WESTERN ILLINOIS 7, ARKANSAS 5
Joe Serrano had three hits on Sunday, but it wasn't enough to help the Razorbacks to another win over Western Illinois.
IN A NUTSHELL
The sunny, nicer weather at Baum Stadium on Sunday didn't translate to a victory for the top-ranked Razorbacks as they fell to Western Illinois 7-5.
Arkansas (2-1) got behind 2-0 to start the game and then 6-3 after four innings and tried to play catchup the rest of the day. Trent Daniel started for the Razorbacks and gave up six runs on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings.
Western Illinois (1-2) increased the lead to 7-3 in the top of the seventh, but Arkansas fought back to score two runs in the bottom of the seventh on a Brian Anderson double to center field. Anderson's hit scored both Matt Vinson and Tyler Spoon.
However that was as close as the Razorbacks would come though they did get a runner on base in each of the eighth and ninth innings. In the ninth, Jacob Morris walked to start the inning, but Spoon and Brett McAfee each grounded out to shortstop and Anderson flied out to left field to end the game.
Mason Pingel picked up the win for Western Illinois while Daniel took the loss. Brandon Moore came in to pitch 5 2/3 innings of relief only allowing one run and one hit.
STATS THAT MATTER
5,833 The attendance on Sunday though it seemed there was more fans than that in the stadium.
2 Number of runs allowed by Western Illinois' bullpen.
3 Spoon and Joe Serrano each got a trio of hits on Sunday.
5 The number of combined hits by the 1-3 hitters on each team.
11 Arkansas' hits compared to nine for Western Illinois.
Anderson came into the game with four hits in six at bats and managed two in five tries on Sunday. He also had three RBI in Sunday's game. Anderson did have an error while playing shortstop, but then moved back to third base to finish the game and played well in the field as well.
Morris did work Brian Loconsole for a walk in the bottom of the ninth, but was 0 for 3 for the game. In the three-game series, Morris, batting in the two hole, had one hit in nine at bats. Morris is one of the best defensive outfielders in college baseball, but struggled with the bat this weekend.
***Arkansas was without second baseman Dominic Ficociello (strained oblique), starting pitcher Randall Fant (hamstring) and ace reliever Colby Suggs (strained oblique) all weekend. Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn isn't expecting to get Fant back this week, Ficociello probably Saturday at the earliest and maybe not all week and Suggs should be available for the mid-week series against New Orleans on Tuesday and Wednesday.
***True freshman catcher Blake Baxendale is out for the season following Tommy John Surgery. Van Horn tried to give Wise a rest on Sunday, but Ramirez had an error, passed ball and grounded into a double play in 3 ½ innings of action.
Daniel on his performance: “I got us off to a bad start. It's hard when our offense is trying to keep scoring and I can't get a scoreless inning. I just didn't make pitches. I left a lot of balls over the middle of the plate. That's why they hit me and they found holes.”
Spoon on his three hits on Sunday: “It's something to obviously build off of, but I would rather win. I would rather have a bad day at the plate and win than have a great day at the plate and lose.”
Van Horn on Western Illinois: “I thought Western Illinois played extremely well. They outplayed us defensively, they made all the plays. They just kept building on that lead. They took the lead back with those three runs, but with six at bats left we had plenty of time to catch them, but we didn't take advantage of a couple of things.”
Van Horn on Arkansas' struggles in the field early: “I think they had seven runs and only drove in four of them. I think we had a passed ball, a throwing error and on the one play they ran a first-and-third play, I don't know what happened there.”
Van Horn on Arkansas' hitting problem on Sunday: “The biggest obstacle for us on offense today, we got our hits, was we chased a lot of balls out of the zone today. We haven't done that the first two days at all.”
Van Horn on Arkansas' comeback attempt late in game: “We battled and had our chances in the eighth and ninth. We had our chances to get back in the game, had runners on, but just didn't get the big hit.”
Van Horn on Arkansas' three errors: “We hadn't made an error in two games. I tried to play some different people, have a couple of guys hurt and tried to rest a catcher. I moved some guys around and, boy, it kind of backfired. Like I told them, I can't play the same guys everyday. We've got to have some guys step it up and be able to play at this level.”
Arkansas will play host to New Orleans at 3:05 on Tuesday and Wednesday. Van Horn said Sunday he would likely go with true freshman Colin Poche, lefty, on Tuesday and another true freshman Trey Killian, righty, on Wednesday.
It will be Poche's first action of the season. Killian pitched three innings in relief on Friday and allowed no hits or runs during that span.
Arkansas is 0-2 against New Orleans in the history of the series.