Friday March 13, 2009Baseball Drops SEC Opener At Arkansas
Arkansas junior left-hander Dallas Keuchel (2-0) did not allow a hit until the sixth inning and the No. 18 Hogs (10-3) notched season-highs in hits (14) and home runs (three) on their way to an 11-4 victory over No. 19 Florida (9-5) in the Southeastern Conference opener for both clubs on Friday night at Baum Stadium. Keuchel retired the first 14 Gator hitters of the contest, registered a season-best nine strikeouts over seven innings and allowed four singles. He was supported by an offense that featured a grand slam by freshman Zack Cox (3-for-4), a three-run dinger by senior Ben Tschepikow (2-for-4) and a solo shot by sophomore Andy Wilkins (3-for-4).
The Razorbacks plated four unearned runs in the third inning against junior Billy Bullock (Balm, Fla.) (0-1) to open the scoring. Cox started the frame with a double into left center and advanced on a grounder by redshirt freshman Tim Carver. Senior Ryan Cisterna attempted a suicide squeeze that Bullock fielded cleanly but the righty overthrew junior catcher Buddy Munroe (Miami, Fla.) to allow Cox to come across. After redshirt freshman Collin Kuhn (2-for-5) flew out to right, Tschepikow belted his fifth homer into the bullpen in right field for a 4-0 advantage.
Arkansas tacked on two more runs on three hits in the fourth to build a 6-0 lead. Wilkins led off the frame to with a homer to straightaway center field, matching Tschepikow for the team lead. Sophomore Brett Eibner followed with a free pass and stole second base and Bullock (3.1 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 2 ER) was replaced by redshirt freshman Justin Poovey (Granite Falls, N.C.) after having Cox fly out. Carver pushed Eibner to third with a grounder and Cisterna delivered an RBI single through the left side.
Cox cranked a grand slam in the fifth, his first collegiate homer, to expand the Hogs’ advantage to 10-0. Sophomore Jacob House (2-for-5) singled up the middle, Wilkins moved his teammate to third with a base-hit into right and Eibner was plunked to load the bases with one down. Soon after, Cox blasted a pitch off the scoreboard overlooking right field to clear the bags.
The Gators used a sacrifice fly by junior Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) in the sixth to break up Keuchel’s shutout. Munroe (2-for-4) had foiled the southpaw’s no-hit bid with an infield single to start the stanza and junior Mike Mooney (Loxahatchee, Fla.) (2-for-4) and senior Avery Barnes (High Springs , Fla.) (3-for-5) each singled to load the bases. Pigott flew out to right to bring in Munroe and Keuchel responded with consecutive strikeouts.
Keuchel (7.0 IP, 4 H, 9 K, 1 BB) was replaced at the start of the eighth by junior Jeremy Heatley, who surrendered back-to-back singles by Mooney and Barnes. A walk to freshman pinch hitter Tyler Thompson (Tequesta, Fla.) loaded the bases with none out. However, consecutive fielder’s choices back to the pitcher by freshmen Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) and Jerico Weitzel (Ridgway, Pa.) forced two runners at home. Heatley worked out of the jam completely by having junior Clayton Pisani (Naples, Fla.) ground out to third base. In the bottom of the inning, Wilkins increased the margin to 11-1 with a two-out RBI single that brought in Kuhn.
Florida tallied three runs on three hits in the ninth to finalize the 11-4 count. Sophomore Riley Cooper (Clearwater, Fla.) (2-for-3) opened the frame with his second homer, a shot over the wall in left center field. Freshman Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) was hit by a pitch from Heatley (2.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R) and Munroe roped a double down the right-field line for a pair of runners in scoring position. Mooney’s grounder played Pigott and Barnes doubled to left field to complete the scoring.
The Hogs held a 14-9 advantage in hits, as five different players turned in multiple-hit outings. Poovey (2.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 K) was followed out of the UF bullpen by freshman Greg Larson (Longwood, Fla.), who permitted three hits and a run over a career-high 2.1 innings and had a career-high three strikeouts. Freshman lefty Alex Panteliodis (Tampa, Fla.) (2-1, 4.32) will try to even the series for the Gators tomorrow against junior UA right-hander Mike Bolsinger (1-0, 4.76). First pitch from Baum Stadium will be at 3:05 p.m. Eastern time.