Arkansas Fall Baseball Recap

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas baseball team wrapped up its 2005 Fall World Series last week with the White team winning the series in five games behind the hitting of Danny Hamblin and Brian Walker. The conclusion of the Fall World Series brought an end to the Razorbacks fall practice schedule.

The Hogs will spend the remainder of the fall in the weight room and individual workouts, training for a promising 2006 campaign. The 2006 season opens in Mobile, Ala, on Feb. 10, against George Mason in the South Alabama Tournament. The home portion of the schedule is slated to begin on Thursday, Feb. 23, with Louisiana Tech visiting Baum Stadium.

The Razorbacks used the fall identify candidates to replace Scott Hode (SS) and Clay Goodwin (3B) on the left-side of the infield, solidify the bullpen and find a consistent third starter in the weekend rotation.

True freshman Wayne Hrozek may have finished with the team’s best batting average during the fall with an impressive .465 (20-43) average, but don’t forget about team leader’s Hamblin and Walker. Hamblin hit .446 (25-56) with four doubles and four home runs, while Walker batted .400 (20-50) with two home runs and six doubles.

Junior outfielder’s Blake Parker and Jake Dugger also reminded the coaching staff who has been through the SEC wars as the duo bounced back with outstanding falls after disappointing sophomore seasons. Parker hit .357 (20-56) with three home runs and five doubles, while striking out only four times and drawing eight walks. Dugger batted .298 (17-57) with two home runs and six doubles and continually showed up with big hits in clutch situations, while playing outstanding defense in the outfield.

Senior John Henry Marquardt solidified himself as the Razorbacks’ starting shortstop with excellent defense and a .301 (16-53) batting average. The starting job at third base still appears to be open with redshirt freshman Matt Willard (.263) and true freshmen James Ewing (.204) and Logan Forsythe (.264) in the hunt.

The outfield will be the Hogs’ deepest position in 2006 with six quality and experienced outfielders. Craig Gentry was limited to running down fly balls and working on his bunting this fall as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, but expect him to roam center field in the spring. The Razorbacks also have Chris Hollensworth, Clint Arnold and Stephen Robinson fighting for a starting job. Hollensworth hit .375 (15-40) with two doubles and two triples in the fall, while Arnold hit .368 (21-57) with five doubles. Robison displayed his usual blazing speed, but showed a new-and-improved swing with a .259 (14-54) average, two home runs and two doubles.

On the mound, the Razorbacks finished fall practice with a 4.93 ERA in 262.2 innings of work. The pitching staff struck out 5.86 batters per nine innings and walked just 2.88.

The Hogs’ ace Nick Schmidt turned in a quality fall with a 3.26 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 19.1 innings of work. The staff bulldog Charley Boyce was limited to just 4.1 innings after having a bone spur removed from his pitching elbow. Boyce is expected to be a full strength by the time spring practice begins.

The Hogs had several pitchers step to the forefront including left-handed hurlers James Gilbert and Devin Collis. Gilbert worked 22.1 innings during the fall and posted an impressive 2.82 ERA with 13 strikeouts and only two walks. Collis pitched a team-high 26.1 innings during the fall and recorded a 3.42 ERA with 15 strikeouts and just three walks.

Trey Holloway returned to form with an overhand delivery, working 13.1 innings with a 2.70 ERA.

Freshman Brett Bollman and Chad Coldiron also produced solid numbers during the fall. Coldiron had a team-best 2.63 ERA in 13.2 innings of work, while Bollman threw 19 innings with a 2.84 ERA and 12 strikeouts.

The White team edged the Black team three games to two to capture Arkansas’ 2005 Fall World Series. Volunteer Assistant Coach Bubbs Merrill coached the Black team and Fifth-Year Student Assistant Coach Clay Goodwin managed the White team. The following is a short recap of each game.

Game 1: White 11, Black 4

The White team used a dominating performance on the mound from sophomore Nick Schmidt to shut down the Black team and earn a 1-0 series lead with an 11-4 win.

Schmidt, like the rest of the Hogs’ pitching staff was on a pitch count, but he threw 4.2 innings, allowing just one run on five hits and striking out three. Brian McLelland came on in relief to earn the win with 2.1 innings of work. Michael Wild and Chris Rhoads both pitched an inning of relief to close the game out.

Danny Hamblin and Brian Walker provided the run support with big days at the plate. Walker collected four hits in six at bats, including a three-run home run in the seventh inning and four RBI. Hamblin finished 3-for-5 with three singles and three RBI.

Devin Collis took the loss for the Black team, allowing five runs on 10 hits in four innings of work. Freshman Brett Bollman came on in relief and allowed two runs over 2.1 innings on five hits. Josh Germany pitched the final 2.2 innings, allowing four runs on six hits.

Brad Secrist led the Black offense with a 2-for-4 performance, while Chris Hollensworth and Matt Willard both went 1-for-3.

Game 2: Black 10, White 7

The Black team battled back in the second game of Arkansas’ 2005 Fall World Series to even the series at one game apiece with a 10-7 win. The Black team scored nine of its 10 runs in the fifth and sixth inning, including a six-run sixth inning for the come-from-behind victory.

The White team jumped out to an early 6-1 lead through four and a half innings off Black’s starter Daryl Maday. The White team roughed Maday up for six runs on seven hits in four innings of work. Clint Arnold paced the White squad with a 4-for-4 evening that included two stolen bases.

The Black squad mounted their comeback in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings. Jake Dugger provided the fire power in the fifth with a three-run home run. He finished the day 2-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored. Chris Hollenworth sparked the six-run sixth inning with a bases clearing triple after Shaun Seibert loaded the bases for the White team with two walks and a hit batter. Matt Willard and Blake Parker also singled home runs in the sixth inning.

Black’s James Gilbert would earn the win with two scoreless innings of relief, while Seibert took the loss.

Game 3: Black 9, White 7

The Black team went up two games to one over the White team in game three of the Hogs’ 2005 Fall World Series with a three-run ninth inning to score their second consecutive come-from-behind victory.

With a 7-6 lead headed into the top of the ninth inning, White’s freshman Chad Coldiron issued a walk to Blake Parker and then gave up a double to Jake Dugger and another bases-clearing triple to Chris Hollensworth to give the Black team a 9-7 lead that they would not relinquish. Brett Bollman pitched the ninth to earn the save for the Black team.

The White team jumped out to an early lead behind the bats of John Marquardt and Clint Arnold. Marquardt went 2-for-4 with and RBI, while Arnold also went 2-for-4, but drove in three runs with a pair of doubles. Freshmen Hunter London and Mitch McCuistian also had solid performances with 2-for-5 days at the plate.

The White team out-hit the Black team for the third straight game with 11 hits compared to the Black team’s eight. But the Black team stayed close throughout the game with two runs in the first inning, three runs in the fourth inning and a single tally in the sixth. Dugger and Hollensworth both collected two hits apiece, while freshman Jerrod Carroll, reshirt freshman Matt Willard, Brad Secrist and Kevin Carby all got one hit. Willard also had and RBI and stole home in the win.

Game 4: White 2, Black 1

The White team parlayed 4.2 scoreless innings from starting left-hander Nick Schmidt and two fifth-inning runs into a 2-1 win to even the 2005 Fall World Series at two games apiece.

Shaun Seibert came on with two outs in the top of the fifth inning and threw 2.1 innings to even his Fall World Series record at 1-1. Seibert allowed just one run – a Blake Parker solo home run to lead off the sixth inning – while striking out four and allowing just two hits.

The Blacks’ Devin Collis took a no-hitter into the fifth inning of a scoreless game before allowing a leadoff double to Danny Hamblin. Brian Walker followed with a RBI single out of the cleanup spot and freshman Hunter London plated Walker with a fielder’s choice. Collis reached his pitch limit with two outs in the fifth and was lifted for freshman-reliever Brett Bollman. The hard-luck loss was the second of the FWS for Collis. Bollman would keep the Black team in the game with 1.1 inning of scoreless relief.

Hamblin led the White’s four-hit attack with a 2-for-3 performance. Walker was 1-for-3 with his RBI single, while freshman Mitch McCuistian picked up the White team’s fourth hit. The Black team only managed four hits as well with freshman Wayne Hrozek going 2-for-3 to lead the way. Chris Hollensworth and Parker rounded out the Black’s offense.

Game 5: White 8, Black 4

The White team completed its comeback from a 2-to-1 series deficit with an 8-4 win over the Black team at Baum Stadium to win the 2005 Fall World Series.

White jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on Brian Walker’s two-out two-RBI double and never looked back. Logan Forsythe added a RBI single in the fourth inning and Hunter London drove in his second run of the FWS with a fielder’s choice as the White team extended their lead to 4-0.

White starting pitcher Lee Land was the beneficiary of the early run scoring and earned the win with 4.1 innings of work in the seven-inning contest. Land allowed three of the Black team’s runs in the fifth inning before being lifted after RBI hits from James Ewing, Brad Secrist and Jerrod Carroll. Brian McLelland finished things off and earned the save for the White team with 2.1 innings of work.

Walker finished the day 2-for-2 with two doubles and three RBI. Walker finished the FWS with a .474 average. Teammate Clint Arnold cooled in game five, collecting only one hit in four at bats, but led both squads during the FWS with a .524 batting average. John Henry Marquardt also added an RBI single in the fifth inning.

Daryl Maday took the loss for the Black team, allowing four runs on four hits in 3.2 innings of work.