The Coppell Copperheads and the University of Arkansas proved to be a strong combination in the inaugural year of the Texas Collegiate League. Four Razorbacks, pitchers Zach Butler, Brian McLelland, and Matt Stallings, and league all-star catcher Blake Parker, were members of Coppell's TCL championship team.
The Copperheads will be looking to another Razorback to play a significant role in the team's fortunes in 2005.
First baseman Danny Hamblin has been one of the nation's hottest hitters of late for the 18-2 Razorbacks, who are ranked 8th in this week's Baseball America College Top 25. The sophomore from Rowlett, Texas has hit safely in his last 11 games at .452 (19-42) with 3 homers and 15 rbi to raise his average to .357. The righthanded batter, who has 3 homers and 16 rbi in his 19 total games in 2005, had a 3-run homer in Arkansas' 5-3 victory over 9th ranked South Carolina on March 20.
Other TCL-bound players who have had significant roles in Arkansas' success are DH Clint Arnold (Weatherford), who is hitting .279 with 9 rbi in 17 games, and RHP Daryl Maday (Highland Park), who is 2-0, 3.57 with 16 strikeouts in his 17.2 innings of work.
A look at other performances by Texas Collegiate League bound players. Stats are through games of March 20. Rankings are from this week's Baseball America College Top 25. 2005 TCL team is in parentheses.
BIRMINGHAM SOUTHERN: OF Casey Bond was added to the Highland Park Blue Sox roster this week. Bond, who has 8 rbi in 19 games this spring, played for the Blue Sox last summer, hitting .283 in 42 games. The centerfielder helped lead Birmingham Southern to a 6-0 record last week.
UC DAVIS: SS Brandon Oliver (Euless) is batting .356 in 21 games and leads the team in runs (19), hits (31), and stolen bases (7 in 8 attempts).
CAL STATE FULLERTON: C John Curtis (Graham) has a .299 average with 10 rbi in 20 games for the top ranked Titans (16-4). Curtis has started all 20 games in 2005.
CLEMSON: SS Stan Widmann (Euless) has started all 16 games in his freshman year for the Tigers and is batting .315.
DALLAS BAPTIST: RHP Randall Taylor (McKinney) has posted a 4-2 record and 3.14 era this spring. His most recent outing was a victory over UT-San Antonio on March 16 (8 ip, 5 h, 3 r-er, 7 so).
FLORIDA SOUTHERN: 1B Fred Popp (Highland Park) is batting .313 with 4 homers and 24 rbi for 21-4 Moccasins of the Sunshine State Conference. Popp drove in the game-tyng run in the 9th inning in an exhibition versus the Detroit Tigers on March 2 in Lakeland, a game that ended in a 2-2, 10-inning tie.
FLORIDA STATE: Freshman SS Nick Francis (Coppell) is hitting .273 in 16 games for the 17th ranked Seminoles (24-4). LHP Trent Jarvis (Coppell) has worked 4.1 scoreless innings in his 6 outings for FSU.
GEORGETOWN: OF Mark McLaughlin (Coppell) has a .283 average with 10 rbi in 18 games for the Hoyas. McLaughlin is a transfer from Pacific.
LAMAR: LHP Tim Erickson (McKinney) is 4-0, 0.77 while allowing just 2 runs in 23.1 innings for the 16-9 Cardinals. The lefty is 1.2 inning shy of qualifying for the Southland Conference lead in era. He allowed one run in 3.2 relief innings to beat UTA on March 19 after pitching 7 shutout frames in a 3-0 victory over New York Tech on March 13. OF Will Henderson (Highland Park) is batting .282 with 14 rbi in 22 games and is tied for 5th in the Southland Conference with 8 doubles.
McMURRY: LHP Greg Erickson (McKinney) was selected as the American Southwest Conference West Division Pitcher of the Week for March 14-21. Erickson pitched a 7-inning complete game shutout on March 19, defeating Sul Ross St., 9-0 (7 ip, 3 h, 0 r, 7 so) to improve his season record to 4-0. Erickson, who is McMurry's regular rightfielder when not pitching, was 2-3 with an rbi triple in his shutout victory and is hitting .420 with 2 homers and 19 rbi in 22 overall games. Erickson was the West Division Hitter of the Week for the week of February 28.
McNEESE STATE: RHP Jacob Marceaux (McKinney) has held opponents to a Southland Conference low .193 batting average. He ranks 2nd in the SLC in innings (42.1), is 3rd in strikeouts (45), and has the 5th best era (2.76), despite a 1-4 record. OF Charlie Kingery (Highland Park) was named to the SCL's Hitters Honor Roll last week and has a .317 average with 3 homers and 19 rbi in 22 games. Kingery was 5-8 with 4 rbi in a 2-game series with nationally ranked Wichita State, March 15-16.
OKLAHOMA: 2B Russell Raley (Graham) has a .295 average and 17 rbi in 19 games for the 12-7 Sooners.
OKLAHOMA STATE: 2B Justin Colbert (Graham) is batting .320 with 17 rbi and has 6 steals in 7 tries for the Cowboys. He leads the Big 12 Conference with 32 runs scored.
PACIFIC: Coppell has added SS Anthony Jackson and 3B Justin Baum to their roster for this summer. Jackson leads the Big West Conference with 13 stolen bases and is hitting .282 with 12 rbi in 23 games. Baum is the conference leader with 9 homers and 57 total bases. He has a .298 average and 17 rbi in 23 games for the Tigers. OF Matt Berezay (Highland Park) has 5 homers and 14 rbi in 24 contests.
RICE: RHP Josh Geer (McKinney) sustained his 1st loss of the spring on March 20, dropping a 5-1 decision to San Jose State. Geer is 5-1, 1.58 for the 15th ranked Owls (15-8). He leads the Western Athletic Conference in wins, has the 2nd lowest era, and is 3rd in strikeouts (46 in 45.2 ip). RHP Eddie Degerman (Denton) has the WAC's 7th best era at 3.24 and RHP Ryne Tacker (Coppell) is 2-0, 2.14 in 6 games. RHP Bryce Cox (McKinney) is 1-1, 3.29 with 3 saves in a team high 12 appearances and RHP Bobby Bell (Weatherford) has not allowed an earned run in 12.2 frames with a 1-0 record.
2B Greg Buchanan (McKinney) has returned to the lineup after a foot injury and has a .302 average in 11 games. OF Tyler Henley (Euless) is batting .281 in 23 total contests.
LHP Matt Ueckert will not be returning to Coppell this summer due to arm trouble. Ueckert was 4-2, 1.81 with the Copperheads last summer. He has made just 3 appearances with Rice this spring.
SAM HOUSTON STATE: 2B Isaias Garcia (Euless) is tied for the Southland Conference lead in homers (6) and ranks 5th in total bases (53) and slugging (.596). He is batting .315 with 21 rbi in 22 games. OF Dustin Martin (Graham) is hitting .327 over 18 games and SS Jose Salazar (McKinney) has a .306 mark with 17 rbi in 22 contests.
TEXAS A&M: RHP Chance Corgan (Euless) was the starter and winner for the 14th ranked Aggies (17-7) in a 7-5 win over #21 Texas Tech on March 20 after Texas A&M had lost the 1st 2 games of the weekend series. Corgan issued 5 hits and 2 runs in 5 innings to improve to 2-0, 1.99 in 2005.
OF Keith Stein (Euless) ranks 2nd on the Aggies with 17 rbi in 18 games. 2B Parker Dalton (Mineral Wells) is batting .287 with 13 rbi and OF Todd Sebek (Mineral Wells) is at .265 with 12 rbi.
TEXAS TECH: OF Chris Williams (Coppell) is hitting .282 and tops the Red Raiders (17-6) with 23 walks.
WICHITA STATE: OF Tyler Hill (Coppell) ranks 7th in the Missouri Valley Conference with a .377 average and has 15 rbi in 21 games for the 19-5 Shockers. INF Damon Sublett (Coppell) is at .311 with 15 rbi and OF Blake Hurlbutt (McKinney) has a .322 mark. LHP Rob Musgrave (Euless) ranks 2nd on the staff with 9 appearances and has a pair of saves. LHP Max Hutson (Highland Park) won his collegiate debut in a start versus McNeese St. on March 15, allowing 3 runs in 4 innings.
WEATHERFORD COLLEGE: The Coyotes have started a school best 18-4 under Weatherford Wranglers head coach Jeff Lightfoot. 2B Ryan Baker (Weatherford) had 2 homers and 5 rbi in the 2nd inning of a 12-2 victory over North Central College on March 12. LHP Donald Furrow (Weatherford) allowed 2 hits and one unearned run in a 7-inning, 7-1 complete game win over #1 NJCAA ranked San Jacinto J.C. on March 16.