SEC BASEBALL:

Game lost as Hogs ‘don’t do anything’

By: MICHAEL BONNER SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE
Published: Monday, March 31, 2014
Chris Oliver fires a pitch against Alabama March 23, 2014 at Baum Stadium.
Photo by Michael Woods
Chris Oliver fires a pitch against Alabama March 23, 2014 at Baum Stadium.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Before Chris Oliver found his rhythm Arkansas already trailed by two.

Oliver settled in after early damage, but the Razorbacks’ offense never found a rhythm in its 5-1 loss Sunday at Dudy Noble Field.

“It got away from us because we just didn’t play very well today,” Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said. “We didn’t do anything.”

Arkansas lost its second consecutive game after a six-game winning streak, which included a victory in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader.

The Razorbacks have lost seven times when scoring one run or fewer. They scored two in the final two games in Starkville.

“I know a lot of people think our offense isn’t very good,” Oliver said. “But we know what they can do and frankly we don’t care what other people think we can do. We’ve seen what we can do.”

Mississippi State (20-10, 6-3) scored two runs in the first on an Alex Detz home run that cleared the fence in right. It was the first earned runs Oliver (2-3) had allowed since March 9 against California.

He then retired 9 of the next 11 Bulldogs batters.

“After the home run it kind of lit a fire under me,” Oliver said. “After that I was aggressive with everything. The game changed for me.”

It had no bearing on the rest of the Razorbacks. Arkansas (17-10, 4-5) scored its run in the fourth after Joe Serrano led off with a double. He scored when the next batter, Brian Anderson, singled.

The Razorbacks knocked out Mississippi State starter Trevor Fitts with another single, which put runners on first and third with one out. Reliever Jacob Lindgren escaped the jam after botched bunt and a strikeout.

The Razorbacks continued to hurt their cause in the bottom of the fifth. Oliver picked Bulldogs runner Jake Vickerson off second, but third baseman Bobby Wernes couldn’t tag Vickerson.

“He didn’t tag him. He ran out of the baseline. The rule says if he goes out of the baseline he’s out,” Van Horn said.

“But obviously that’s not the way Mr. Umpire over there saw it. But I can’t argue with that or really comment.”

Oliver still had a chance to escape the inning down 2-1. He got up 0-2 on Wes Rea, Mississippi State’s No. 3 hitter, but served up a hittable pitch, and Rea hit it into right field for an RBI single.

“He throws one down the middle, and it’s supposed to be up and out. It’s supposed to be a chase pitch,” Van Horn said.

“If it could go wrong it did in that inning.”

Arkansas can’t stew over its mistakes too long.

The Razorbacks are scheduled to play five consecutive home games this week, nonconference games against Nebraska on Tuesday and Wednesday and a three-game series with No. 2 South Carolina, which starts on Thursday.

“We’ve got to bounce back real quick,” Wernes said. “That’s the great thing about baseball. We’ll be ready to go.”

Up next

ARKANSAS VS. NEBRASKA WHEN 6:35 p.m. Tuesday WHERE Baum Stadium, Fayetteville RECORDS Arkansas 17-10, 4-5 SEC; Nebraska 15-12, 1-2 Big Ten RADIO RSP statewide radio network.

INTERNET arkansasrazorbacks.com THE WEEK AHEAD WEDNESDAY Nebraska, 1:35 p.m.

FRIDAY-SUNDAY South Carolina

Sports, Pages 13 on 03/31/2014

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