FAYETTEVILLE –Seniors Ben Tschepikow and Scott Lyons are set to begin their professional baseball careers as the infield tandem signed professional contracts with the Kansas City Royals at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, Ark., on Monday afternoon.
Lyons was drafted by the Royals in the 15th round with the 452nd pick and his double-play partner Tschepikow was taken two rounds later with the 512th pick.
“I am very excited,” Tschepikow said during the press conference. “I feel very fortunate to be a part of the Arkansas Razorbacks for five years and now I need to work hard and see what happens.”
Lyons’ comments mirrored those of his former Razorback teammate and he went on to say “At this time last year Ben and I were at Fayetteville High School working out. We pushed each other then and will continue to do so with the Royals.”
Both former Razorbacks ended the 2009 season injured prompting Royals officials to send the duo to their spring training home in Surprise, Ariz., where they will undergo rehabilitation assignments. Once fully healed, both players are expected to be sent to the Idaho Falls Chukars of the Pioneer Baseball League.
Tschepikow, a Fayetteville, Ark., native enjoyed a five-year career with the Razorbacks that was unfortunately cut short by injuries several times. He had remained healthy for the better part of his junior and senior seasons before a pitch off his left ring finger at the College World Series ended his season. During his five years, Tschepikow improved at the plate and in the field each season and after a career best .317 batting average in 2009, completed his Razorback stint with a .302 average, 125 RBI, 154 runs scored and 94 walks. This past season Tschepikow had career bests in average (.317), runs (54), hits (76), triples (4), home runs (9), RBI (47), slugging percentage (.513), walks (31), on-base percentage (.396), stolen bases (17) and fielding percentage (.970).
Lyons transferred to Arkansas from Mt. San Antonio College prior to the 2008 season and after a rough start in 2008, exploded on the scene in 2009. A .200 career hitter when the season began, Lyons was regularly above the .300 mark as a senior and his power numbers also blossomed as he hit a career best eight home runs. Early in the season Lyons solidified the top of the batting order for the Razorbacks and the slick-fielding shortstop was also good in the clutch with three game-winning hits. Lyons has been rehabilitating a shoulder injury he suffered in the final weekend of the regular season but still managed to be a part of Arkansas’ post-season run as a designated hitter.
For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.