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Razorbacks Tackle Tennessee at Lindsey Nelson Stadium

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Razorbacks Tackle Tennessee at Lindsey Nelson Stadium

Arkansas Razorbacks (19-8, 4-2)

vs.

Tennessee Volunteers (17-9, 4-2)

Lindsey Nelson Stadium • Knoxville, Tenn.

Radio: Razorback Baseball Radio Network

Live Stats: Hogwired.com

Game Outlook

Game 28: #7 Arkansas at Tennessee

Friday, March 30, 6 p.m. – Lindsey Nelson Stadium

Probable Starting Pitchers

UA: 33 Nick Schmidt, LHP (5-0, 1.80 ERA)

UT: 31 James Adkins, LHP (3-3, 3.00 ERA)

Game 29: #7 Arkansas at Tennessee

Sat., March 31, 3 p.m. – Lindsey Nelson Stadium

Probable Starting Pitchers

UA: 42 Duke Welker, RHP (4-1, 3.19 ERA)

UT: 25 Craig Cobb, RHP (5-2, 4.50 ERA)

Game 30: #7 Arkansas at Tennessee

Sunday, April 1, 1 p.m. – Lindsey Nelson Stadium

Probable Starting Pitchers

UA: TBA

UT: 41 Lance McLain, LHP (5-2, 4.58 ERA)

Razorbacks Tackle Tennessee at Lindsey Nelson Stadium

No. 7 Arkansas continues its Southeastern Conference slate with its second league road trip of the season this weekend at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn., with a three-game series against the Tennessee Volunteers.

The Razorbacks (19-8, 4-2 SEC) are coming off of a series win over then-No. 1 Vanderbilt at Baum Stadium over the weekend and a tough 5-3 loss at Oral Roberts in the midweek. The Hogs’ 4-2 league mark leads the SEC West.

The Volunteers’ midweek game against was rained out and stand at 17-9 on the season, tied atop the SEC East at 4-2. Rod Delmonico is in his 18th year at the helm of the Tennessee baseball program.

All three games can be heard on the Arkansas Baseball Radio Network with Chuck Barrett calling the action. The audio can also be accessed over the internet inside the RazorZone at Hogwired.com.

Tennessee leads the all-time series 22-18 after Arkansas captured two-of-three games in Fayetteville last year. However the series has been skewed in favor of the Volunteers in Knoxville with a 14-3 advantage.

Left-handers Nick Schmidt of Arkansas and James Adkins of Tennessee meet for the second straight season on Friday night. Schmidt, who is 5-0 with a 1.80 ERA this season, tossed a complete-game win last season vs. the Vols. Adkins is 3-3 on the season with a 3.00 ERA.

The Hogs will face an old foe in right-hander Craig Cobb on Saturday. The senior boasts a 2-0 record against UA in his career with two complete games in four appearances. RHP Duke Welker will take the hill for the Razorbacks. He is coming off three consecutive strong starts and boasts a 4-1 record with a 3.19 ERA.

How the weekend plays out will determine Arkansas’ starting pitcher on Sunday. Tennessee will start sophomore transfer Lance McClain. The left-hander sports a 5-2 record and a 4.58 ERA. He has pitched 39.1 innings and is making his sixth start of the season.

Leading Off …

Tennessee owns a 22-18 edge in the all-time series after the Hogs won two-of-three games in Fayetteville last season. Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville has been a tough place for the Razorbacks to play over the years, winning just 3-of-17 games. Arkansas is 1-5 in Knoxville since head coach Dave Van Horn took over in 2003.

Jess Todd was named the SEC Pitcher of the Week and earning two wins over then-No. 1 Vanderbilt. He worked three innings and struck out five on Friday night. He then pitched the final six innings in relief on Sunday, allowing just one run on four hits. He improved to 3-2 on the season with a 4.34 ERA.

The Razorbacks are hitting .304 with runners in scoring position (RISP) this season. Ben Tschepikow leads the way with an impressive .469 (15 for 32) average while Jeff Nutt is close behind with a .435 (10 for 23) RISP average. Logan Forsythe (.367) and Casey Coon (.353) also boast impressive averages.

Arkansas has been hit by an amazing 59 pitches in 27 games this season (2.19 per game). The mark already ranks 10th in school history.

Forsythe has also been one of the hottest Razorbacks at the plate. He hit in 10 straight games and 20 of his last 21 before going hitless at ORU on Tuesday night. He is still hitting .389 over the last 22 games while leading the Hogs for the season with a .366 average. He hit .545 against Vanderbilt and is hitting .435 in SEC play.

Casey Coon’s 36 RBI rank second in the SEC while his 10 doubles lead the Razorbacks and rank eighth in the league. Danny Hamblin leads the Hogs with seven home runs with Coon close behind with five. Arkansas’ 33 home runs as a team ranks third in the SEC.

• Coon has made a full-time move to the outfield, starting the past seven games in left field. The move allows the Razorback coaches to get more bats in the lineup and their best defensive third baseman, Logan Forsythe, in the game.

Hamblin connected for his third career-multiple home run game on March 18 at Kentucky. He finished 2 for 5 with four RBI. He his hitting .364 with five home runs and 13 RBI over his last 10 games with a .511 on-base percentage. Hamblin opened the season in a 7-for-51 (.137) slump.

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.

• Hamblin is ranked as the No. 13 senior prospect by Baseball America.

• Schmidt is ranked as the No. 13 pro prospect by Baseball America in their top 100 college prospects list. Duke Welker is ranked No. 70 on that list while Jess Todd comes in at No. 73.

• Todd and Welker rank as the No. 3 and No. 5 transfers in college baseball this season by Baseball America.

Scouting the Volunteers

Tennessee is led by 18th-year head coach Rod Delmonico. His Volunteers are 17-9 on the season with a 4-2 mark that is tied atop the SEC’s Eastern Division. Injuries to preseason All-American’s Julio Borbon and J.P. Arencibia can be attributed to the slow start to the 2007 season for UT. But with both healthy and back in the lineup, Tennessee is playing its best baseball of the season.

The Volunteers are scoring 6.4 runs per game and hitting .291 entering the weekend. Arencibia is hitting .274 in 18 starts this season with two home runs and 14 RBI, while Borbon has started just four games. Andy Simunic lead the Vols offense with a .355 average while Yan Gomes provides the punch with five home runs and 21 RBI to go along with a .347 average. The coaches’ son, shortstop Tony Delmonico, boasts a .323 average, four home runs and 18 RBI.

On the mound, Tennessee has a 4.42 ERA and a .291 opponent batting average while averaging 7.1 strikeouts per nine innings. UT features one of the better left-handers in the country on Friday night in James Adkins, who is 3-3 with a 3.00 ERA in 54 innings this season. RHP Craig Cobb will pitch on Saturday where he is 5-2 with a 4.50 ERA this season. But Cobb boasts a successful history against the Razorbacks with a 2-0 record in four appearances and two complete games. Sophomore transfer Lance McClain will make his first career SEC start on Sunday. The left-hander is 5-2 this season with a 4.58 ERA.

Razorback Killer: Tennessee senior right-hander Craig Cobb has dominated Arkansas during his career. He is 2-0 vs. the Razorbacks with a 3.92 ERA.

As a freshman in 2004, Cobb tossed a complete-game win in Fayetteville. He allowed just three runs on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts. He then worked on inning of relief on Friday night in Knoxville in 2005 and then bounced back to start on Sunday where he did not get a decision in four innings. Cobb was back to his old trick in 2006 with a complete-game win on Saturday at Baum Stadium. He gave up six runs on nine hits with four strikeouts.

Razorback Rotation

Friday – LHP Nick Schmidt (5-0, 1.47 ERA): Junior southpaw Nick Schmidt is slated to make his eighth start of the season on Friday night against the Commodores opposite All-America left-hander David Price. He has allowed just three earned run in his last 30.2 innings of work. He has 274-career strikeouts, ranking him third in school history and nine shy of David Walling (283) for second place. More information: See Page 13.

Saturday – RHP Duke Welker (4-0, 3.77 ERA): Right-handed pitcher Duke Welker will make his eighth start of the season after going 2-0 in two starts last week. He allowed just two earned runs in 12 innings of work and struck out 12. Opponents are hitting just .196 off the right-hander. He has a low-to-mid 90s fastball with a good breaking ball. More information: See Page 14.

Sunday – TBA: See pages 15 and 16 for more information on possible starting pitchers.

Looking Back at Last Week

Then-No. 9 Arkansas won two-of-three games from No. 1 Vanderbilt at Baum Stadium this weekend to finish the week with a 3-1 record … the Razorbacks took over sole possession of first place in the Southeastern Conference’s Western Division with a 4-2 league record … the Hogs then stumbled this past Tuesday with a 5-3 loss at Oral Roberts that dropped their overall record to 19-7 … the last week started with the Hogs overcoming an eight-run deficit at Centenary for a non-conference win … UA then took the series opener with the Commodores on Friday night in the 10th inning as Sean Jones scored from second base on a deep sacrifice fly to right-center field for an 8-7 win … Vandy responded with a 6-3 win on Saturday as the Hogs’ right fielder lost a fly ball off the bat of Pedro Alvarez in the eighth inning that fell 75 feet behind him for a three-run inside-the-park home run … the four-run eighth cost the Razorbacks the win and spoiled an excellent start from right-hander Duke Welker, who threw a career-long eight innings and allowed just one earned run … he sat down 12 straight Vanderbilt batters at one point … Arkansas then came out on Sunday and won the series with a offensive outburst of eight runs on 14 hits that was highlighted by a RBI double and a grand slam off the bat of catcher Brian Walker, who tied his career high with five RBI … Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn has found the winning way on Sundays since he arrived in Fayetteville … Van Horn’s squads are now 8-1 on Sunday at Baum Stadium when the series is tied at one game apiece in his tenure … Logan Forsythe led the way at the plate for the week with a .529 batting average in four starts at third base and .545 average against Vanderbilt … he had three doubles, a home run and six RBI while hitting .800 with runners in scoring position … Forsythe had hit in 10 straight games and 20 of his last 21 before going hitless at ORU … he leads the team with a .366 batting average and is second on the team with a .435 mark in SEC play … Jeff Nutt is the Hogs’ top hitter in SEC play with a .474 (9 of 19) mark, which ranks sixth in the league … he hit .500 against the Commodores with three doubles and four RBI … Danny Hamblin connected for his 41st career home run on Saturday and 42nd career round-tripper on Tuesday at ORU … Arkansas batted .343 as a team with runners in scoring position against Vanderbilt and .395 with two outs, including 10 two-out RBI … on the mound Jess Todd earned two wins over No. 1 Vanderbilt by pitching the final three innings of Friday night’s win and the final six on Sunday … he allowed just three runs in his nine innings of work while striking out nine … Nick Schmidt pitched seven innings on Friday night opposite his former Team USA mate, David Price … Schmidt allowed three earned runs on six hits while striking out eight to move within one strikeout of David Walling for second place all time at Arkansas … fans turned out in record numbers over the weekend at Baum Stadium with a three-game actual attendance of 26,266, which is a new school record … the Hogs also sold 27,083 tickets to the Vanderbilt series, which is also a school record … Arkansas has sold 98,157 tickets in 13 games at Baum Stadium this season for an average of 7,550 per game … Baum Stadium is averaging 5,232 fans in actual attendance this season … the Razorbacks are 11-2 in those 13 games at Baum Stadium this season.

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 a constant 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 month and enters the Oral Roberts game as the Razorbacks leading hitter. His glove has let anyone down either, making play after play at third base.

Forsythe has a .366 batting average, four home runs and a career-best 20 RBI. He is second on the team in on-base percentage at .443 and has hit safely in 20 of the Hogs last 22 games after having a 10-game hitting streak snapped at ORU. He has two 10-game hitting streaks 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 5-0 record and a 1.80 ERA this season.

Schmidt had a streak of 17-consecutive scoreless innings snapped in the first inning at Kentucky. He took a no decision after seven-solid innings against No. 1 Vanderbilt last Friday and left with a 7-5 lead. Schmidt fanned 11 against the Golden Gophers for his 10th career double-digit strikeout game in early March. He now has 282 Ks heading into Friday night’s game with Tennessee and is one shy of UA’s David Walling for second is school history and 19 short of Matt Carnes’ school record.

It will be Schmidt’s third career start against the Volunteers. He is 2-0 against UT with a 0.61 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 14.2 innings of work. Schmidt threw a complete game against the Vols last season in Fayetteville, allowing just a ninth inning solo home run while fanning 11.

Razorbacks Rocket Up in the RPI

The Razorbacks’ 19-8 overall record and 4-3 mark against ranked opponents have them flying high in Boyd’s World Pseudo-RPI. The Boyd’s World RPI is a simulation of the Ratings Power Index, the official NCAA measure of team quality used by the tournament selection committee. This ranking was as of Monday, March 26.

Pseudo-Ratings Power Index (RPI)

Rating Record Team

1 0.649 21-4 South Carolina

2 0.641 13-9 Long Beach State

3 0.631 22-8 Texas

4 0.631 19-9 Rice

5 0.630 23-3 Vanderbilt

6 0.629 19-7 Arkansas

Hamblin Getting Hot and Moving Up the Record Books

Danny Hamblin got off to an absolutely terrible start to the 2007 season with a .137 (7 for 51) batting average through the first 16 games of the year.

But the senior from Rowlett, Texas, didn’t panic, he just worked a little harder and the fruits of his efforts are paying off right now. Hamblin is hitting .351 over his last 11 games with six home runs and 15 RBI. He has raised his batting average to .220 and ranks second on the team in RBI with 24.

Hamblin continues to move up the Arkansas record book with each at bat. The senior ranks tied for second with Jeff King in career home runs (42) and third at bats (799), fourth in career RBI (183) and total bases (405), seventh in walks (108) and hits (240).

Todd Assuming Familiar Role for Hogs

Junior Jess Todd could possibly be reprising the role Jay Sawatski held for the Razorbacks in 2004. Sawatski was 10-3 in 2004 with seven saves, a 3.38 overall ERA and a 2.49 mark in SEC play. He started seven games that season while making 24 appearances out of the bullpen with 86 strikeouts.

Todd is 3-2 on the season with a 4.34 ERA and is the reigning SEC Pitcher of the Week after notching two wins in relief vs. then-No. 1 Vanderbilt. Todd pitched the final three innings on Friday night to secure the win and then tossed the final six on Sunday to clinch the series.

Todd will be used to secure possible wins on either Friday or Saturday. The right-hander out of Kilgore, Texas, and Navarro College could then either start on Sunday or pitch in relief again. He has made two appearances in a weekend series on three occasions this year and has two saves. Todd is second on the team in strikeouts with 42 while walking just eight batters.

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 .291, but that average jumps to .304 with runners on second or third base. Ben Tschepikow has had the most hits with RISP with 15 and a .469 average, while Jeff Nutt is close behind at .435 with RISP. Logan Forsythe is hitting .367 while Casey Coon is hitting .353. Below is a look at the Hogs’ top hitters with runners in scoring position.

Player RISP RBI

Ben Tschepikow .469 (15 for 32) 19

Jeff Nutt .435 (10 for 23) 18

Logan Forsythe .367 (11 for 30) 20

Casey Coon .353 (12 for 34) 36

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 8.6 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 32 innings this season, including eight four-run innings and 13 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.

Big-Inning Breakdown

Three-Run Innings: 9

Four-Run Innings: 8

Five-Run Innings: 5

Six-Run Innings: 3

Seven-Run Innings: 4

Eight-Run innings: 1

Razorbacks in the National Polls

Arkansas’ series win over then-No. 1 Vanderbilt vaulted the Hogs up this week’s polls. Baseball America moved the Razorbacks up two spots to No. 7 while the USA Today Coaches’ poll moved Arkansas up three places to No. 8. Collegiate Baseball also tabbed the Hogs at No. 7 while the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll tabs the Razorbacks No. ?.

Coon’s Bat Shines

Casey Coon came to Arkansas has a heralded hitter and he has quickly shown why. He is hitting .347 on the season with five home runs, 10 doubles and a 36 RBI.

Coon also leads the team in slugging percentage at .611 and on-base percentage at .451. He connected for two home runs on Friday, Feb. 9, at Troy and then cracked two more at Centenary on March 21. He leads the team in both multiple-hit games (9) and multiple-RBI games (11).

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. He has been spraying balls all over the field early on in the 2007 season. Tschepikow is hitting .333 with five doubles a home run and 19 RBI. He also has a .418 on-base percentage with nine walks and only seven strikeouts. Tschepikow has an impressive .469 average with runners in scoring position.

Freshman Smalling Making Impact for Hogs

Arkansas freshman Tim Smalling has taken over the starting job at shortstop after an impressive series at Troy. The Raleigh, N.C., native is fourth on the team with a .300 batting average and has four doubles, a triple, a home run and 13 RBI.

Smalling has started 20 games at shortstop and made just two errors in 65 chances (.969) while making several impressive plays on the move ranging up the middle.

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, Danny Hamblin and Tim Smalling lead the way so far with two game-winning hits each.

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.

Host of Publications Tab Schmidt First-Team All-American

Arkansas sophomore left-handed pitcher Nick Schmidt was named a preseason Louisville Slugger First-Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball.

Schmidt, a native of St. Louis, is 17-5 with a 2.91 ERA and 234 strikeouts. He was named the SEC Pitcher of the Year by league coaches last season. Schmidt is also a preseason first-team All-American by the NCBWA, Rivals.com and the College Baseball Foundation. He is a second-team selection by Baseball America.

Hamblin, Schmidt and Walker Selected as Captains

The Arkansas baseball team selected three captains for the 2007 season last fall. Both senior Danny Hamblin and junior Brain Walker were selected for a second straight season, while junior Nick Schmidt was picked for a first time.

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 13 games at Baum Stadium in 2007 the Hogs are off to a quick start once again. The Razorbacks have sold 98,157 tickets for an average of 7,551 per game. UA is averaging 5,232 fans per game in actual attendance with 68,022 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. The Razorbacks’ average of 5,247 fans in actual attendance would rank fifth nationally on the NCAA’s paid attendance rankings. LSU finished second in The Advocate’s survey of actual attendance with 3,922 fans per game. 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 98,157 (7,551) 68,022 (5,232)

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 – Tennessee.pdf



Sports Category : Baseball