Arkansas pitchers had given up only three home runs in 2015 and just 10 in 24 nonconference games last year. Loyola Marymount went deep to change all of that Sunday at Baum Stadium.
LMU's Lions roughed up Arkansas pitching for four home runs in a 9-0 victory that sent many of the 2,427 to the exits early. It was more than just a power display by the visitors from California. They limited the Hogs to just three hits with the first five in the lineup going hitless in 20 plate appearances. Bobby Wernes, Brett McAfee and Carson Shaddy had one hit apiece.
Dominic Taccolini, the winning pitcher Saturday, had given up all three opposing homers before the Lions hit some shots far out of Baum Stadium on Sunday. Starting pitcher Keaton McKinney gave up two in a four-run fourth. Jackson Lowery gave up a two-run shot and Kyle Pate allowed a three-run homer.
McKinney had been sharp in his previous three outings, but because of bad weather postponements last week, McKinney was working two days less rest. It seemed to show.
Meanwhile, LMU pitching dazzled. Starter Taylor McGill worked around four walks in his five innings. Closer J.D. Busfield, not used as the Hogs won the first two games of the series, dazzled in his three innings.
The Hogs did have some chances, but left nine men on base. Michael Bernal entered the game with a .615 batting average after coming off the injury list. He was hitless in four at bats, stranding eight. His ground outs to the shortstop in the second and fourth left the bases full.
"They played a lot better than we did," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "Our pitchers really struggled out of the bullpen. They had their closer in for the sixth and he filled up the zone.
"Give credit to their team. Overall, I'm glad we won the series against a good team. But I'm disappointed in how we played. But to go 2-1 against a team that is picked to win their conference is a good weekend."
Bernal was in position to do some damage, but Van Horn said, "He hit weak ground balls to short." There was a little better contact in the ninth when Bernal's flare was trapped by centerfielder Austin Miller for the game's final out. Van Horn came out of the dugout as if to argue the missed call that would have plated at least one run.
"I was going out and then you think, 'It's a 9-0 game and they got to catch a plane,' so why do it," he said. "The umpire crew was pretty good but they missed that call."
Van Horn preferred to talk abut the issues in the bullpen as they face a tough two-game series with Gonzaga on Tuesday and Wednesday, then the start of SEC play at loaded defending national champ Vanderbilt.
"We need to play well and get better," he said of the Gonzaga games. Game times are 6:35 p.m. Tuesday and 3:05 p.m. Wednesday. "We need to adjust some things in the bullpen."
Concerning the bullpen, Van Horn said some the results Sunday might keep some pitchers out of SEC games. After McKinney, Van Horn used Jackson Lowery, Josh Alberius, Jacob Stone, Jonah Patten, Kyle Pate and CAnnon Chadwick.
It's clear that James Teague, who didn't pitch on the weekend, will get the start on Tuesday, although Van Horn said that wouldn't be announced until Monday.
"We will just do what we did today after that," he said. "We can't burn anybody up before going to Vanderbilt."
It was the worst home non-conference loss in the regular season since 2000 when Long Beach State blistered the Hogs, 16-3. Oklahoma State beat Arkansas in the NCAA tournament at Baum by, 14-3, in 2007.
Loyola Marymount Wins Finale, 9-0
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