA: TBA
LT: 18 Andrew Lassere, LHP (0-1, 9.82 ERA)

Razorbacks Wrap Up Seven-Game Road Trip at Louisiana Tech

The 23rd-ranked Arkansas baseball team wraps up a season-opening, seven-game road trip this weekend with a three game series at Louisiana Tech. The Razorbacks are coming off two-game sweeps of Dallas Baptist and Texas-Arlington in Texas last weekend.
The Louisiana Tech series opens on Friday at 6 p.m. at the Bulldogs’ J.C. Love Field. Both the Saturday and Sunday games are slated to start at 1 p.m. All three games can be heard on the Razorback Baseball Radio Network with Chuck Barrett calling the action.
Arkansas (4-0) boasts a team ERA of 0.97 through the first four games of the season. The Hogs have allowed only six runs (four earned) and are holding opponents to a .227 batting average. The Razorbacks are hitting .321 as a team with four home runs and a .464 slugging percentage. UA is stealing bases at a torrid clip again this season, having stolen 8-of-10 bases so far.
Louisiana Tech (3-3) was swept by Louisiana-Lafayette to even its record after sweeping McNeese State to open the season. The Bulldogs are hitting .225 as a team with one home run, a .311 slugging percentage and a .299 on-base percentage.
Arkansas Freshman Nick Schmidt (1-0, 0.00 ERA), coming off an outstanding first start, will get the nod in the series opener on Friday. Veteran Charley Boyce (1-0, 3.18 ERA) returns to his normal starting spot on Saturday. Sunday’s starter is TBA.

A Look at the Weekend Rotation

Friday: Nick Schmidt, LHP – Schmidt, a left-handed freshman out of High Ridge, Mo., and Vianney High School, produced a commanding performance in his first start as a Razorback. He threw five-scoreless innings, allowing only three hits while striking out six.
Saturday: Charley Boyce, RHP – Boyce moves back to his familiar role as the Razorbacks’ Saturday starter. He is 1-0 on the season after beating Dallas Baptist in the Hogs’ opener last weekend. He pitched 5.2 innings and allowed five hits and three runs (two earned), while striking out two.
Sunday: TBD – Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn will make a decision prior to Sunday’s game. Sophomore James Gilbert or Josh Smith could be candidates for this spot.

Scouting Louisiana Tech

The Bulldogs are 3-3 entering their first home series of the year. Tech was swept in a three-game series at Louisiana-Lafayette last weekend. Tech had opened the season by sweeping three games at McNeese State. The Bulldogs are hitting just .225 as a team with only one home run. They have a .311 slugging percentage and a .299 on-base percentage. Gary Holik is Louisiana Tech’s leading hitter at .286, while Gil Laird (.174) leads the team with one home run and five RBI. The pitching staff has a 5.29 ERA in 51 innings of work. Opponents are hitting .285 as a team. Clayton Meyer (1-1, 4.50 ERA), Andrew Lassere (0-1, 9.82 ERA) and Mitch Tucker (0-1, 9.00 ERA) have served as the Bulldogs’ starting rotation in the first two series of the year. However, right-hander Brandon Hudson will get his first start of the season on Saturday, replacing Tucker. Hudson has thrown three innings and allowed only one hit this season.

Live Stats Link for Louisiana Tech Series

Live stats for Arkansas’ three-game series at Louisiana Tech can be found on the Bulldogs’ website www.latechsports.com. The exact address is http://www.latechsports.com/livestats/xlive.htm.

Bridges has Big Weekend

Scott Bridges’ clutch hitting proved to be the difference between the Razorbacks’ 4-0 start and a 2-2 start. He cracked a two-run home run in the seventh inning of the first game on Sunday to give the Razorbacks the 2-1 win. Bridges came back in the second game to double home the go-ahead run in the top of the 12th inning in the Hogs’ 4-1 win.

Bridges Named NCBWA National Hitter of the Week

Scott Bridges was named the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) National Hitter of the Week after he drove in the game-winning runs in both games of Sunday’s doubleheader at Texas-Arlington. He batted .667 (6 for 9) with six runs scored, one double, a homer, five RBI, three walks and three stolen bases in leading the Razorbacks to two two-game sweeps of Dallas Baptist (13-3, 8-1) and UTA (2-1, 4-1). The White Hall, Ark., native finished with a 1.111 slugging percentage for the week and had a .769 on-base percentage.

Bridges also Nabs SEC Player of the Week Award

Scott Bridges’ performances against Dallas Baptist and Texas-Arlington also earned him SEC Player of the Week honors.

Hogs’ Bullpen Closes the Deal

Arkansas’ bullpen did it job during the opening weekend of the 2005 season. They allowed just two runs (both earned) in 19.1 innings of work last weekend. Senior left-hander Trey Holloway led the way, making two appearances and pitching six shutout innings. He earned the save on Friday for his 3.1 innings of work. He allowed three hits and struck out two. Holloway came back on Sunday to earn the win by allowing no runs and one hit in 2.2 innings. He entered the game in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded and one out in a tie game. Holloway struck out the first batter and got a ground ball to third base to get out of the inning.

Maday Dominate in Relief

Right-handed sophomore Daryl Maday was completely dominant in his first appearance of the season. He came on relieve James Gilbert in the fifth inning of Sunday’s first game against UTA. Maday retired all 15 batters he faced, striking out seven in his five innings of work.

Arkansas Getting it Done with Two Outs

The Razorbacks’ offense has been even more dangerous with two outs this season. The Hogs are hitting .328 with 10 RBI with two down. Those 10 RBI account for 37 percent of Arkansas’ total RBI. Casey Rowlett and Scott Bridges lead the way with .750 and .667 two-out batting averages, respectively.

Speed Kills for the Razorbacks again in 2005

Arkansas led the SEC with 111 stolen bases last season and appears to be a threat again in 2005. The Razorbacks stole 8-of-10 bases in the season’s opening weekend. Scott Bridges leads the way with three swipes. The Hogs could have the school record of 155 stolen bases, set in 1983, within their sights at the end of the year.

Rowlett Off to a Hot Start

Senior Casey Rowlett is off to a blazing start in 2005. The Jones, Okla., native is batting .529 with a triple, three RBI and a stolen base. He is also playing sparkling defense in center field, including two highlight reel catches in the season opener at Dallas Baptist. Rowlett also got his first career start at second base, the position he was recruited to play, against Dallas Baptist on Saturday, Feb. 12. He has a .647 slugging percentage and a .556 on-base percentage.

Schmidt Earns Spot in Starting Rotation

True freshman left-handed pitcher Nick Schmidt earned another start in the Razorbacks’ rotation with his performance against Dallas Baptist on Saturday, Feb. 12. He pitched five-scoreless innings, allowing only three hits and striking out seven. He will get that start this Friday at Louisiana Tech.

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 an 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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