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This Week in Razorback Baseball

BY ANDRES FOCIL
This Week in Razorback Baseball

This Weekend
The Hogs travel to Texas for the three-day University of Texas-Arlington tournament. The Hogs battle Air Force at 11:30 a.m. in Friday’s first game, then take on Southwest Missouri at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. Arkansas closes out the tournament with a 3 p.m. game against host school, and 2001 NCAA participant, UTA on Sunday. The Hogs have never faced Air Force under head coach Norm DeBriyn and have an all-time record of 31-14 vs. Southwest Missouri and a 1-1 mark against Texas-Arlington.

Long Ball Saves Razorbacks
Trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning against Oklahoma City, the Razorbacks played a little long ball to rally for the victory. Kirk McConnell led off the inning with a bunt single, then Cliff Crouse took the first pitch over the right-centerfield fence to tie the game at 4-4. Andrew Wishy made it back-to-back homers as he ripped his first pitch over the right field fence to give the Hogs a 5-4 victory. The Razorbacks have three home runs through two games with Wishy leading the way with two.

Roehl Earns Win
Sophomore Scott Roehl earned his first victory of the season after pitching three scoreless innings giving up one hit and striking out three batters against Oklahoma City. It was Roehl’s fifth career victory after recording four wins during his freshman season of 2001. The Somers, Wis., native tied for the team lead in wins a season ago with Charlie Isaacson.

Bridges Paces Hogs
Redshirt freshman Scott Bridges wasted little time in making an impact in the Razorbacks’ lineup. Against Missouri Southern, Bridges went 3-for-4 with four runs batted and scored twice as the Hogs came away with a 13-1 win. Against Oklahoma City, Bridges went 1-for-3 with an RBI. The Pine Bluff, Ark., native is hitting .571 in two games and leads the Hogs with five runs batted in and two stolen bases.

Last Time vs. Southwest Missouri
The Bears claimed a 10-9 victory over Arkansas in the team’s last meeting on April 3, 2001. Southwest Missouri broke a 9-9 tie with a run in the bottom of the ninth to earn the victory in Ozark, Mo. Arkansas’ Jeremy Rankin took the loss after pitching one inning allowing one run on three hits and one walk. Brett Hagedorn led the way offensively going 3-for-5, while Andrew Wishy, Brian Kirby and Jeff Fletcher each had two hits apiece.

Razorbacks vs. Bears
Arkansas holds a 7-6 record over Southwest Missouri since 1991. The two teams have split the last 10 meetings with the Bears winning four of the last five. Arkansas’ last victory was a 7-2 win on May 2, 2000. That win snapped a three game losing streak to the Bears that spanned two games in 1999 and one in 1998.

Strong on the Mound
With a planned rotation against Missouri Southern, the Razorbacks pitching staff dominated in the opening game of the season. Jonathan Richmond got the starting nod and went three innings allowing two hits and no runs. Richmond threw 28 pitches during his abbreviated workout, with 21 going for strikes. Charlie Isaacson gave up one hit in two innings of work, while Josh Glynn, Josh Merryman, Kyler Pomeroy and Scott Woods each pitched an inning. The Hogs’ staff surrendered just one run on five hits and walked only one batter on the day. The staff also recorded eight strikeouts with Woods leading the way with three.

Young Blood
Eight Razorbacks got their first taste of Division I baseball in the Hogs’ win over Missouri Southern. Redshirt freshman Scott Bridges and Clay Goodwin earned starting nods at shortstop and third base respectively. Bridges went 3-for-4 with four RBI, while Goodwin was 3-for-5 with three RBI and three runs scored. True freshman Kirk McConnell went 1-for-3 in his first collegiate action. Redshirt freshmen Brady Toops and Jason Reynolds and JC transfer Patrick Woodruff each earned playing time against the Lions. On the mound, JC transfers Kyler Pomeroy and Josh Glynn each pitched an inning and recorded a strikeout without giving up a hit.

Ranked Foes
Seven of the Razorbacks’ 2002 opponents are ranked this week in the Baseball Weekly/ESPN Top 25 poll. LSU heads the list coming in second, while South Carolina stands at sixth. Wichita State comes in at 17th this week, with Ole Miss just behind at 18th. Mississippi State remains in 21st, while Top 25 newcomers Long Beach State, 23rd, and Auburn, 25th, join the list. Another Hogs’ opponent, Tennessee, dropped out of the poll after being swept by No. 5 Arizona State over the weekend.

Hit Parade
Heading into the 2002 season, hitting was a big question mark for the Hogs after losing sluggers Jeff Hoefler, Brian Kirby and Kyle Washburn to graduation. In the first game of 2002, five different Razorbacks had two hits or more with all but two of the starting nine collecting at least one hit. The Razorbacks recorded 15 hits as a team and drove in 13 runs while getting three doubles and a home run on the day.

Road Test
The Razorbacks will get an early chance to improve their play on the road from last season as six of their nine games during the month of February will be away from Baum Stadium. Last season, Arkansas was 6-18 on the road, going 4-5 vs. non-conference opponents and 2-13 vs. SEC foes. The Razorbacks first road test will come at the Texas-Arlington Tournament Feb. 15-17. The Hogs will take on Air Force, Southwest Missouri State and Texas-Arlington. The Razorbacks will then travel to California for a three-game series vs. Long Beach State Feb. 22-24.



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