Rowlett Grand Slam Dooms Golden Gophers
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas took advantage of nine Minnesota walks in a 12-3 win over the Golden Gophers on Saturday afternoon in front of 6,783 fans at Baum Stadium.
The 21st-ranked Razorbacks improved to 8-1 on the season behind a nine-hit attack at the plate and a great performance out of left-handed reliever James Gilbert.
Gilbert pitched 5.1 scoreless innings to earn the win and improve to 2-0 on the year. He allowed only two hits while striking out three. UA starting pitcher Charley Boyce lasted 3.2 innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits.
“I like James (Gilbert) out of the pen,” Head Coach Dave Van Horn said. “He gets us out all the time in practice. He actually got better about an inning and a half into it. After Coach (Dave) Jorn went out and talked to him he turned it around. Coach Jorn told him to stop nibbling and throw the ball over the plate, and that is what he did. James did a tremendous job for us.”
Casey Rowlett delivered the big blow in the fourth inning for the Razorbacks with the first grand slam of his career. He crushed a 3-1 fastball in to the Hogs’ bullpen in right field to give UA a 7-3 lead. Arkansas had loaded the bases with the help of three Gopher walks.
“We battled there for a couple of inning before we got that big hit,” Van Horn said. “Casey (Rowlett) worked the count a little bit before he got a 3-1 pitch with the bases loaded and hit a line drive out of the park. That ball was hit well.”
Rowlett finished the game 3 for 4 with four RBI and two runs scored. He leads the Razorbacks with a .541 batting average (20 for 37).
The Hogs took an early 3-0 lead in the third inning without the help of a base hit. The Gopher pitching staff walked five batters in the inning and hit one as well. Jake Dugger drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly to left field and the Minnesota pitching staff walked the other two runs home.
The Hogs tacked on another run in the sixth inning when John Marquardt scored on a pass ball after leading off the inning with a double.
Arkansas extended the lead to 11-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning on a bases-clearing double by Dugger. He went 2 for 3 on the day with four RBI and a run scored to raise his average to .314 on the year.
The Hogs and Gophers wrap up their three-game series at 1:05 p.m. on Sunday at Baum Stadium with the Razorbacks looking to complete the sweep.
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