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Sunday April 13, 2008Arkansas Takes Series Over No. 21 Baseball

Gainesville, FL -

Arkansas (19-15/5-9 SEC) had four multiple-run innings and took advantage of six errors to post a 10-4 victory over No. 21 Florida (24-12/9-6 SEC) in the rubber match of the squads’ three-game series at McKethan Stadium on Sunday afternoon. It marked the first time UA had captured a series in Gainesville since 1999. Junior Justin Wells (3-0) worked 6.2 innings for the win, while senior Jeff Nutt was 3-for-4 with three RBI and a solo homer.  


“We are not going to win with six errors,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “We couldn’t seem to gain any momentum this afternoon. We would score two runs and then give up two. This was a disappointment losing this series at home since it’s tough to win on the road and three of our final five SEC series will be away. We have to take care of series at home and unfortunately that didn’t happen today.”


Although Arkansas put its first two batters of the game aboard against freshman Tommy Toledo (Tampa, Fla.) (4-3), it could not score in the first frame for the third day in a row. Junior Chase Leavitt (2-for-5, two runs) opened with a single up the middle and junior Ben Tschepikow (2-for-4, three runs) drew a walk before junior Logan Forsythe’s grounder to third base was scooped up by senior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.), who stepped on third and threw over to second for a double play. Sophomore Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) robbed Nutt of potential extra bases with a sprawling catch in right to end the frame.


The Hogs plated three runs on four hits to take a 3-0 lead in the second. Leavitt singled and Tschepikow followed with his sixth double of the season before Forsythe sliced an RBI single through the left side of the infield. Forsythe stole second for a pair of runners in scoring position and Nutt earned a free pass on four pitches to fill the sacks. Soon after, freshman Brett Eibner (2-for-4, three RBI) drove in two runs with a one-out single to right field.


Pigott came through with UF’s first hit off Wells to start the bottom of the third. However, Arkansas turned a 5-4-3 double play on sophomore Buddy Munroe’s (Miami, Fla.) ground ball and junior Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) grounded out to give Wells a four-pitch inning.     


Florida answered in the fourth on a two-run single by freshman Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) to close the gap to 3-2. Sophomore Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) led off with a base-hit to center and sophomore Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.) stroked his 10th double before Adams put the Gators on the board. A one-out single by senior Bryson Barber (Pensacola, Fla.) pushed Adams to third but Wells worked out of trouble with a pickoff of Barber and had sophomore Clayton Pisani (Naples, Fla.) ground out.  


Arkansas came right back with two runs on three hits in the fifth to build a 5-2 lead. Tschepikow had a ground-rule double over the wall in left center and a single by Nutt gave the Hogs a pair of runners aboard with one down. Eibner’s two-bagger scored Tschepikow and rookie Jacob House’s RBI grounder helped the visitors regain a three-run advantage.


Toledo worked five innings, allowing 10 hits and five runs, with two walks and a couple of strikeouts. The Razorbacks took advantage of three UF errors in the sixth and a bases-loaded, two-run single by Nutt to grab a 7-2 lead. With sophomore Clint Franklin (Orlando, Fla.) on the mound, junior Ryan Cisterna reached on a fielding error by Adams and wound up on second base. After junior Scott Lyons laid down a sac bunt, Figueroa fielded Leavitt’s ground ball and nailed Cisterna at the plate. Leavitt went to second on an errant pickoff throw by Franklin, Tschepikow reached on a miscue by Adams and Forsythe walked to fill the bags with two down. Nutt cashed in with a single into center that scored two but Tschepikow was erased at the plate on an 8-4-2 relay.


Back-to-back two-out singles by Barber and Pisani narrowed the gap to 7-4 in the sixth. After Wells retired the first two batters, Adams doubled and Townsend legged out an infield hit. Barber rifled a single into right and Pisani followed with a base-knock into left to bring the Gators within three runs again. Wells rebounded by catching Pigott looking on strikes to strand the pair of runners.  


Arkansas increased its margin to 9-4 in the seventh with two unearned runs. After Franklin plunked Eibner, he was replaced by sophomore Tony Davis (Cooper City, Fla.). The southpaw faced just one batter, senior Sean Jones, who moved his teammate over with a sacrifice bunt. Sophomore Tim Smalling drew a walk from senior Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.) and Townsend missed Cisterna’s grounder, allowing Eibner to come across. Following a double steal, Lyons’ suicide squeeze resulted in the Hogs’ ninth run.


Nutt blasted his second homer of the series and third of the year with two down in the eighth off freshman Travis Lawler (College Station, Texas) to complete the scoring. Arkansas enjoyed a 12-9 advantage in hits but the clubs combined for eight errors. The Gators begin a four-game road trip on Tuesday night when they travel to Tallahassee to face top-ranked Florida State (31-3/17-1 ACC). UF and the Seminoles have split the first two meetings this season – the Gators winning, 6-1, in Gainesville on March 18, and FSU taking a 10-2 victory in Jacksonville on April 1.


Game Notes

·         Florida’s opponent has scored first in five consecutive games.

·         In sophomore Matt den Dekker’s last four games that he has batted second, the center fielder is 7-for-16 (.438) with six RBI, six runs, three triples, a double and a home run.

·         UF fell to 8-4 (.667) against SEC Western Division opponents.

·         12 of freshman Josh Adams’ 24 hits in SEC play have gone for extra bases.

·         For the series, Adams was 6-for-11 (.545) with two runs, three RBI and three doubles.








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