FAYETTEVILLE - Dave Van Horn kept his team in the outfield for 15 minutes on a cold, blustery, disappointing Sunday following a 2-1 loss to Vanderbilt. He wasn't giving them a pep talk. He told them a 2-4 start in SEC start means the Razorbacks are going to "run out of weekends" if they don't find their offense.
The Hogs scored a total of four runs in the three games against Vanderbilt. The Commodores, ranked second, are one of the favorites to make the College World Series because of a deep, experienced and talented pitching staff. Van Horn credited the visitors, but said the Hogs could have won all three games with just a little more hitting.
Arkansas outhit Vandy, 7-5, on Sunday. But the Hogs left nine men on base, including three in the fifth and two in the eighth.
It was the fifth inning that bothered Van Horn the most. Sam Bates got a one-out single to center, then Kyle Robinson and Jerrod McKinney both walked to fill the bases. Vandy starter Taylor Hill then got Collin Kuhn and Jacob Morris on swinging third strikes.
Kuhn and Morris both just missed clearing the bases in their at bats. Kuhn pulled a liner that narrowly missed Van Horn in the third base box for a foul ball. Morris was also just a bit early on a long shot that went foul with help from an across-the-field wind. The Morris foul had home run distance.
Kuhn and Morris singled to open the eighth. Kuhn moved to third on the Morris hit and scored on Robinson's sacrifice fly to center.
"Obviously, give credit to them," Van Horn said. "They have a lot of experience and ability in that pitching staff. They really pitched us tough when we had runners in scoring position all weekend.
"I thought they gave us one pitch in each at bat (against Kuhn and Morris) when we had the bases loaded," Van Horn said. "We didn't hit it (fair) and then we chased. You have to hit that pitch and you can't chase.
"We have to be careful or we are going to run out of weekends. Right now, we have to get it going on offense."
Van Horn was frustrated with the lack of frustration in the last five games from the veterans on the team.
"What are our older guys doing?" he said. "Until the older guys get it going, and you can list them off by looking at the batting averages. It's our juniors, seniors and some of the sophomores who have played. Look at their RBIs and their strikeouts.
"I don't think you just forget how to play. It's to the point now that they are probably pressing. Some of them are probably worried about staying in the lineup."
The SEC averages for the veterans is below .200 as a group.
"We were probably lucky to win Friday night," Van Horn said. "At the same time, I was proud of our pitching. We held a team that came in here hitting .317 to just seven runs. We should have scored enough to win all three games."
Randall Fant and Nolan Sandburn were solid on the mound Sunday. Fant got his first start of the season. He gave up a solo home run in the second to Aaron Westlake. The Commodores scored what turned out to be the winning run in the fourth on a two-out rally that culminated with a Fant wild pitch.
Fant gave up his two runs on four hits. He allowed only one walk and fanned three. Sanburn gave up one hit, one walk with three strikeouts in three innings.
"Fant made one mistake and it left the yard," Van Horn said. "But he pitched good enough. It was just a rough weekend for our offense."
The Hogs play host to a veteran Oklahoma team coming off a College World Series trip. Game time Tuesday night is 6:35 p.m. The Hogs travel to Alabama for an SEC series this next weekend.