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Sunday March 15, 2009No. 19 Arkansas Edges No. 18 Baseball, 4-2

Fayetteville, Ark.

No. 19 Arkansas (12-3/3-0 SEC) snapped a 2-2 tie with a pair of runs in the eighth inning to complete a three-game sweep of No. 18 Florida (9-7/0-3 SEC) with a 4-2 triumph in front of 7,411 fans at Baum Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

 

The eventual winning run scored when senior Patrick Keating (Harrisburg, Ill.) (2-3) struck out freshman Jarrod McKinney and the ball bounced off the dirt, hit the batter and rolled away, allowing senior Ben Tschepikow to come in from third base. Despite the apparent interference, which resulted in the ejection of UF head coach Kevin O’Sullivan, the Hogs went ahead on the play and later tacked on an insurance run. Arkansas also took advantage of a season-high six Florida errors and used 2.1 innings of shutout relief from freshman Zack Cox (2-0) before junior Stephen Richards recorded the final two outs to collect his second save.  

 

The Razorbacks drew first blood against freshman Nick Maronde (Lexington, Ky.) with an RBI single by senior Scott Lyons in the opening frame. Redshirt freshman Collin Kuhn had led off with a triple into left field and Lyons singled through the right side. Maronde had Tschepikow ground into a 4-6-3 double play and sophomore Travis Sample ground out to end the inning.

 

Florida had runners on the corners with one down in the second against redshirt freshman Drew Smyly (6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 4 K) but came away empty-handed. Junior Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) (2-for-3) legged out a bunt to start the inning and moved into scoring position on a grounder by senior Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.). After an infield hit by sophomore Riley Cooper (Clearwater, Fla.), den Dekker raced over to third on a wild pitch. Smyly struck out junior Clayton Pisani (Naples, Fla.) and Cooper was thrown out attempting to steal second.  

 

Senior Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) (2-for-4) evened the game at 1-1 with a two-out solo homer in the third. His second big fly of the season landed in the bullpen beyond the right-field fence.

 

The Gators took advantage of a wild pitch by Smyly to grab a 2-1 lead in the fourth. Adams had a leadoff single up the middle and was sacrificed over by den Dekker. A base-hit by McArthur gave the visitors runners on first and third with one down and Smyly responded by fanning Cooper. However, the southpaw uncorked an errant pitch which allowed Adams to score and give Florida its first lead of the series.

 

Maronde worked out of a major jam in the bottom of the inning to keep his squad in front. With one down, the Gators committed back-to-back infield errors and a passed ball left a pair of runners in scoring position. Maronde struck out sophomore Brett Eibner and caught sophomore Andy Wilkins looking on strikes to preserve the one-run advantage.

 

An RBI groundout by senior pinch hitter Chase Leavitt in the sixth tied the game at two runs apiece. Lyons reached on a throwing error by Mooney to begin the frame and Tschepikow extended his hitting streak to 10 games to put Arkansas in business. Keating was called on to replace Maronde (5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, career-high 5 K) and freshman pinch hitter Bo Bigham executed a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners with one down. Although Keating had Leavitt ground out to Pisani, it brought across Lyons with the equalizer. After an intentional walk to Wilkins, Keating had senior Andrew Darr’s grounder force Wilkins at second base for the third out.

 

In the eighth, Tschepikow started the inning with a free pass but Keating had Bigham pop up a bunt attempt to McArthur. Tschepikow stole second base but an errant throw by junior catcher Buddy Munroe (Miami, Fla.) allowed him to take third. Keating struck out McKinney for the second out but the ball ricocheted off the batter for a wild pitch and Tschepikow came home with the go-ahead run. The umpires ruled that the play stood and ejected O’Sullivan. Junior Tony Davis (Cooper City, Fla.) came in for Keating (2.1 IP, 0 H, 2 R) and plunked Wilkins. With freshman Anthony DeSclafani (Freehold, N.J.) on the mound, UA pulled off a double steal. Wilkins swiped second and McKinney nabbed third but another throwing error by Munroe resulted in a 4-2 lead for the Hogs.

 

The Gators return to home to face Florida State at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at McKethan Stadium in the first of three meetings between the Sunshine State rivals during the regular season. UF heads to Orlando for a matchup at UCF on Wednesday and then hosts Eastern Division rival Tennessee next weekend.

         

-UF-

 

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