SEC BASEBALL:

Arkansas looking for more support

By: KEITH CHARTRAND SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE
Published: Saturday, March 15, 2014
Jalen Beeks picked up his first loss of the season Friday at Florida.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Jalen Beeks picked up his first loss of the season Friday at Florida.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Another game, another one run loss for the Arkansas Razorbacks baseball team.

Arkansas managed seven hits Friday night but didn’t have much to show for it as Florida defeated the Razorbacks 2-1 in the SEC opener for both teams at McKethan Stadium.

It is the second consecutive loss for Arkansas (8-6, 0-1 SEC), and its fourth one run loss in its past six games.

“The frustrating part is that we set up a couple of innings for the middle of our order, and it’s the same things that went on last weekend,” Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said. “We had our opportunities.”

Arkansas starter Jalen Beeks and reliever Zach Jackson worked out of jams to keep it a one-run game, but the Razorbacks’ bats struggled to come up with timely hits. The Razorbacks went three-up, three-down in the sixth, eighth and ninth innings against Florida starter Logan Shore and reliever Aaron Rhodes.

Krisjon Wilkerson was 0 for 4 on the night, popping up to center in the sixth inning and striking out in the eighth. Arkansas’ No. 5 hitter, first baseman Eric Fisher, was 1 for 4 with 1 double and 1 stolen base but mirrored Wilkerson in the late innings. He also popped up to center in the sixth and struck out in the eighth.

No. 3 batter Tyler Spoon was 0 for 3 on the night and struck out to start the eighth while Mike Bernal, batting sixth, was 0 for 3 and grounded out to end the sixth inning.

“We had the guys that we needed - sometimes with one out, sometimes with two - and we didn’t hit a ball hard in those situations,” Van Horn said. “We are not making good contact in the middle of the order, and that is frustrating.”

Beeks was called for a balk in the bottom of the first inning, which allowed Florida lead off hitter Richie Martin to advance from second to third. Martin came around to score on a ground out to third by Peter Alonso as the Gators (12-6, 1-0) took a 1-0 lead.

Arkansas answered in the top of the second. Fisher drew a walk, stole second and came around to score on a two-out base hit by Clark Eagan.

It was the Gators’ turn in the bottom of the third. John Sternagel led off with a single and Buddy Reed followed with a fly ball to center field. Andrew Benintendi made a diving attempt on the ball but couldn’t come up with it, which allowed both runners to advance to second and third. Two batters later, Casey Turgeon’s grounder to shortstop brought home Sternagel home for a 2-1 lead.

Beeks (3-2) took the loss, giving up 6 hits and 3 walks while striking out 3 over 5 1/3 innings.

Shore (1-1)earned his first victory, giving up all 7 of the Razorbacks’ hits while striking out 2 and walking 2 in 6 1/3 innings.

Sports, Pages 19 on 03/15/2014

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