Matt Jones is the online sports editor for the Arkansas-Democrat-Gazette and Northwest Arkansas Newspapers.
Diamond Hogs look to reverse hitting woes
Arkansas second baseman Dominic Ficociello swings during the second inning of the Razorbacks' 3-0 loss to Gonzaga on Friday in Surprise, Ariz.
SURPRISE, Ariz. Despite 17 hits, Arkansas has only two runs to show in its two losses at the Coca-Cola Classic.
The Razorbacks have stranded 16 base runners in losses to Arizona State and Gonzaga, striking out 20 times and going 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position. With games still to play in the next 24 hours against Arizona State and Pacific, Arkansas is hopeful it can reverse its hitting woes and salvage the four-game trip.
"We have to do a lot better job with runners in scoring position," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "We have to make some in-game adjustments, offensively. The coaches can tell you what to do and show you how to do it, but it's up to the player to get it done and make those adjustments.
"(Changing the lineup) always crosses your mind, especially early in the season. We'll see how that goes. We're facing lefties. We have some good left-handed hitters on the bench, but right-handers usually hit them a little better."
The Razorbacks (7-3) have been unable to catch a break in their trip to the Phoenix metro area. Arkansas twice stranded the bases loaded in a 3-2 loss to Arizona State on Thursday and fell victim to one of preseason all-American Marco Gonzales' best performances on Friday.
Gonzales scattered eight hits and struck out nine with a complete game shutout.
"He was really mixing his pitches well and working the outer half of the plate," Arkansas third baseman Brian Anderson said. 'He was really working the corners with off-speed early and fastball late, and that really got to us.
"Out pitching has been great and the defense has been solid behind them. Our offense just needs to string quality at-bats together. That's our only problem right now."
Arkansas will face Arizona State again today at approximately 5 p.m., Central. Freshman right-hander Trey Killian will make his second start on the mound after giving up no earned runs in a win over Evansville last Sunday. Killian has thrown 8 1/3 innings this season and has a 0.00 earned run average.
The Razorbacks held ASU to seven hits Thursday. Junior right-hander Ryne Stanek gave up one earned run in 5 2/3 innings.
"They're an aggressive hitting team," Van Horn said. "If Trey can spot up his fastball, he's got a shot to give us some good innings. Like anything else, it's day-to-day. Hopefully he can come out as a freshman and won't be too wound up."
Arkansas is scheduled to face Pacific at 11 a.m., Central on Sunday in the final game in Surprise.