Van Horn: "We Beat Ourselves"

BATON ROUGE, La. — There was nothing routine for Arkansas' defense during Sunday's 7-5 loss against LSU in front of 2,473 in Alex Box Stadium.

The No. 11 Razorbacks (31-14, 11-10 in the Southeastern Conference) were credited with three errors, but coach Dave Van Horn said there were a couple of other plays that should've been made, all by the left side of infield.

The poor performance snapped the Hogs' string of four straight SEC series victories since unranked LSU (29-17, 8-13) won two of three games over the weekend.

"We beat ourselves," Van Horn said. "That's what I told the players. ‘You know, I've said this ever since you've been playing for me. I don't mind getting beat if a team just takes it to us. If they pitch well, play good defense and get their timely hits, you kind of tip your hat to them and move on.'

"But we gave them this one. We gave them five runs."

That's no exaggeration.

LSU coach Ray "Smoke" Laval said his team's ability to capitalize on the miscues made the difference. Arkansas had committed just one error in the previous two games.

"That's the only way to get to them," Laval said. "They don't walk people. That's not any fun and they very seldomly make any mistakes, so when you get the little window of opportunity, you hope to jump on it and we did."

That first window was shattered when Tigers' slugger Quinn Stewart followed up an errant throw by third baseman Blake Parker with a two-run homer that gave the Tigers' a 3-0 lead in the third inning.

One pitch before Stewart's at-bat, Parker fielded a grounder that should've resulted in an inning-ending double play, but he threw wide to second baseman James Ewing, whose shoulder popped out of socket while stretching to make the catch. With Ewing in obvious pain, he was unable to throw to first to complete the double play.

"The ball is up and out and we can't turn it," Van Horn said. "The next pitch leaves the park and there's two runs right there."

Designated hitter Wayne Hrozek hit a sacrifice fly to put the Hogs on the board in the fourth and another run would score on the play when a throw from Stewart in right field ended up in Arkansas' dugout. Parker then made up for his errant throw with a two-run single that gave the Hogs a short-lived lead as Jordan Mayer's RBI single evened the score at 4-all in the bottom of the inning.

Then in the sixth, a two-out, bases-loaded fielding error by shortstop Matt Willard allowed LSU to regain a 5-4 advantage.

"We are about ready to get out of that jam," Van Horn said. "Just go over there and field the ball and (Willard) did kind of a slide to the ball and to me, that's a lack of confidence and I want our guys to play confident. Go field the ball and flip it (to second)."

Sadly enough for the Razorbacks, it didn't end there even after Ewing blooped an RBI single to short center field to tie the score at 5-all in the top of the seventh.

With one out in the bottom of seventh, Parker fielded another grounder off the bat of Stewart. Instead of setting his feet, he threw off one leg and into the LSU dugout, allowing Stewart to advance to second. He later scored what proved to be the winning run on Matt Liuzza's single down the right field line.

"I think (Parker) looked at the runner," Van Horn said. "Just field the ball and pick up your target, but he throws it in the dugout, way off to the right which is really unlike him because he has the most accurate arm on the team."

Parker didn't even get a chance to make a throw on his next play as a hard hit grounder by Will Harris skipped off Parker's glove and into left field for what was scored a one-out double. A ground out to first by the next batter would have ended the inning if Parker had made the play, but Michael Hollander followed with an RBI single to right to create the final margin.

"It's a tough play even though (Parker) didn't have to move," Van Horn said. "He just didn't track it and sure enough, that run comes around and scores. I think I add up five runs right there and that's was so disappointing.

"It doesn't mean that they wouldn't have scored a run here or there. But we got into jams and we should have gotten out of them. We didn't finish off an inning or two because of poor defense. We should have held them down another three or four runs."

Arkansas' offense didn't help matters by striking out 12 times and leaving eight runners stranded on base. It tallied only six hits off a pair of pitchers, LSU's Daniel Forrer and Edgar Ramirez, who entered the weekend with 7.00-plus ERAs.

"The hardest thing about (Sunday) is when you give a team runs in a game that's important like this to win the series on the road," Van Horn said. "We just didn't make some routine plays. It's not like they were in between hops or tough plays, becuase you're going to have those types of errors.

"They were routine."


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