Arkansas Razorbacks (35-12, 15-6)
LSU Tigers (26-20-1, 9-11-1)
Baum Stadium • Fayetteville, Ark.
Radio: Razorback Baseball Radio Network
Live Stats: Hogwired.com • TV: Sat: FSN • Sun: CST
Game 48: LSU at #7 Arkansas
Friday, May 4, 7:05 p.m. – Baum Stadium
Probable Starting Pitchers
UA: 33 Nick Schmidt, LHP (9-1, 2.40 ERA)
LSU: 10 Ryan Byrd, LHP (5-1, 4.85 ERA)
Game 49: LSU at #7 Arkansas (FSN)
Saturday, May 5, 3:05 p.m. – Baum Stadium
Probable Starting Pitchers
UA: 28 Jess Todd, RHP (6-2, 3.53 ERA)
LSU: 48 Charlie Furbush, LHP (3-6, 5.14 ERA)
Game 50: LSU at #7 Arkansas (CST)
Sunday, May 6, 12:35 p.m. – Baum Stadium
Probable Starting Pitchers
UA: 42 Duke Welker, RHP (5-2, 3.33 ERA)
Razorbacks Host LSU in SEC Showdown at Baum Stadium
No. 7 Arkansas welcomes SEC-West foe LSU to Baum Stadium this weekend for a three-game series against the tradition-rich Tigers. The series begins at 7:05 p.m. Friday and continues on Saturday at 3:05 p.m. on Fox Sports and wraps up on Sunday at 12:35 p.m. on Cox Sports.
All three games can be heard on the Arkansas Baseball Radio Network with Chuck Barrett and Rick Schaeffer calling the action. Friday night’s game will be webcast live inside the RazorZone at Hogwired.com.
Dave Neal and Larry Conley will handle the play-by-play duties on Saturday for Fox Sports Net, while Mike Nail and Ron Swoboda will call the action on Sunday for Cox Sports Television.
The Razorbacks (35-12) enter the series tied with Vanderbilt for the overall Southeastern Conference lead at 15-6 and hold a three-game edge over Ole Miss in the SEC West. LSU, coached by first-year skipper Paul Mainieri, is 26-20-1 on the season and fifth in the SEC West with a 9-11-1 record.
The series opener will pit the Hogs’ ace Nick Schmidt against Tigers’ sophomore left-hander Ryan Byrd. Schmidt, who was named a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist this week, is 9-1 on the season with a 2.40 ERA and a team-best 85 strikeouts. Byrd is making his 10th start of the season and is 5-1 with a 4.85 ERA over 52 innings of work. He has fanned 29 and walked 14 with a .292 opponent batting average.
Right-hander Jess Todd moves into the Saturday spot in the Razorbacks’ rotation this week after back-to-back complete games at Georgia and Auburn. He is 6-2 on the year with a 5-1 mark in SEC games. Todd has struck out 75 in 58.2 innings of work with just 17 walks. LSU will send left-handed transfer Charlie Furbush to the hill. He is 3-6 on the season with a 5.14 ERA.
Duke Welker slides down to the Sunday spot in the rotation this weekend against LSU. He is 5-2 on the season with a 3.33 ERA and 53 strikeouts. The Tigers are undecided on a starting pitcher for Sunday’s finale, but LSU ace Jared Bradford is available. Bradford is 8-2 on the season with a 3.42 ERA and 68 strikeouts in 79 innings.
Leading Off …
• The Razorbacks return to the friendly confines of Baum Stadium this weekend after a six-game SEC road trip through Georgia and Auburn. The Razorbacks host traditional SEC West rival LSU in a three-game set that is sure to have championships implications. The Tigers lead the all-time series 41-19 after winning two-of-three games in Baton Rouge last season. LSU also leads the all-time series in Fayetteville by a slim 13-8 margin.
• The Hogs won have 16 of their last 20 games to improve their record to 35-12 after a 8-1 win over Auburn on Sunday. Arkansas is tied for the SEC overall lead with Vanderbilt (15-6) and hold a three game edge on Ole MIss in the SEC West.
• The Razorbacks are hitting .310 with runners in scoring position (RISP) this season. Ben Tschepikow leads the way with an impressive .367 (18 for 49) average while Logan Forsythe is close behind at .361 with Jeff Nutt at .345. Danny Hamblin has his average all the way up to .327 (17 for 52).
• UA has also been impressive with two outs this season. The Hogs are hitting .305 with two down with 129 two-out RBI, which leads the SEC. Casey Coon leads the way with 18 two-out RBI while Danny Hamblin has 16 and Logan Forsythe and Jeff Nutt have 15. Wayne Hrozek is hitting .435 (10 for 23) with two outs while Jake Dugger is hitting .370, Coon is at .388 and Forsythe at .382.
• Arkansas has been hit by an amazing 85 pitches in 47 games this season (1.81 per game). The mark already ranks fourth in school history and leads the SEC this season.
• The Hogs rank second in on-base percentage (.406) in the SEC and second in runs scored (400) and third in doubles (106).
• In SEC games only, UA leads the league in eight offensive categories, including batting average (.306), on-base percentage (.408), runs scored (165), RBI (154), doubles (51), hit by pitches (41) and sacrifice flies (16). The Hogs also rank second in home runs (29).
• Casey Coon’s 55 RBI rank tied for second in the SEC while Danny Hamblin has moved into sixth place with 50. Hamblin and Logan Forsythe rank second in SEC games with 25.
• Danny Hamblin leads the Hogs with 16 home runs that ranks second in the league and ninth nationally, while his 10 home run in SEC games lead the SEC. Arkansas’ 59 home runs as a team rank second in the SEC. Hamblin earned SEC Hitter of the Week honors after batting .462 with two home runs and eight RBI vs. Florida.
• Nick Schmidt was named one of 50 semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award this week.
• Nick Schmidt claimed his fourth-career SEC Pitcher of the Week after tossing a complete-game victory at Tennessee on Friday, March 30. Jess Todd was named the SEC Pitcher of the Week after earning two wins over then-No. 1 Vanderbilt.
• Schmidt and Todd have both thrown back-to-back complete games at Georgia and Auburn. The Hogs have an SEC-best five complete game in league play.
• Danny Hamblin’s 209 career RBI rank second all time at Arkansas. He is 24 shy of career record holder Ryan Lundquist (233).
• The Arkansas pitching staff leads the league with a 3.83 ERA during SEC play while the offense tops the league in batting average at .306.
• Arkansas is 3-0 this season in extra inning games and their first hit came on April 21 when Danny Hamblin’s solo home run beat the Georgia. The Hogs had not gotten a single hit in its first two extra-innings wins. UA benefited from a error, intentional walk and a fielder choice to beat Illinois State. UA then beat Vandy in 10 innings when Sean Jones scored from second on a sacrifice fly deep into the right-center field gap after reaching base on a hit by pitch.
• Shaun Seibert injured this right elbow in the fourth inning on Sunday, March 11, and will be out for the season. He will undergo Tommy John surgery on Thursday, March 22.
• The Hogs are 3-2 in games played on TV this season, after taking both games on Cox Sports Television against Florida and beating Wichita State, 10-2. UA dropped a game to Louisiana Tech in Ruston on Feb. 3 and at Georgia on April 20.
Scouting the Tigers
LSU enters the weekend series with a 26-20-1 record and a 9-11-1 mark in conference play. The Tigers are 5.5 games off the pace in the SEC West. Head coach Paul Mainieri’s club beat Southern and Nichols State during the midweek after going 1-2 vs. Tennessee last weekend.
The Tigers have an SEC-low .256 batting average into the series while scoring 5.2 runs per game. That average dips to .254 in SEC games and 4.5 runs per game. Blake Dean leads the team with a .335 batting average. Michael Hollander is hitting .304 and represent the only Tigers above .300 for the season. In SEC games, Hollander is hitting .311 while Sean Ochinko his batting .319. Dean leads the team in RBI with 38 while Ochinko’s seven home runs are tops on the team.
On the mound, LSU has a 4.89 ERA for the year and a 5.55 average in conference play. Junior college transfer Jared Bradford has been the team’s ace this season with an 8-2 record and a 3.42 ERA, but he is not slated to start at this time, but could step into the TBA spot on Sunday. The Tigers will go with sophomore Ryan Byrd on Friday night. He is 5-1 on the year with a 4.85 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 52 innings. Opponents are hitting .292 off of the left-hander, who will be making his 10th start of the season. Transfer Charlie Furbush will start on Saturday. He is 3-6 on the year with a 5.14 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 68.1 innings. Louis Coleman, a starter a season ago, has served as the LSU closer this season. He has four saves with a 5.20 ERA in 45 innings.
Friday – LHP Nick Schmidt (9-1, 2.40 ERA): Junior southpaw Nick Schmidt is slated to make his 14th start of the season on Friday night against the Tigers. He is coming off of his second straight complete game with a 12-1 win at Auburn last Friday. He became Arkansas’ all-time leader strikeouts vs. the Florida with seven strikeouts and he now has 319 in his career. Schmidt passed Matt Carnes (1995-97) who finished his career with 301 strikeouts. His 2.40 ERA ranks second in the SEC, while his nine wins are the most. He also leads the league in opponent batting average (.189) and is third in innings pitched (90.0). Schmidt does not have a decision in two career starts against LSU with a 5.91 ERA and 12 strikeouts. More information: See Page 14.
Saturday – RHP Jess Todd (6-2, 3.53 ERA): Jess Todd is slated to make hits sixth start of the season and his fifth in SEC play on Saturday. He has tossed back-to-back complete-game, six-hitter wins at Georgia and Auburn. Todd struck out 10 Gators in five innings, allowing just two runs – both after he left the game three weeks ago. He is 6-2 on the season with a 3.53 ERA in 58.2 innings of work and two saves. Todd is 13th nationally in strikeouts per nine at 11.51. He has been more efficient with his pitches the last two weeks, inducing six double plays while still fanning 15. He has struck out 75 and walked just 17. More information: See Page 15.
Sunday – RHP Duke Welker (5-2, 3.33 ERA): Right-handed pitcher Duke Welker will make also make his 14th start of the season after a no decision last Saturday at Auburn. Two straight inconsistent starts has him moved back to the Sunday slot in the rotation. He has left both of the last two games with leads. Opponents are hitting .201 off the right-hander, which ranks fourth in the SEC. He pitched a career-best 8.1 innings in a win over Florida three weeks ago. Welker took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against Mississippi State, but took the hard-luck loss after allowing two runs on two doubles in the seventh. He has a low-to-mid 90s fastball with a good breaking ball that he is able to throw for strikes. More information: See Page 16. Additional info on Dallas Keuchel, who could start if needed, is also available on page 17.
Hogs Rotation Among Nation’s Best
The starting rotation of Nick Schmidt, Jess Todd and Duke Welker is proving to be one of the most dominating in the country. The trio boasts a combined record of 20-5 and a 2.99 ERA over 216.1 innings this season.
The Razorbacks are 12-1 in Schmidt’s starts this season while he has thrown a career-best four complete games, including two straight and three in SEC play. He leads the league with a .189 opponent batting average after his four-hit complete-game win at Auburn last Friday.
Welker hasn’t gotten the run support he has need all season, but has still been a reliable arm that has came through when the Hogs need him most. Opponents are hitting just .201 off the 6-7 right-hander that is 5-2 with a 3.33 ERA.
Todd has served in a variety of roles for the Razorbacks this season. He began the year in the bullpen as the closer and has turned into a dominate starter. Todd has hurled two consecutive complete-game wins at Georgia and Auburn and lowered his ERA to 3.53. His SEC ERA is down to 3.46 and his 11.51 strikeouts per nine innings ranks 13th nationally.
Schmidt Named Golden Spikes Semifinalist
Arkansas junior left-handed pitcher Nick Schmidt was named one of 50 semifinalists for the 2007 Golden Spikes Award by USA Baseball. Schmidt has a 9-1 record, a 2.40 ERA and a .189 opponent batting average in 90 innings this season.
This year will mark the 30th consecutive year that the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award has been presented to the nation’s premier amateur baseball player. The winner’s name will be announced on June 29, 2007, during the 2007 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Show presented by Major League Baseball.
In 2007 USA Baseball instituted a new selection and balloting procedure for the most prestigious award in amateur baseball. After accepting nominations from sports information directors across the country, a committee voted to determine the 50 semi-finalists. The names of the 50 semi-finalists will now be forwarded to a voting body of 125 who will select the five finalists and the eventual 2007 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Winner.
Forsythe Finds a Home
In and out of the lineup over the first two weekends of the season, Logan Forsythe’s name is penciled in on an everyday basis these days. Maybe the best defensive third baseman in the SEC, entering the season his bat was a question mark after hitting just .189 as a true freshman.
He has dispelled any questions about his bat over the last two months and enters the LSU series as the Razorbacks leading hitter. His glove has not let anyone down either, making play after play at third base. He boasts a .943 fielding percentage at third base this season with five errors in 87 chances, all coming on throws.
Forsythe has a .349 batting average, six home runs and a career-best 42 RBI. He is second on the team in slugging percentage at .542, is fourth on the team in on-base percentage at .414, and leads the team with nine stolen bases. He has hit safely in 36 of the Hogs last 42 games and in 19 of 21 SEC games this season.
Nick Schmidt at it Again
Junior Nick Schmidt continues to prove why he is one of the best pitchers in college baseball. The left-hander from St. Louis is constantly overlooked, but the reigning SEC Pitcher of the Year is at it again with a 9-1 record and a 2.40 ERA this season.
Schmidt has recorded a career-best four complete games this season, including two straight in road games at Georgia and Auburn. He has fanned 85 in 90 innings and is 5-1 in league play. Schmidt has 26 career wins, including 14 in SEC play.
It will be Schmidt’s third career start against LSU. He does not have a decision in his two previous starts with a 5.91 ERA and 12 strikeouts.
Hamblin Red Hot
Danny Hamblin had had a tough time getting the hits to fall in early in the season as he got off to a terrible start with a .119 batting average (5 for 42) at the beginning of March. But the senior continued to drive in runs and as the calendar rolls over to May, Hamblin is one of the hottest hitters on the team.
Over the last 30 games, Hamblin is hitting .348 with nine doubles, 15 home runs, a .817 slugging percentage, a .419 on-base percentage and 40 RBI to raise his average to .281. That average goes up to .353 in conference play, including seven doubles, 10 home runs and 25 RBI. Hamblin is second on the team and sixth in the SEC with 44 RBI.
Hamblin continues to move up the Arkansas record book as well with each at bat. The senior ranks second in career home runs (51) – five shy of the school record of 56 by Ryan Lundquist – and second at bats (879), second in career RBI (209), second total bases (485), sixth in walks (114) and third in hits (268).
Hitting When it Counts – RISP
A key to the Razorbacks’ offense in 2007 has been their hitting with runners in scoring position. Overall, Arkansas is hitting .296, but that average jumps to .311 with runners on second or third base. Ben Tschepikow leads the way with a .409 average, while Logan Forsythe is close behind at .357 with RISP. Jeff Nutt is hitting .347 while Danny Hamblin has jumped up to .326. Below is a look at the Hogs’ top hitters with runners in scoring position.
Player RISP RBI
Ben Tschepikow .367 (18 for 49) 25
Logan Forsythe .361 (22 for 61) 42
Tim Smalling .355 (11 for 31) 21
Jeff Nutt .345 (19 for 55) 36
Danny Hamblin .327 (17 for 52) 50
Razorbacks Rocket Up in the RPI
The Razorbacks’ 35-12 overall record and 9-5 mark against ranked opponents have them flying high in the NCAA’s latest RPI. The NCAA began releasing its Ratings Power Index this season. The RPI is the NCAA’s official measure of team quality used by the tournament selection committee. This ranking was through the Sunday, April 29 games. There are five SEC teams among the top 10 in the country with Mississippi State at No. 8 and Ole Miss at 10.
Pseudo-Ratings Power Index (RPI)
1 39-8 Vanderbilt
2 37-11 Rice
3 37-12 Texas
4 33-13 South Carolina
5 37-10 North Carolina
6 35-11 Texas A&M
7 35-12 Arkansas
OPS Becoming Telling Stat
OPS or on-base percentage plus slugging percentage has become a popular way of better using statistics to identify a players true productivity at the plate. The following is a quick look at Arkansas’ top hitters according to OPS among players with at least 100 at bats.
Player On-Base % Slugging % OPS
Danny Hamblin .385 .620 1.005
Logan Forsythe .414 .542 .956
Casey Coon .425 .506 .931
Jeff Nutt .388 .414 .902
Brian Walker .369 .533 .902
Matt Willard .459 .443 .902
Big Innings Key Razorbacks’ Offense
Arkansas has made a habit out of putting up crooked numbers on the scoreboard this season. The Razorbacks are averaging 8.3 runs per game and a big part of that has been innings where UA score three, four or even five-plus runs. The Hogs have scored three-or-more runs in 54 innings this season, including 15 four-run innings and 17 innings of five or more runs. Arkansas has scored seven runs in an inning four times this season and eight runs in the fifth inning on Saturday, Feb. 24, against Illinois State.
Three-Run Innings: 23
Four-Run Innings: 15
Five-Run Innings: 8
Six-Run Innings: 4
Seven-Run Innings: 4
Eight-Run innings: 1
Razorbacks in the National Polls
Arkansas’ series win at Auburn last weekend kept the Hogs steady in week’s polls. Baseball America kept the Razorbacks at No. 7, while the USA Today Coaches’ poll moved the Hogs up to No. 7. The Hogs held firm at No. 3 in this week’s Collegiate Baseball poll. The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association moved the Razorbacks up a spot to No. 7 while Rivals.com kept Arkansas at No. 6.
Todd Returns to Dominance in Starting Role
Junior Jess Todd has started three straight SEC Sunday games and turned in dominating performances in each. He started with 10 strikeouts in five innings against Florida on April 15 but did not get a decision. The next week at Georgia Todd only fanned seven but threw his first complete game as a Hog and induced four double plays. He followed a similar pattern with a complete-game six hitter at Auburn last week. He struck out eight with just two walks to improve to 6-2.
He is second on the team with 75 strikeouts and just 17 walks in 58.2 innings and leads the team with a 11.51 strikeouts per 9.0 innings. He also has a 4.4 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He has lowered his ERA to 3.53 from a high of 5.09 following the March 23 win over Vanderbilt. Todd is 5-1 in SEC games with a 3.46 ERA an d46 strikeouts in 41.2 innings.
Tschepikow Back at Full Strength
Junior infielder Ben Tschepikow finally appears to be back at full strength in 2007. He was bothered by back problems throughout his freshman season in 2005 where he hit .400. He was then put on the shelf 14 games into his sophomore season and underwent surgery to correct the problem.
The athletic Fayetteville native is back to his old self, even after shoulder problems slowed him down over the last couple of weeks. He has been spraying balls all over the field in 2007. Tschepikow is hitting .299 with seven doubles a home run and 25 RBI. He also has a .384 on-base percentage with 15 walks and only 13 strikeouts. Tschepikow has an impressive .367 average with runners in scoring position.
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. Danny Hamblin and Casey Coon lead the way with four game-winning hits, while Tim Smalling, Jeff Nutt and Logan Forsythe have three game-winning hits each.
Date Opponent Player Result (Inning)
2/4 at Louisiana Tech Brian Walker HR, 3 RBI (8th)
2/9 at Troy Sean Jones HR, RBI (8th)
2/11 at Troy Casey Coon HR, 2 RBI (1st)
2/18 Wisconsin-Milwaukee Casey Coon 2B, 2 RBI (7th)
2/18 Wisconsin-Milwaukee Jacob Julius 2B, 3 RBI (1st)
2/23 Illinois State Jake Dugger 2B, 2 RBI (3rd)
3/9 Kansas Wayne Hrozek 2B, RBI (5th)
3/11 Kansas Tim Smalling 1B, RBI (6th)
3/13 Oral Roberts Tim Smalling 1B, RBI (2nd)
3/16 at Kentucky Logan Forsythe HR, 3 RBI (1st)
3/18 at Kentucky Danny Hamblin HR, 2 RBI (2nd)
3/21 at Centenary Danny Hamblin HR, 2 RBI (7th)
3/25 Vanderbilt Jeff Nutt 2B RBI (1st)
4/1 at Tennessee Matt Willard 2B, 2 RBI (2nd)
4/3 Northern Colorado Logan Forsythe HR, 3 RBI (4th)
4/4 Northern Colorado Matt Willard 3B, 3 RBI (5th)
4/8 Mississippi State Tim Smalling HR, 3 RBI (2nd)
4/14 Florida (1) Danny Hamblin 1B, RBI (4th)
4/14 Florida (2) Sean Jones 2B, RBI (3rd)
4/15 Florida Logan Forsythe 2B, 3 RBI (8th)
4/21 at Georgia Danny Hamblin HR, RBI (10th)
4/22 at Georgia Jeff Nutt 2B, 2 RBI (1st)
4/25 Wichita State Casey Coon HR, 4 RBI (1st)
4/27 at Auburn Casey Coon 1B, RBI (1st)
4/29 at Auburn Jeff Nutt 1B, RBI (1st)
* indicates walk-off
Schmidt and Todd Both on Roger Clemens Award Watch List
Schmidt and junior-college transfer Jess Todd are on the preseason Roger Clemens Award watch list. The Roger Clemens Award goes to the top pitcher in college baseball.
Schmidt and Hamblin on Brooks Wallace Award Watch List
Schmidt and Danny Hamblin are also on the Brooks Wallace Award watch list, which goes to the top player in college baseball.
Hogs Post 3.11 GPA During Fall Semester
The Arkansas baseball team proved they were truly student-athletes during the 2006 fall semester with an impressive 3.12-team grade point average. The 3.11-team GPA follows a 2.9 GPA in the spring of 2006 and a 3.15 GPA during the fall of 2005.
The Razorbacks had 32 players compile a GPA of 3.0 or better with two players, Brandon Barr and Brad Secrist, making a perfect 4.0.
Senior right-hander Brian McLelland earned his degree in chemical engineering in December. Volunteer assistant coach Bubbs Merrill also earned his degree in sociology and former Hog Clay Goodwin finished his masters in adult education.
Fourteen Razorbacks posted GPAs of 3.5 or better during the fall, including Barr (4.0), Casey Coon (3.8), Thomas Hauskey (3.81), Travis Hill (3.81), Scott Limbocker (3.8), Brian McLelland (3.71), Sam Murphy (3.81), Chad Pierce (3.60), Stephen Richards (3.8), Secrist (4.0), Shaun Seibert (3.53), Jess Todd (3.8), Ben Tschepikow (3.8) and Michael Wild (3.5).
Hogs Believed to 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 23 games – 22 dates – at Baum Stadium in 2007 the Hogs are leading the way once again. The Razorbacks have sold 166,181 tickets for an average of 7,550 per game. UA is averaging 4,696 fans per game in actual attendance with 108,014 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 last season.
In an informal survey by the Baton Rouge (La.) Advocate, Arkansas led all SEC schools in actual attendance in both 2005 and 2006. Below is a breakdown of both paid and actual attendance at Baum Stadium over the past four seasons.
Baum Stadium is undergoing its third expansion since prior to the 2003 season with the addition of 20 luxury suites, over 1,500 chairback seats and an expanded Hog Pen. Baum Stadium will now features 34 luxury suites, 8,237 chairback seats and a capacity of 10,737 with additional standing room only available.
Year Tickets Sold Actual Attendance
2007 166,181 (7,550) 108,014 (4,696)
2006 206,352 (7,116) 164,608 (5,676)
2005 200,378 (7,156) 146,902 (5,247)
2004 (regular season) 134,525 (4,204) 91,779 (2,868)
2004 (w/postseason) 188,753 (4,840) 146,007 (3,743)
2003 100,372 (3,585) 60,510 (2,161)
Download: Arkansas Baseball Notes – LSU.pdf