Big Comeback Sends Arkansas Past Milwaukee In Series Opener
March 12, 2010
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The University of Arkansas scored 11 unanswered runs to turn a 6-3 deficit into a 14-6 victory over the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee baseball team Friday afternoon at Baum Stadium. The Razorbacks (10-3), ranked No. 14 in the country, regained the lead against the Panthers (4-6) in the bottom of the seventh inning, breaking open a 6-6 deadlock with an eight-run explosion.
Ten walks on the day by the UWM pitching staff hurt the cause and the team could not get out of the seventh inning despite being tied headed in. James McCann highlighted the uprising with a grand slam after Bo Bigham started the scoring with a two-run single.
"We really let a great opportunity pass us by there," Milwaukee head coach Scott Doffek said. "If you look at the fifth and sixth, we scored in each of those innings and in the bottom of each we gave up runs instead of finding a way to put up a zero. We just didn't throw enough strikes. If we didn't walk them, we found ourselves in bad counts, and you are not going to beat a good team like that without command of the strike zone."
In a contest that featured four lead changes, Milwaukee originally jumped back in front in the fifth inning when junior Cole Kraft broke open a 2-2 game with a two-run home run off the scoreboard in right center. UWM had tied the game just earlier when junior Chad Pierce scored on a ground ball headed up the middle that was scored an error.
After the Razorbacks got one back in the bottom of the frame, the Panthers tacked on two more in the sixth on four hits. Senior Tim Patzman led off with one of them before stealing second. After a single from junior Doug Dekoning, Pierce plated Patzman with an infield single to third. Freshman Jonathan Capasso then closed out the rally with an RBI-single to right field to make it 6-3 at the time with the team thinking upset.
Arkansas responded with three in the six to chase sophomore Kyle Schmidt. Following a leadoff fly ball, a hit batter and RBI-triple ended Schmidt's outing. A double and run-scoring groundout later, the game was all tied at 6-6.
"Kyle did not have his best stuff," Doffek said. "But what he did do was battle and put up ones. And, I think our offense did a really good job in tacking on some runs. We left the bases loaded in the sixth and it would have been nice to get a big two-out hit there. From top to bottom, we just didn't pitch enough."
The Panthers had a chance in the seventh, but a diving play by the UA first baseman on what looked like an RBI-single for senior Dan Buchholz kept the contest tied.
UWM got things going right away, getting on the board on an RBI-double off the bat of senior Ben Long. That hit scored Kraft, who walked to lead off the game and had stolen second. The Razorbacks battled back, tying the game in the bottom of the second before going ahead, 2-1, on a wild pitch in the third.
The offense ended with 13 hits, led by two each from Kraft, Long and Pierce, who reached base all four times on the day (two hits/walk/HBP). The Panthers recorded all six runs and eight hits off Arkansas starter Mike Bolsinger, who had allowed just five runs all season coming in and had a 1.29 ERA at the start of the day.
Schmidt went 5.1 innings in allowing five earned runs, striking out three. Junior Cuyler Franzke (2-2) was tagged with the loss in 1.1 innings, giving up nine runs. Sophomore Greg Blohowiak closed it out with two scoreless frames.
"I think the lineup we have has expectations of scoring runs regardless of who we face," Doffek said. "In general, we gave them pretty good at bats the whole game. Our guys will come out, relish the chance tomorrow and put all three aspects together. We swung the bats well tonight and played good defense, we just did not pitch enough."
Milwaukee and Arkansas continue the three-game series Saturday, with a first pitch scheduled for 2:05 p.m.