FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Western Illinois returns 14 players from last year’s team that finished with a 17-35-1 record. The Leathernecks bring back four starting position players and seven pitchers from last year’s team. As a team, Western Illinois had a .253 batting average, a 4.85 team ERA and a .949 fielding percentage.
Offensively, the Leathernecks are led by All-Summit League selection Dan Dispensa, who led Western Illinois in seven statistical categories last season. Dispensa had a team-high .344 batting average with two homers and 28 RBI. Steve Kedroski played in 49 games, including 38 starts, and had a .237 batting average with a home run and 16 RBI. Brent Turner had a .188 batting average with six RBI in 30 games played, while Manny Reyes hit .180 with 12 RBI in 45 games played.
On the mound, sophomore right hander Nick Smith will start the series opener on Friday. Smith pitched in 14 games, with 12 starts, in 2012 and had a 3-6 record with a 4.98 ERA. On Saturday, the Leathernecks will start either sophomore righty Tyler Willman on junior right hander John White. Willman went 1-1 with a 7.71 ERA in seven appearances last season, while White joins Western Illinois after playing at John Wood Community College. On Sunday, sophomore right-handed pitcher Mason Pingel will start for WIU. Pingel pitched in nine games last season and had a 0-0 record with a 5.00 ERA.
Arkansas and Western Illinois have met four times previously with the Razorbacks winning all four prior games. The two teams last played in the 2009 season with the Razorbacks claiming an 8-7 win in 10 innings.
NOTE: Former Claremore All-State shortstop Travis Stafford will suit up for Western Illinois this weekend at Baum Stadium.
Weekend Schedule (Times Central and Subject to Change) – Fayetteville, Ark.
Friday, Feb. 15 – 3:05 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 16 – 12:05 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 17 – 1:05 p.m.