Razorbacks Rout Kentucky

LEXINGTON, KY. -- Duke Welker was supposed to be the weak link in the Arkansas rotation this past weekend against Kentucky. Dave Dombrowski was supposed to be the stronghorse for the Wildcats, who appeared to be saving their best gun for last.

Good thing for the No. 9 Razorbacks, Welker -- and his teammates at the plate -- paid little attention to what was supposed to happen. Behind six stellar innings from Welker and thanks to an Arkansas lineup which forced Dombrowski out of the game after just four forgettable frames, the Diamond Hogs did what they came to do at Cliff Hagan Stadium by pounding out a 14-5 win against Kentucky on Sunday in front of a crowd of 2,169 to take the rubber match in the opening Southeastern Conference series of the season. For Arkansas, the win was a good remedy for the ill feelings left behind after Saturday's 7-5 loss to No. 24 Kentucky. "I think everybody was disappointed with the way we lost yesterday," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "I told our guys, nobody deserved to win that game. But we came back (Sunday) and played well and won an SEC series on the road, which is always big. Especially against a ranked team." For Welker, the performance was just what he needed to show himself, his coaches, his teammates and the Razorbacks faithful that this team's rotation might still be all right even though junior Shaun Seibert was lost earlier in the week to a tear in the right throwing elbow. "I felt comfortable," Welker said. "It was a little more intense playing (an SEC) lineup. But it kind of feels good to have something on your chest to prove when you go out there." After throwing 89 pitches in six innings in a 10-2 win against Oral Roberts on Tuesday, Welker was asked to dig a little deeper to last six frames Sunday. And with Kentucky loading the bases in a 5-2 game in the bottom of the sixth, the Razorbacks (16-6, 2-1 in the SEC) stuck with Welker in a tough spot. The move paid off as the junior college transfer struck out Billy Grace with the bases full, pumping his fists in celebration as he raced off the field. "(Welker) pitched really well. I mean he pitched really well against Oral Roberts earlier in the week and it showed what he can do," Van Horn said. "He had one stretch there, one little inning where it got a little scary there but he got through it and got the big out. "He just never gave up the big inning. They had a chance to get the big two-out hit to score a couple of runs in a couple of different innings and they never did get it. And then we just kept chipping away, scoring here and they to put them away." While Welker (4-0) delivered on the mound for the Razorbacks, Danny Hamblin and Brian Walker were big factors in making sure Dombrowski (3-1) couldn't do the same for Kentucky. Hamblin got things going with his first of two home runs on the day in the top of the second inning before Walker added a towering two-run shot of his own in the fourth. And before Dombrowski and Wildcats (20-2, 1-2) knew it, Arkansas was on its way to an easy SEC road win. "I thought we did a great job at the plate," Van Horn said. "We had a great approach at the plate and went up there swinging because their guy throws strikes. "But you know, we just battled, battled and battled and every time they would score, we would answer." Arkansas returns to action at 3 p.m. Wednesday with a trip to Shreveport, La., to play Centenary. ON DECK Arkansas at Centenary WHEN: 3 p.m., Wednesday WHERE: Shehee Stadium, Shreveport, La. RECORDS: Arkansas 16-6; Centenary 10-14

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