Missouri State kept Arkansas’ long losing skid going into what could be the final weekend of the season.
Jeremy Eierman went 5-for-5 with two home runs and four RBIs, Spencer Johnson added his 18th blast of the season and three pitchers combined on a one-hitter as Missouri State topped Arkansas 8-2 Tuesday night before an announced crowd of 1,873 fans at Baum Stadium.
“It was probably a combination of both (great pitching and bad hitting),” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “…We hit the ball hard maybe five times in the game, which isn’t enough obviously.”
The loss was the 10th straight in a row for the Razorbacks (26-26) and came in the regular season home finale for the squad.
“It’s our own fault,” Van Horn said. “We don’t hold leads, we don’t make a play or we don’t make a pitch or drive in a run. It has cost us. It is our own fault.”
Arkansas is just 7-20 in SEC play and tied with Tennessee for the league cellar going into this weekend’s regular season finale series at No. 4 Mississippi State.
The Razorbacks will likely have to win at least one and maybe two games to have a chance to make the 12-team SEC Tournament and not be one of the two league teams left out.
“We are going to go down there with the attitude that we are going to win,” Van Horn said. “I think that our guys will do what they have been doing all week - playing hard.
“Are we good enough? I don’t know. But we’ll play hard.”
The games will begin Thursday night, but Van Horn won’t be there as he will be in Fayetteville for his youngest daughter’s graduation.
Razorback pitching coach Dave Jorn and hitting coach Tony Vitello will handle the coaching duties.
“It’s difficult, but they know what they are doing,” Van Horn said. “We’ll have everything written up and we’ll see how they handle it.”
Arkansas had ousted favored Missouri State last season in the Super Regional to advance to the College World Series, but neither of their two games this season were in doubt.
The Bears had routed the Razorbacks 14-6 two weeks ago in Springfield before getting the win Tuesday night in Fayetteville.
Austin Knight (5-2) was the winning pitcher in both of the games and he combined with Sam Perez and Bryan Young to limit Arkansas to an single infield hit by Carson Shaddy in the first inning.
“He (Knight) is a guy that threw four or five innings this past weekend out of the bullpen,” Van Horn said, “and they just rode him and said you are probably not pitching on Thursday, Friday or Saturday because of their situation, which is they are going to their conference tournament and these games this weekend don’t mean anything to them.”
The Razorbacks took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of Shaddy reached on an infield single, moved up to third on a passed ball and ensuing throwing error and scored on Luke Bonfield’s sacrifice fly.
Missouri State took the lead 2-1 in the top of the second against starter Barrett Loseke (1-3) as Eierman hit a one-out homer and Ryan Mantle had a two-out RBI double.
The Bears then pushed that lead to 5-1 in the third against reliever Kacey Murphy when Eierman singled home a run and Aaron Meyer doubled in a pair.
Bonfield’s RBI groundout in the third scored Arledge and cut it to 5-2.
But Johnson’s 18th homer of the season - which has him tied for third in the country - was a solo shot leading off the fifth and was followed three batters later by Eierman’s two-run blast, his second of the night, to make it 8-2.
Eierman’s single in the ninth capped his 5-of-5 night.
Arkansas will be playing a three-game series against a Mississippi State team tied for there league lead.
The Razorbacks will start Dominic Taccolini in the first game with Keaton McKinney and Isaac Campbell options for the other two games.
“Taccolini is going to throw first and then we are not 100 percent sure after that right now,” Van Horn said. “…We don’t know what to do - whether we should pitch McKinney or not because you never know what you are going to get.
“Campbell will probably get a start in game three, but if we have to use him before that we will.”
Jake Arledge crashes into the fence trying to make a catch.