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
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
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.
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,
5.69) will start tomorrow’s finale at 1 p.m. live on Cox Sports against junior
Jess Todd (4-2, 4.54).