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Saturday April 14, 2007No. 5 Arkansas Sweeps Doubleheader From Baseball

Fayetteville, AR

Behind a career-high 8.1 innings from junior Duke Welker (5-2), No. 5 Arkansas (28-10/10-4 SEC) completed a twinbill sweep of No. 17 Florida (20-18/8-6 SEC) with a 7-1 win on Saturday night at Baum Stadium. The right-hander registered seven strikeouts and limited the Gators to five singles and a run and the league-leading Hogs used a three-run third inning and four-run eighth to hand UF its fourth-straight setback. Senior Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) raised his hitting streak to 14 games with a ninth-inning single.


The Gators loaded the bases in the first inning but came away empty-handed against Welker. LaPorta became Florida’s all-time leader in hit by pitches when he was plunked for the 49th time with two down. Senior Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) laced a base-hit into left and freshman Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) walked before junior Bryson Barber (Pensacola, Fla.) popped up in foul territory.


Arkansas drew first blood with three runs on four hits in the third off freshman Billy Bullock (Valrico, Fla.) (2-4). Sophomore Matt Willard led off with a single and senior Jake Dugger beat out an infield hit with one down before junior Sean Jones ripped an RBI double into right center. Sophomore Logan Forsythe delivered a two-run single to clear the bases.


Although the Hogs filled the sacks in the fourth, they did not add to the 3-0 lead. After junior Jacob Julius drew a leadoff walk and senior Danny Hamblin dropped a single in just beyond third base, Willard executed a sacrifice bunt to give the hosts two men in scoring position. Freshman Tim Smalling earned a free pass to load the bases and cause a pitching change. Senior David Hurst (Jacksonville, Fla.) took over for Bullock (3.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 4 K) and pitched out of trouble with a strikeout of Dugger and a fly-out to center by Jones.    


Hurst worked 3.2 innings of scoreless ball, allowing one hit with a couple of strikeouts, before yielding to sophomore Patrick Keating (Harrisburg, Ill.) prior to the eighth. The Razorbacks tallied four runs on three hits against the reliever to build a 7-0 cushion. Junior Jeff Nutt opened with a base on balls and junior Casey Coon followed with a walk before junior pinch hitter Ben Tschepikow laid down a bunt up the third-base line. Not only did Tschepikow beat the throw for a hit, junior Jon Townsend’s (London, Ky.) relay eluded LaPorta to enable senior pinch runner Stephen Robison to come across. Hamblin rifled a base-hit through the left side for a 5-0 margin and alertly took second on the relay throw to give UA runners at second and third. Keating fanned Willard for the first out and Smalling poked a two-run single up the middle to put the Hogs ahead, 7-0.


The Gators thwarted Welker’s shutout bid in the ninth. LaPorta sliced a one-out single to left and Leclerc chipped in with his second hit before freshman Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) laced an RBI single to force a pitching change. Junior Travis Hill came out of the bullpen and closed the door by retiring Barber and senior Chris Petrie (Jacksonville, Fla.).


In a matchup of right-handers, junior Bryan Augenstein (Sebastian, Fla.) (3-4, 5.69) will start tomorrow’s finale at 1 p.m. live on Cox Sports against junior Jess Todd (4-2, 4.54).




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