The Arkansas Razorbacks are back to the drawing board after suffering their first losses of 2020 in the Shriners Hospitals’ for Children College Classic to Oklahoma, Texas, and Baylor. Over the course of the weekend, the Diamond Hogs committed 7 errors and now have 13 total on the season.
Beginning the weekend against Oklahoma, the Sooners’ ace Cade Cavalli was having his way with the Hogs’ batting order until Cole Austin singled which brought up Robert Moore who then hit a 2-run shot to tie the game at two. Jacob Nesbit then followed that with a solo-HR giving the Hogs a one run lead and swayed the momentum in their favor. Oklahoma’s Brady Lindsly later hit a solo homer in the 6th inning to tie the game and the Hogs began a downhill slide. The Sooners added three more runs to make it 6-3 in a 7th inning with multiple throwing errors. The Hogs reached scoring position in the 9th, but were unable to complete the rally starting off what would become a rough weekend.
After surrendering an 8-0 lead Texas and 3-0 to Baylor, the Hogs came up just one run short in both contests. In back to back games, DH Matt Goodheart hit doubles to right center that were inches shy of being home runs that would have tied the games.
Texas couldn’t have gotten off to a better start putting up two runs in the first and dominating the second inning adding six, but the Longhorns did not score after that. Hogs’ LHP Patrick Wicklander just did not have his stuff and was pulled after one inning. Marshall Denton came in to relieve and gave up two runs, which forced Coach Dave Van Horn to go back to his bullpen bringing in Caleb Bolden who held the Longhorns to just two hits and struck out five batters in four innings.
Junior RHP Kole Ramage got the start against Baylor and pitched three shutout innings, striking out six. The Bears scored one run each between the fourth and sixth innings with Arkansas finally getting the bats going in the eighth, but it was the same story as the night before as they were unable to complete the comeback.
There were many concerns to be talked about particularly among Arkansas’ infielders, but the one repeatedly mentioned is the struggles of SS Casey Martin. The junior was named to just about every Preseason All-American list and before the season was basically a lock as a top-15 pick for the 2020 MLB Draft. In nine games he is batting .182, struck out 14 times, and has 4 errors on defense which all rank last on the team.
After going 1-9 at the plate against Texas and Oklahoma along with another game struggling in the infield, Van Horn shuffled the lineup against Baylor giving Martin the night off. “He has had a few of those performances, and there’s really not much you can say anymore. It’s his battle and he’s got to get through it” Van Horn told Kendall Rogers from D1 Baseball. Van Horn continued, “He needs to sit over here [in the dugout] and watch. I want to win every game, but sometimes you got to do what you got to do.”
Arkansas is back in Fayetteville for a six-game home stand before beginning SEC play in Starkville taking on the Mississippi State Bulldogs March 13-15th.
NEXT GAME: Arkansas vs Illinois State March 3rd 3:00 PM
The Illinois State Redbirds from the Missouri Valley Conference will travel to Baum-Walker Stadium for a Tuesday afternoon match-up with Arkansas. The Redbirds have struggled through their first ten games going 3-7 losing series to the Little Rock Trojans, Oklahoma Sooners, and Louisiana Monroe Warhawks but were able to snag one game from each series.