Pitchers Struggle In Diamond Hogs Defeat

FAYETTEVILLE -- Duke Welker figures all pitchers are due for a bad outing on the mound every once in a while. Too bad for No. 5 Arkansas, Welker wasn't the only one who decided Saturday was going to be that bad day.

While Welker was roughed up in his fourth start of the season -- giving up five earned runs and lasting just three innings -- everyone who followed him out of the bullpen wasn't much better, as the Arkansas pitchers gave up a season-worst 13 hits and allowed a season-high eight walks in a 12-10 loss to Illinois State in front of a crowd of 2,861 in Baum Stadium.

"I think we were trying to do too much," Welker said. "We were just trying to do too much. You just need to stay within yourself and be the player you can be.

"I mean, it's baseball. You're going to have bad days and you're going to have good days. You just have to feel blessed to be out here playing ball, with thousands of people coming out here to watch you play. Sometimes it's just not going to work out and we've just got to come back, work harder in practice and hope next time will be better. It was just one of those days."

After Welker staked the Redbirds (2-3) to a 5-1 lead in the top of the fourth, Arkansas (8-3) did appear ready to blow past Illinois State when eight runs crossed the plate in the bottom of the fifth, giving the Razorbacks a 9-5 lead.

But while Redbirds starting pitcher Ryan Copeland settled down after the rough fifth frame, Arkansas' bullpen continued to struggle.

"When you play somebody like Arkansas, you can't make very many mistakes because they jump out on you and today was the same," Illinois State coach Jim Brownlee said. "But I'm really proud of our kids that we hung in there.

"I don't think I've ever seen a game in 30 years where we gave up an eight-spot in an inning and still ended up winning the game. But the credit goes to our kids. We swung the bat very well against a very good bullpen."

Three more runs allowed by Brian McLelland in the sixth and another three given up by Travis Hill in the seventh gave Illinois State an 11-9 lead.

Even the Razorbacks' so-far dominant closer Jess Todd wasn't himself, walking his first batter of the season and pitching to eight batters in two innings while also allowing an unearned run which helped Illinois State hold on for the win.

"There's just some frustrating things," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "I tried to play some different people, but they outhit us, they outpitched us big time and they won the game. They deserved to win the game. They did a good job today over there.

"I mean Welker, he's all over the place. You can't average one walk an inning and pitch. We're going to have to really look at that situation and maybe adjust that and go with somebody else next weekend. But I guess the disappointing thing is when we punch in eight (runs) there in the fifth inning and get the lead, then we get a couple of quick outs and give up an 0-2 single on a pitch that is supposed to be in the dirt and (McLelland) leaves it up. Then we couldn't get them out, and they've got a good team as far as attacking at the plate.

"You know, we didn't come through as far as the guys out of that bullpen. The pitching all day was really, it wasn't good."



TODAY'S TICKET

Illinois State (2-3, 0-0) at Arkansas (8-3, 0-0)

WHEN: 1:05 p.m.

WHERE: Baum Stadium, Fayetteville

ON THE AIR: KFAY 1030-AM; KYNG 1590-AM; KHGG 1580-AM; KHGG 103.1-FM; KURM 790-AM; KURM 100.3-FM; KXIO 106.9-FM; KTTG 96.3-FM

TICKETS: Adults $10, Children $7, Students - free (with University I.D.)



Scouting The Razorbacks

On The Hill: LHP Dallas Keuchel (1-0, 4.32 ERA): Keuchel has already made four appearances this season, but just one as a starter. In his first start last Monday against Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the true freshman allowed no runs and just two hits in five innings for his first win as a Razorback.

Chatter: Arkansas pitchers surrendered a season-high 13 hits in Saturday's loss... Arkansas closer Jess Todd walked his first batter of the season after facing 28 straight batters without a walk to begin the year... Making his third start of the season in left field, Wayne Hrozek was the bright spot of gloomy day for the Razorbacks, finishing 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs.



Scouting The Redbirds

On The Hill: RHP Luke Baughman (0-1, 12.27 ERA): A senior three-year letterman, Baughman will be making his second start of the season today. The 6-foot-2 righty gave up five runs and five hits in just 3 2/3 innings in a 7-3 loss against Nebraska in last weekend's Texas-Arlington Invitational.

Chatter: Illinois State got at least one hit from seven of nine players in the lineup Saturday... The Redbirds defeated Arkansas for the first time since the 1950 season, according to the Illinois State media guide.



3-UP

1. Making his first career start at catcher, Arkansas sophomore Logan Forsythe hit his first home run of the season.

2. Illinois State freshman starting pitcher Ryan Copeland overcame an eight-run fifth inning by Arkansas to work seven hard innings for the win.

3. The Redbirds got two scoreless innings of relief from Kyle O'Brien, who picked up his first save of the season.



3-DOWN

1. Arkansas walked a season-high eight batters Saturday, including four by starter Duke Welker in just three innings of work.

2. The Razorbacks blew the lead twice in Saturday's loss, jumping ahead, 1-0 and 9-5, before finally falling to the Redbirds.

3. Arkansas senior Danny Hamblin continued his hitting slump, going 0-for-5 to drop his season average to .135.

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