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Razorbacks Face Challenge from Kansas in the Midweek

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Razorbacks Face Challenge from Kansas in the Midweek

Arkansas Razorbacks

(3-0, 0-0 SEC)

vs.

Kansas

(2-3, 0-0 Big 12)

Baum Stadium • Fayetteville, Ark.

Broadcast Information

Razorbacks Baseball Radio Network

Chuck Barrett (play-by-play)

Rick Schaeffer (analyst)

TV: None

Game Outlook

Game 4:

Kansas at Arkansas

Wed., Feb. 27, 3:05 p.m. – Baum Stadium

Probable Starting Pitchers

AR: 32 Mike Bolsinger, RHP (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

KU: 41 Wally Marciel, LHP(1-0, 1.50 ERA)

Razorbacks Face Challenge from Kansas in the Midweek

The Arkansas baseball team hosts Kansas in a mid-week clash at Baum Stadium on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 3:05 p.m.

The game can be heard on the Razorback Baseball Radio Network with Chuck Barrett handling the play-by-play duties and Rick Schaeffer as the analyst. The audio and video broadcasts can also be heard over the internet inside the RazorZone at Hogwired.com. Live stats are also available on Hogwired.com.

The Diamond Hogs’ game against Southeast Missouri State on Tuesday afternoon was cancelled due to below-freezing temperatures and extreme wind chills.

Head coach Dave Van Horn’s club wraps up its four-game, season-opening home stand against the Jayhawks. His club is ranked 30th in the latest Collegiate Baseball poll.

The Diamond Hogs’ mid-week starter vs. KU will true freshmen James Mahler. The true freshman battled nerves in his first start on opening day, but will get the call for the second time on Wednesday. Mahler last just 1.1 innings vs. Wright State on Feb. 22, but has the makeup to be successful.

Kansas travels to Fayetteville after five games against Hawaii-Hilo in Kona, Hawaii’, last weekend. The Jayhawks enter the game with a 2-3 record, a .261 batting average and a 3.79 ERA. The Razorbacks hold a 31-12 all-time record vs. Kansas and have won six-straight in the series after UA’s three-game sweep last season at Baum Stadium. Kansas is slated to start left-hander Wally Marciel, who is 1-0 on the season after a six-inning outing against Hawaii-Hilo in the opener on Feb. 22.

Leading Off …

• Arkansas’ bullpen allowed just one earned run in 19.1 innings in the season-opening series vs. Wright State (0.47 ERA). The Hogs’ pen struck out 23 while issuing just six walks and holding the Raiders to a .118 batting average.

The Razorbacks offense found a way to get on base against Wright State with a .430 team on-base percentage. UA drew 16 walks and was hit by eight pitches. Aaron Murphree (.667), Logan Forsythe (.643) and Andy Wilkins (.571) led the way individually.

• Logan Forsythe and Casey Coon are on the Brooks Wallace Award watch list, which goes to the top player in college baseball.

Shaun Seibert, who injured this right elbow against Kansas last season, will return to the mound for the Hogs on Saturday, Feb. 23. The junior right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery on March 22, 2007, and returned to the hill on Feb. 23, 2008, just 11 months off surgery.

Forsythe is on the Golden Spikes Award watch list.

Forsythe is ranked as the No. 43 pro prospect by Baseball America in their top 100 college prospects list.

Forsythe was also selected first-team pre-season All-SEC by SEBaseball.com. Coon garnered second-team honors in the outfield. SEBaseball.com also tabbed Forsythe and Coon as the third-best 1-2 offensive punch in the SEC.

Arkansas was picked to finish third in the SEC’s Western Division league coaches and fifth by Baseball America.

Baseball America also tabbed Forsythe as the best third baseman in the Southeastern Conference.

Freshman Brett Eibner was the seventh-highest drafted player to come to school after being taken in the fourth round by the Houston Astros (No. 141 overall).

Arkansas boasts seven players on the 2008 roster who have previously been drafted. Six of those players are new to the Arkansas lineup.

Scouting the Jayhawks

Kansas enters Wednesday’s game with a 2-3 record after a season-opening road trip to Hawaii-Hilo where the Jayhawks captured victories in the opener and the finale.

KU is coached by sixth-year skipper Ritch Price who has a 175-145-1 record in Lawrence. The Jayhawks are coming off of a 28-30 campaign a season ago that included a three-game sweep at the hands of the Razorbacks at Baum Stadium. The Razorbacks hold a 31-12 all-time record vs. Kansas and have won six-straight in the series.

The Jayhawks are slated to start Wally Marciel, who posted a victory in the season opener with six-strong innings. He boasts a 1.50 ERA after allowing one run on five hits with four strikeouts vs. Hawaii-Hilo. Former UA hurler Brett Bollman is a redshirt sophomore for Kansas. Kansas is hitting .263 as a team with Buck Afenir and Nick Faunce leading the way with .455 and .444 averages respectively.

A Look at the Razorbacks’ Rotation

Wednesday – James Mahler, RHP (0-0, 27.00 ERA) – True freshman right-hander James Mahler is expected to get his second start of the young season against SEMO on Feb. 26. He features a 90 mph fastball and a devastating knucklecurve ball that he can throw at any point in the count. He struggled in the opener in temperatures hovering around 30 degrees.

Wilkins Earns SEC Freshman of the Week Honors

It didn’t take freshman Andy Wilkins long to make a name for himself in the SEC. The Broken Arrow, Okla., product garnered SEC Freshman of the Week honors following the season-opening weekend.

Wilkins hit .455 in three starts (one at first base and two at DH) against Wright State with a home run and six RBI. He also delivered two game-winning hits with a three-run home run that propelled the Hogs to victory in the opener on Friday and a two-RBI single to give UA the win on Sunday. Wilkins posted a .727 slugging percentage and a .571 on-base percentage with the help of three walks. He also hit .500 with runners in scoring position and .500 with two out, including four two-out RBI.

Forsythe Finds a Home

Forsythe finished an amazing turnaround in 2007 by leading the team with a .347 batting average, nine home runs and a career-best 55 RBI. He was second on the team in slugging percentage at .556, was second on the team in on-base percentage at .431, and led the team with 18 stolen bases. He hit safely in 47 of the Hogs last 59 games and in 26-of-30 SEC games last season.

His play during the season earned him the opportunity to play for Team USA over the summer. Forsythe showed his versatility as he played all over the field and hit over .300 for Team USA.

His glove did not let anyone down either, making play after play at third base. He boasted a .933 fielding percentage at third base last season with eight errors in 119 chances, all coming on throws.

Eibner Proving to be Two-Way Player

Freshman Brett Eibner is proving to everyone that he is capable of being an everyday-two-way player for the Razorbacks. Eibner made two starts in center field for Arkansas vs. Wright State and then moved from center field to the pitcher’s mound in the series finale. He showed that he was good at both in the process.

Eibner batted .667 at the plate (2 for 3) but also scored two runs, drew two walks and was hit by two pitches to post an .857 on-base percentage. On the mound, Eibner earned the win on Feb. 24 with three-solid innings out of the bullpen vs. Wright State, allowing just one run on three hits with four strikeouts.

Bullpen Dominates Opening Weekend

Arkansas revamped bullpen was dominant over the opening weekend of the 2008 season. Hog relievers allowed just one earned run in 19.1 innings (0.47 ERA) while striking out 23 and issuing just six walks. The Razorbacks’ bullpen held Wright State to a .118 batting average.

All three victories came out of the bullpen with Dallas Keuchel earning the win on Friday, Cliff Springston on Saturday and Brett Eibner on Sunday.

Getting on Base

Arkansas did anything it had to do to reach base during the season’s opening weekend against Wright State. The Razorbacks posted a .430 on-base percentage as a team that was aided by 16 base on balls and eight hit by pitches.

Aaron Murphree led the way individually with a .667 on-base percentage with Logan Forsythe (.643) and Andy Wilkins (.571) right on his heels. Brett Eibner also made an impact in just two starts, reaching base in six-of-seven plate appearances with two singles, two walks and two hit by pitches.

Forsythe Named to Golden Spikes Watch List

Arkansas junior third baseman Logan Forsythe was named to USA Baseball’s pre-season Golden Spikes Award Watch. The release of the watch list marks USA Baseball’s first step toward identifying the top player in college baseball.

The Golden Spikes Watch List features 75 of the nation’s top collegiate players that were nominated by baseball sports information directors across the country.

Injury Bug Bites Diamond Hogs

The Diamond Hogs have been bit by the injury bug leading up to the first week of the season. Arkansas has three starting position players ailing and have lost one promising freshman left-handed pitcher for the season.

Sean Jones, who was penciled in to start in center field for the Razorbacks, was hit by a pitch in the left hand in early February and will miss roughly the first four weeks of the season.

Casey Coon and Tim Smalling are both fighting through slight shoulder injuries but are expected to play.

True freshman left-hander Drew Smyly has been lost for the season with fractured left elbow. The Little Rock Central product will have screws inserted in the coming weeks and will be ready for 2009.

New Faces Dot Razorback Lineup

Several new faces will be seen on the baseball diamond for the 2008 Diamond Hogs as the season opens. As many as eight newcomers could see action early in the season, including five true freshmen.

The Hogs will start true freshman – James Mahler – on the mound on Tuesday while Andy Wilkins (DH/1B), Jacob House (1B/OF) and Brett Eibner (OF/RHP) have positioned themselves to be penciled into the lineup. Freshman Kendall Korbal is scheduled to make his second start vs. Texas A&M on Saturday.

Junior-college transfers are also making an immediate impact for the Razorbacks as shortstop Scott Lyons, outfielder/infielder Chase Leavitt and catcher Ryan Cisterna all have a chance to start for the Hogs.

On the mound even more newcomers are going to make immediate impact with LHP Cliff Springston, RHP Mike Bolsinger (starting vs. Kansas on Feb. 27), RHP Eibner and RHP Justin Wells.

USA Razorbacks

Arkansas has had a key player on the USA National Team in each of the past two summers. Nick Schmidt was one of the American’s top starting pitchers with a 3-1 record and a 1.31 ERA in 2006 and Logan Forsythe was one of the top hitters last year with a .309 average in 28 starts.

Game-Winning Hits

Coming through with the game-winning base hit is not an easy thing to do. Here we will track the Razorback players that come through in the clutch this season. Casey Coon leads the way with five game-winning hits, while Danny Hamblin has four and Tim Smalling, Jeff Nutt and Logan Forsythe have three game-winning hits each.

Date Opponent Player Result (Inning)

2/22 Wright State Andy Wilkins HR, 3 RBI (4th)

2/23 Wright State Aaron Murphree HR, 2 RBI (6th)

2/24 Wright State Andy Wilkins 1B, 2 RBI (7th)

Hogs Picked Third in SEC West by Coaches

The Southeastern Conference coaches voted Arkansas third in the SEC’s Western Division in their 17th-annual preseason poll.

Arkansas garnered 39 points, including two first-place votes to finish behind Ole Miss and Mississippi State in Western-Division voting. The Rebels were picked to win the West with 65 total votes and 10-of-12 first-place votes. The Bulldogs ranked second with 47 points while Auburn was picked fourth (34 votes), LSU fifth with 33 votes and Alabama sixth with 29 points.

Vanderbilt was the SEC’s overall preseason choice and the pick to win the SEC’s Eastern Division. The Commodores garnered five-of-12 votes in the overall SEC Championship voting, edging out Ole Miss (four) and South Carolina (3). Vanderbilt also received seven first-place votes in the SEC East and compiled 62 total votes.

Western Division

Team Points ’07 SEC Record ’07 Finish

1. Ole Miss (10) 65 16-14 3rd

2. Mississippi St. 47 15-13 2nd

3. Arkansas (2) 39 18-12 1st

4. Auburn 34 10-20 6th

5. LSU 33 12-17-1 5th

6. Alabama 29 15-15 4th

Eastern Division

Team Points ’07 SEC Record ’07 Finish

1. Vanderbilt (7) 62 22-8 1st

2. South Carolina (3) 58 17-13 2nd

3. Kentucky 42 13-16-1 5th

4. Georgia 38 11-19 6th

5. Florida 29 15-15 3rd

6. Tennessee 18 13-15 4th

First-place votes in ()

SEC Champion: Vanderbilt (5), Ole Miss (4), South Carolina (3)

Hitting When it Counts – RISP

A key to the Razorbacks’ offense in 2007 was their hitting with runners in scoring position. Overall, Arkansas is batted .288, but that average was still to .297 with runners on second or third base. Hitting with runners in scoring position is going to be another key for the Razorbacks in 2008.

Hogs Lead Country in Actual Attendance – Again

The NCAA and Southeastern Conference recognize paid attendance as their method of ranking attendance, but Arkansas keeps both an actual attendance and paid attendance. After 29 games at Baum Stadium in 2007 (not including the NCAA Regional) the Hogs led the way once again. The Razorbacks sold 233,350 tickets for an average of 8,047 per game. UA is averaging 5,700 fans per game in actual attendance with a school record 165,298 fans passing through the gates this season.

In 2006, Arkansas set school records in both tickets sold and attendance over 29 games at Baum Stadium, including the NCAA Regional. The Razorbacks sold 206,352 tickets for a 7,116 average (the average is second all time). A record 164,608 fans passed through the gates in actual attendance for an average of 5,676.

In 2005, the Hogs also set a then-school record in actual attendance with 146,902 fans showing up at Baum Stadium. That averages out to 5,247 fans per game and is believed to have led the country.

Baum Stadium is underwent its third expansion since prior to the 2003 season with the addition of 20 luxury suites, over 1,500 chair back seats and an expanded Hog Pen in 2007. Baum Stadium will now features 34 luxury suites, 8,237 chair back seats and a capacity of 10,737 with additional standing room only available.

In an informal survey by the Baton Rouge (La.) Advocate, Arkansas led all SEC schools in actual attendance in 2005 and 2006. Below is a breakdown of both paid and actual attendance at Baum Stadium over the past four seasons.

Year Tickets Sold Actual Attendance

2007 266,270 (8,069) 198,218 (6,007)

2006 206,352 (7,116) 164,608 (5,676)

2005 200,378 (7,156) 146,902 (5,247)

2004 188,753 (4,840) 146,007 (3,743)

2003 100,372 (3,585) 60,510 (2,161)

Razorbacks Selected in the MLB Draft

Arkansas currently has seven players on its roster that have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft. Below is a breakdown of Razorbacks that chose books over the bucks.

Player Year Round Pick Team

Brett Eibner, RHP 2007 4th 141 Houston Astros

Andy Wilkins, INF 2007 25th 770 Texas Rangers

Mike Bolsinger 2006 34th 1031 Cleveland Indians

Scott Lyons, INF 2007 36th 1099 Boston Red Sox

James Mahler, RHP 2007 42nd 1262 Philadelphia Phillies

Travis Hill, RHP 2005 42nd 1266 Texas Rangers

Ryan Cisterna, C 2006 47th 1391 Kansas City Royals

Ryan Cisterna, C 2007 48th 1351 Washington Nationals

Download: Arkansas Notes vs. Kansas.pdf



Sports Category : Baseball