MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota slugged its way to a doubleheader split in the second game on Sunday in front of 2,291 fans at the Metrodome with a 10-5 over No. 5 Arkansas.
The Golden Gophers pounded out 14 hits and were helped by four Arkansas errors to improve to 5-2 on the season. The Razorbacks drop to 10-5 on the year after beating the Gophers 5-1 in the first game behind Nick Schmidt’s complete game.
Marcus McKenzie earned the win on the mound for the Gophers, pitching five-strong innings allowing three runs on four hits. Bill Johnson came on to pitch 4.1 innings of relief, allowing two runs while Josh Oslin finished things off with the final two outs of the ninth inning.
Junior right-hander Duke Welker’s afternoon didn’t last long as he exited with two outs and the bases loaded in the first inning. Welker’s trouble started after a walk to Dan Lyons, who stole second base and advanced to third on a throwing error catcher Logan Forsythe.
Welker then got the Gophers’ best hitter Mike Mee to ground back to him and Lyons strayed off third base. But instead going to third base, Welker looked Lyons back and got the out at first. Welker then surrendered a RBI single to left-center field by Nate Hanson and another single to right field by Kyle Baran.
Welker then got Bryan Jost to strike out swinging, but he reached base on Forsythe’s passed ball. He then walked Sean Kommerstad to end his day and to give Minnesota a 2-0 lead. Dallas Keuchel came on and got the final out of the inning.
Keuchel worked 3.2 innings and was saddled with the loss after allowing four runs, three earned, on five hits while walking one and striking out four in relief of Welker.
The Razorbacks broke through in the top of the third inning on a sacrifice fly to left off the bat of Ben Tschepikow and a two-RBI double over the head of the left fielder by Casey Coon.
Minnesota answered back with a RBI single by Derek McCallum in the bottom half of the inning after a throwing error by Coon at third base.
The Gophers blew things open with four runs on five hits off two Razorback pitchers in the fifth inning. Keuchel surrendered three runs before being replaced by Chris Rhoads. Hanson had an RBI double in the inning while Jost added a RBI single and Matt Nohelty drove in two with a single.
Arkansas tried to get back into the game with two runs in top of the sixth inning on a RBI single by Forsythe and a RBI groundout by Dugger. But the Hogs left runners on second and third base when Tschepikow grounded out to shortstop to end the inning.
Mike Mee’s leadoff double in the bottom of the sixth inning came around to score with one out on a RBI single by Hanson. Minnesota scored its ninth run of the game on a RBI ground out in the seventh inning of UA reliever Brian McLelland and run No. 10 with a RBI single by Derek McCallum in the eighth.
Coon, Nick Schmidt and Dugger were named to the Dairy Queen Classic all-tournament team.
Arkansas hitting Coon, Smalling and Aaron Murphree led the way with two hits each.
The Razorbacks return home next weekend for a three-game series with Kansas at Baum Stadium. Games time are slated for 12:35 p.m. Friday, 12:05 p.m. Saturday and 1:05 p.m. Sunday.