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Saturday April 14, 2007No. 5 Arkansas Downs No. 17 Baseball To Begin Twinbill

Fayetteville, AR

Junior Nick Schmidt (8-0) worked seven strong innings in frigid temperatures as No. 5 Arkansas (27-10/9-4 SEC) posted a 14-3 victory over No. 17 Florida (20-17/8-5 SEC) in the opening game of a doubleheader at Baum Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Schmidt scattered seven hits, totaled seven strikeouts and allowed three runs, two coming on solo shots by freshman Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.) and senior Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.). The Hogs snapped a 1-1 tie with four runs in the fourth and tacked on four more in the fifth, three in the sixth and one in both the seventh and eighth.


Junior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.) opened the game with a single to boost his hitting streak to eight games but was out running to second when he was struck on the leg by Figueroa’s single. Figueroa advanced to second on a wild pitch and LaPorta drew a walk from Schmidt for two runners aboard. The lefty retired sophomore Cody Neer (Orlando, Fla.) on an infield fly and fanned senior Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.).   


In the bottom of the inning, the Razorbacks jumped out to a 1-0 lead against freshman Tony Davis (Cooper City, Fla.) on an RBI single to right by junior Casey Coon. Junior Sean Jones led off with a double to right and took third on a flyout to right by sophomore Logan Forsythe. After Coon’s base-knock broke the ice, Davis had junior Jeff Nutt ground into a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play.


Sophomore Jared Kubin (Oakton, Va.) started the Gators’ second off with a walk and senior Austin Pride (Longwood, Fla.) was caught looking on strikes as Schmidt became Arkansas’ all-time leader with his 302nd K. Kubin moved into scoring position with his first stolen base of the year and freshman Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) was hit by a pitch with two down. Schmidt had Townsend’s ground ball force Pigott at second to end the frame.


Figueroa tied the game in the third with his seventh homer and first since March 6 against Jacksonville. LaPorta was then hit by a pitch for the 16th time this year to match Brian Rose’s (2000-03) UF school record of 48 HBP.


Arkansas tallied four runs on three hits in the fourth to build a 5-1 lead. Coon ripped a single up the middle and Nutt was plunked on the next offering from Davis. A wild pitch pushed both runners into scoring position and senior Danny Hamblin cashed in with single to left to snap the deadlock. After Davis hit senior Jake Dugger to load the bases with none out, he was replaced by freshman Kyle Mullaney (Jacksonville, Fla.). Over three innings, Davis (2-1) surrendered four hits and was charged with five runs. Sophomore Matt Willard lofted a sacrifice fly to the warning track in left field and an RBI groundout by freshman Tim Smalling resulted in a three-run advantage. Junior Brian Walker’s wind-aided double to center increased UA’s lead to 5-1.


LaPorta belted his SEC-leading 16th homer with one down in the fifth off Schmidt to narrow the gap to 5-2. The round-tripper was the slugger’s 70th, now 10 shy of the league’s career record held by Eddy Furniss of LSU. LaPorta also boosted his hitting streak to 13 games with his eighth dinger in conference play.


The Hogs erupted for four runs with two out in the home part of the fifth for a 9-2 margin. Mullaney retired the first two batters before Nutt stroked a double just beyond Pigott’s reach in center field. Hamblin legged out an infield hit to third for runners on the corners and Dugger blasted his fifth homer into Florida’s bullpen. Willard drew a walk, stole second and came across on an RBI single by Smalling that ended the afternoon for Mullaney (1.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R). 


Jones started Arkansas’ sixth turn at the plate by being hit by a pitch and Forsythe lined a double to the right-field fence. Freshman Kevin Chapman (Coral Springs, Fla.) recorded two outs and Hamblin provided the Hogs with a 12-2 lead when he cranked his team-leading 10th big fly over the wall in center field.


The Gators got a run back in the seventh on a RBI grounder by Figueroa. Pigott singled up the middle and Townsend walked before a wild pitch enabled both runners to advance. Figueroa collected his second RBI of the afternoon with a tapper to second base. The Hogs answered in the bottom of the inning on Jones’ sac fly to right that plated Willard.


In the eighth, Coon was hit by a pitch and a pinch-hit double by junior Aaron Murphee advanced senior pinch runner Stephen Robison to third. Hamblin’s sac fly to right scored Robison and matched his career best of five RBI.


Eight of UA’s nine hitters contributed at least one hit as the hosts held a 12-7 edge. Hamblin was 3-for-4 with five RBI and three runs, while Figueroa and Pigott had two hits apiece for UF. Florida will send freshman RHP Billy Bullock (Valrico, Fla.) (2-3, 4.61) to the mound in today’s nightcap against junior RHP Duke Welker (4-2, 3.22). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.




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