Hogs Welcome Wisconsin-Milwaukee to Baum for Home Opener

Arkansas Razorbacks (4-2)


Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers (0-0)

Baum Stadium • Fayetteville, Ark.

Radio: Razorback Baseball Radio Network

Live Stats: Hogwired.com

Series Outlook

Game 7: Wisconsin-Milwaukee at #6 Arkansas

Saturday, Feb. 17, 2:05 p.m. – Baum Stadium

Probable Starting Pitchers

UA: 33 Nick Schmidt, LHP (1-0, 2.00 ERA)

UWM: 18 Robert Michalkiewicz, LHP

Game 8: Wisconsin-Milwaukee at #6 Arkansas

Sunday, Feb. 18, 1:05 p.m. – Baum Stadium

Probable Starting Pitchers

UA: 42 Duke Welker, RHP (1-0, 2.25 ERA)

UWM: 33 Dan Luczak, RHP

Game 9: Wisconsin-Milwaukee at #6 Arkansas

Monday, Feb. 19, 1:05 p.m. – Baum Stadium

Probable Starting Pitchers

UA: 29 Dallas Keuchel, LHP (0-0, 10.80)

UWM: 17 Mike Rauwerdink, RHP

Hogs Welcome Wisconsin-Milwaukee to Baum for Home Opener

No. 6 Arkansas opens its 2007 home schedule on Saturday, Feb. 17, with a three-game series against Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Baum Stadium at 2:05 p.m. The series continues at 1:05 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 18 and concludes at 1:05 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 19. The series was pushed back a day because of frozen field conditions and snow in Northwest Arkansas.

The sixth-ranked Razorbacks boast a 4-2 record headed into the 2007 home opener. It will be the season opener for Wisconsin-Milwaukee after finishing with a 32-25 record in 2006 and second in the Horizon League with a 18-12 mark. It is the first meeting between the Hogs and Panthers.

The Hogs turned in a breakout performance at the plate last weekend in a series win at Troy. UA hit .325 with eight home runs while averaging 12.3 runs per game.

The Razorback Baseball Radio Network will carry all three games with Chuck Barrett and Rick Schaeffer calling the action. A live web cast and audio for all three games can also be accessed on the RazorZone at Hogwired.com. Live stats are also available to everyone on Hogwired.com.

Saturday marks the 11th opening game in Baum Stadium history. Arkansas is 10-0 in previous home openers at Baum Stadium and 39-8 in home openers since the 1960 season.

All-America left-hander Nick Schmidt occupies his usual spot at the front of the Hogs’ rotation. He is 1-0 on the season with a 2.00 ERA after throwing six-quality innings last weekend at Troy. UWM will counter with senior lefty Robert Michalkiewicz, who went 2-6 last season with a 6.35 ERA.

Junior-college transfer Duke Welker will move up to the No. 2 spot in the rotation after pitching in the No. 3 role the past two weeks. The right-hander is 1-0 on the season with a 2.25 ERA and making his first career start at Baum Stadium. UWM will send RHP Dan Luczak to the hill. He is a transfer from South Carolina that lettered in 2004 and 2006 for the Gamecocks in limited action.

Freshman left-hander Dallas Keuchel will make his first career start for the Razorbacks on Monday. He does not have a decision in three appearances this season, but has five strikeouts in 3.1 innings. UWM will send right-handed pitcher Mike Rauwerdink to the mound on Monday. He was 4-4 a year ago with a 5.37 ERA in 68.2 innings.

Leading off …

The Razorbacks return to Baum Stadium for the first time since Brian Walker’s two-out, ninth-inning drive was snared by the Oklahoma State left fielder to end the Hogs’ 2006 season.

The series was shifted back a day because of frozen field conditions and snow in NW Arkansas.

Saturday also marks the 11th opening day in the history of Baum Stadium. Arkansas is 10-0 all time on opening day at Baum Stadium.

Saturday’s meeting between the Razorbacks and Panthers is the first in school history. However it is not the first time Dave Van Horn has faced Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Van Horn faced the Panthers 14 times while he was the head coach at Nebraska. Van Horn boasts a 13-1 record vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee, including a 1-0 mark in postseason play (2002 NCAA Lincoln Regional).

Arkansas closer Jess Todd has struck out 11 of the 19 batters he has faced this season. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is off the charts at 99.0 (11 K/0 BB) while he is averaging 18.56 strikeouts per nine innings.

The Razorbacks are hitting .299 with runners in scoring position (RISP). Jake Dugger leads the way with a .600 average with runners in scoring position (3 for 5) with Ben Tschepikow (5 for 9) close behind at .556. Danny Hamblin (2 for 4), Wayne Hrozek (1 for 2) and Stephen Robison (1 for 2) all hitting .500. Casey Coon (2 for 5) and Tim Smalling (2 for 5) are at .400.

Redshirt freshman Thomas Hauskey (Springdale) and junior-college transfer Aaron Murphree (Northeast Texas JC) got the first hits of their Razorback careers during the Troy series.

Sophomore outfielder Wayne Hrozek hit his first career home run on Sunday, Feb. 11, at Troy and tied his career high with three hits.

UA’s team batting average jumped 70 points at Troy, going from .194 to .264.

The Razorbacks’ bullpen has a 5.40 ERA on the season with two saves (both by Jess Todd). The bullpen has struck out 29 batters while issuing 13 walks. However, 15 of the 18 runs allowed by the bullpen came during the second game of each series. The Hog pen allowed seven earned runs at Louisiana Tech on Feb. 3 and then surrendered eight earned runs in a loss at Troy on Feb. 10.

• LHP Nick Schmidt is a preseason first-team All-American by Louisville Slugger Collegiate Baseball, NCBWA, Rivals.com and the College Baseball Foundation. He was a second-team choice by Baseball America.

• 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 Danny Hamblin are also on the Brooks Wallace Award watch list, which goes to the top player in college baseball.

• 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.

• Arkansas was picked to win the SEC Western Division by both the league coaches and Baseball America.

• The Razorbacks are a consensus top-10 team right now with their highest ranking from Baseball America at No. 6 and a No. 7 ranking in the USA Today/Coaches Poll.

• The Diamond Hogs posted a 3.12-team GPA during the 2006 fall semester.

Razorback Home Openers

The Razorbacks are 39-8 in home openers since 1960 and 34-3 under Norm DeBriyn and Dave Van Horn dating back to the 1970 season. Arkansas has won 12 consecutive home openers dating back to their last loss on Feb. 18, 1994, a 5-3 loss to the Kansas Jayhawks. Hogs’ skipper Dave Van Horn is 4-0 in home openers at Arkansas. The Razorbacks beat Minnesota, 5-4, in the 2005 home opener and Louisiana Tech, 10-9, last season. Arkansas is 10-0 in home openers since Baum Stadium’s first season-opener in 1997.

Scouting the Panthers

It will be the first meeting on the baseball diamond between the Razorbacks and Panthers. Wisconsin-Milwaukee head coach Scott Doffek is in his first season as head coach to the Panther program after 12 years as an assistant at UWM.

The Panthers open their 17th season of Division I baseball and 38th year of varsity baseball in Fayetteville. Wisconsin-Milwaukee is picked to finish third in the Horizon League in the preseason coaches’ poll. UWM is coming off of a 32-25 record a season ago, including a 18-12 mark in the Horizon League that was good enough for second place. The Feb. 16th start is the third-earliest in the program’s history.

Wisconsin-Milwaukee returns six-position starters from last year’s team and three starting pitchers. UWM will start with senior lefty Robert Michalkiewicz on Saturday. He went 2-6 last season with a 6.35 ERA.

The Panthers will send RHP Dan Luczak to the hill on Sunday. He is a transfer from South Carolina that lettered in 2004 and 2006 for the Gamecocks in limited action. UWM will start right-hander Mike Rauwerdink on Monday. He was 4-4 with a 5.37 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 68.2 innings last season.

Razorback Rotation

Saturday – LHP Nick Schmidt (1-0, 2.00 ERA): Junior south paw Nick Schmidt is slated to make his third start of the season. He got a no decision after a strong outing at Troy last Friday night, pitching six-scoreless innings and allowing three hits and fanning six. He has struck out nine in nine innings of work this season and his 243 career strikeouts, which ranks fourth in school history. More information: See Page 13.

Sunday – RHP Duke Welker (1-0, 2.25 ERA): JC transfer Duke Welker moves into the Saturday spot in the rotation this week after posting his first win as a Hog last Sunday at Troy. He worked five-scoreless innings against the Trojans, fanning four and allowing four hits. The 6-7 right-hander is making his third career start. More information: See Page 14.

Monday – LHP Dallas Keuchel (0-0, 10.80 ERA): Freshman lefty Dallas Keuchel will make his first career start in the series finale on Sunday afternoon. The left-hander has made three appearances out of the bullpen this season with a 10.80 ERA in 3.1 innings. Keuchel was roughed up in his first appearance at Louisiana Tech, but settled down and threw well in two appearances at Troy. More information: See Page 15.

Wisconsin Razorbacks

Arkansas has one player on its roster from the state of Wisconsin. Freshman pitcher and catcher Chad Pierce hails from Fond du Lac, Wis. Pierce has not played yet this season, but did travel to Louisiana Tech for the series with the Bulldogs.

The Razorbacks had also signed two other players, LHP Tony Butler and RHP R.J. Seidel for 2007, but both signed professional after being drafted in the 2006 Major League Baseball draft. Butler was a native of Oak Creek, Wis., while Seidel was from La Crosse.

Pierce is the third player from Wisconsin to play for Arkansas under head coach Dave Van Horn. Scott Roehl was a junior right-hander for the Hogs when Van Horn arrived in 2003. Roehl was the last Razorback to throw a complete game (nine inning) no-hitter for UA. Daryl Maday joined the Arkansas program in 2004 out of Bristol, Wis., and Westosha High School. He was drafted and signed by the Giants following the 2006 season.

Panther Connections

Arkansas freshman Chad Pierce and Wisconsin-Milwaukee freshman infielder Wes Munson were teammates at Fond du Lac High School in Fond du Lac, Wis. Munson was a 37th-round selection by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2006 MLB Draft.

UWM starting pitcher on Sunday is right-hander Dan Luczak. He is a transfer from South Carolina who lettered in 2004 and 2006 for the Gamecocks in limited action. Luczak was 2-0 in nine appearances for USC in 2006. He pitched 14 innings, holding opponents to a .180 batting average. Luczak redshirted in 2005 after appearing in one game as a freshman in 2004. He never faced the Hogs in his career at South Carolina.

Hogs’ Offense Rolling

Arkansas found its swing in southeastern Alabama last weekend in a three-game series at Troy. The Hogs hit .325 on the weekend, scoring 37 runs (12.3 per game) on 37 hits. UA drew 17 walks and was hit by 12 pitches to post a .458 on-base percentage.

The Razorbacks blasted eight home runs and six doubles for a .588 slugging percentage. The Hogs scored 13 runs on Friday night at Troy after plating just 12 runs at Louisiana Tech to open the season. Arkansas then scored 16 runs in the series finale at Troy. It was the most runs the Hogs had scored since beating Eastern Illinois 17-2 on March 11, 2005 in Fayetteville. It was also the most runs in an opponent’s home stadium since beating Georgia 16-12 in 10 innings in Athens in 2002.

Razorbacks in the National Polls

Arkansas remained at No. 6 in this week’s Baseball America poll after clinching a 2-1 series win at defending Sun Belt champion Troy. Collegiate Baseball chose to drop the Razorbacks four spots in their latest poll, even with a 4-2 record at six road games. Arkansas fell from No. 8 to No. 11 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll. The USA Today/Coaches’ poll will not be released again for a couple of weeks.

Todd is Arkansas’ Answer in the Late Innings

Junior college transfer Jess Todd is just what the Razorbacks have been needing to close out games. The 6-0, 213-pound, right-hander junior out of Navarro Junior College features a 91-94 mph fastball and a 85-87 mph slider.

Todd blew away the competitor in his first series with the Hogs. He earned two saves, pitched 3.1-scoreless innings and struck out six.

He was just as impressive in two innings of work at Troy. He faced six batters and struck out five with the other out popping up to the catcher.

Todd earned his first two career saves in his first two appearances for the Hogs at Louisiana Tech, striking out six in 3.1 innings.

He has fanned 11 of the 19 batters he has faced this season and not issued a walk. Todd has allowed just three singles while not allowing a run.

Coon’s Bat Shines Early

Casey Coon came to Arkansas has a heralded hitter and he has quickly shown why. He is hitting .389 on the season with three home runs and a team-best 11 RBI.

Coon also leads the team in slugging percentage at 1.000 and is second in on-base percentage at .478. He connected for two home runs on Friday, Feb. 9, at Troy and then cracked his third home run of the season on Sunday, Feb. 11

The versatile infielder can play second base, third base or shortstop and may play a little outfield as well. He has two starts at second base, two starts at third base and one at DH.

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 .389 with a double and four RBI. He also has a .500 on-base percentage with three walks.

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 leads the team with a .400 batting average after hitting .545 with two doubles and three RBI in three starts against the Trojans.

Smalling has started four games at shortstop – three straight – and fielded all 10 chances he has had in the field cleanly.

Defense Comes Through for Hogs

Arkansas has played outstanding defense throughout the early 2007 season. The Razorbacks are fielding .981 on the season with just four errors in 213 chances. The Hogs made just one error in 108 chances for a .991 fielding percentage while turning two double plays at Louisiana Tech. UA then made three errors on Friday, Feb. 9, at Troy in a steady rain, but played errorless baseball the rest of the weekend. The Razorbacks have not made an error in four games this season.

Walker Connects for Series Altering Home Run

Just when you thought that Louisiana Tech was going to be able to steal the season-opening series from the Razorbacks, Brian Walker came through just when it was needed most.

It was the top of the eighth inning and UA had not had a hit since the second batter of the game. Jake Dugger got the Razorbacks rolling with a leadoff single and Jerrod Carroll followed with another single to put runners on first and second with no outs as Arkansas trailed 2-1.

Head coach Dave Van Horn chose to give Walker the green light instead of having him sacrifice the runners over and it paid off. Walker drilled a 1-0 offering from Moseley deep over the center field fence for a three-run home run and an Arkansas lead.

Walker is hitting .261 after six games with a eight RBI and a .346 on-base percentage. He hit in the first five games of the season to extend his hitting streak to 13 games before going 5 for 5 on Sunday Feb. 11.

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 the NCBWA, Rivals.com and the College Baseball Foundation. He is a second-team selection by Baseball America.

Hamblin Returns for Senior Season

Arkansas third baseman/first baseman Danny Hamblin returns for his senior season in 2007. He was selected with the ninth round with the 278th overall pick of the 2006 MLB Draft by the Oakland Athletics. Hamblin is a preseason third-team All-American by Louisville Slugger. The Rowlett, Texas, native put together one of the most complete seasons for a Razorback in recent memory in 2006. He was the only player in the SEC to rank in the top 10 in home runs and stolen bases. Hamblin was third in the league with 68 RBI. He tied for seventh in home runs (17) and was just outside of the top 10 in total bases (131).

Hogs Boast Deep Pitching Staff

The Razorbacks feature one of the deepest pitching staffs in recent memory in Fayetteville with the likes of Nick Schmidt and Shaun Seibert. Arkansas returns six pitchers from its 2006 staff that finished a 3.64 ERA, which is the lowest by a UA club in 15 years.

The staff also gets a boast from highly-touted junior-college transfers Jess Todd, Duke Welker and Travis Hill. Welker is ranked as the No. 70 pro prospect in college baseball by Baseball America while Todd is listed at No. 73. Schmidt leads that list for the Hogs at No. 13.

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.

Preseason Polls Tout Razorbacks

The 2007 preseason polls have Arkansas predicted to be among the best teams in the country. The Razorbacks are a consensus top-10 team in the five preseason polls. The No. 4 ranking by Collegiate Baseball was the highest preseason ranking in school history. Baseball America and the USA Today/Coaches’ Poll ranked the Hogs seventh, while UA checked in at No. 8 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll and No. 9 by Rivals.com.

Polls Ranking Current

Collegiate Baseball 4th 9th

Baseball America 7th 6th

USA Today Coaches 7th 7th

NCBWA 8th 11th

Rivals.com 9th 7th

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).

SEC Coaches Pick Hogs in SEC West

The Southeastern Conference coaches picked Arkansas to win the SEC’s Western division in their annual preseason poll.

The Razorbacks were picked third in the West in the 2004 and 2005 preseason polls and last in the SEC West prior to the 2004 campaign. Arkansas finished second in the SEC West last season and tied for fifth in 2005. UA proved the critics wrong in 2004 by winning the SEC title.

Arkansas garnered 66 points in the 2007 poll’s Western Division with every possible first-place vote (11). Ole Miss finished second with 53 points and Alabama finishing third with 47 points. Ole Miss received one first-place votes in the Western Division.

South Carolina was selected as the conference’s overall champion with seven of the 12 overall first-place votes. Arkansas garnered three and Vanderbilt two.

Points were compiled on a 6-5-4-3-2-1 basis for each division. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team. Each coach also voted for one team as an overall conference champion.

SEC Champion: South Carolina (7), Arkansas (3), Vanderbilt (2)

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. 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.

Download: Arkansas Baseball Notes – UWM.pdf