FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – No. 9 Arkansas rode the right arm of starting pitcher Duke Welker to a 7-1 win over No. 17 Florida to complete the doubleheader sweep of the Gators in front of 3,739 fans at Baum Stadium.
Welker threw a career-high 8.1 innings to improve to 5-2 on the season, allowing just one run on five hits and striking out seven. He allowed two hits in the first inning and did not surrender another hit until the ninth inning, including a stretch of 15 straight from the fourth inning through the first batter of the ninth.
The Razorbacks improved to 28-10 on the year and 10-4 in Southeastern Conference play. The Gators fell to 20-18 and 8-6 in league action.
UF starter Billy Bullock took the loss for the Gators. He allowed three runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
Sean Jones and Logan Forsythe staked the Razorbacks to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning. Jones laced a RBI single into right-center field and Forsythe followed with a two-RBI single through the left side of the infield.
The Hogs didn’t score again until the bottom of the eighth inning when they rallied for four runs on three hits off UF reliever Patrick Keating. Leadoff walks to Jeff Nutt and Casey Coon sparked the UA rally. Pinch hitter Ben Tschepikow then laid down a bunt single and Nutt came around to score on a throwing error by the UF third baseman on the play.
Danny Hamblin then laced a RBI single through the left side to score Nutt and give the Razorbacks a 6-1 cushion. The final two runs of the night came on a Tim Smalling’s single up the middle.
Hamblin finished the game with two hits and a RBI, while going 6 for 8 during the doubleheader to raise his average to a season-best .271.
Welker was finally lifted from the game in the top of the ninth inning. He stuck out Cole Figueroa to lead off the inning, but then surrendered singles to Matt LaPorta, Brian Leclerc and a RBI single to Matt den Dekker.
Travis Hill came on in relief of Welker, who left the game to a chant of ‘Duke, Duke, Duke.’ Hill then got Bryson Barber to pop up to second base and caught Chris Petrie looking to end the game.
Arkansas will go for the sweep on Sunday at 12:07 p.m. on Cox Sports Television (Channel 119 in Northwest Arkansas).