Arkansas Victim Of Another Pitching Gem

FAYETTEVILLE — Something about this Arkansas baseball team is starting to bring out the best in the opposing pitchers.

For the third game in a row, the Razorbacks had their struggles with the first guy on the mound, this time scattering just eight hits and failing to break through against left-hander Keith Christensen in a 3-2 loss at Baum Stadium against Louisiana-Monroe on Tuesday.

Arkansas (24-9) is now stuck in its first three-game losing streak of the season after failing to bounce back from a two-game series loss against Vanderbilt over the weekend. And in those three losses, the other team's starting pitching has had their way with the Hogs.

In the three losses, Vandy pitchers Mike Minor and Caleb Cotham — along with Christensen on Tuesday — have combined to hold Arkansas to six runs and 17 hits over 24 innings, striking out 27 Razorbacks hitters in the process.

"We made a couple of mistakes, gave up a 2-1 home run that gave them the lead on a pitch that was right down the middle. And we left a couple of runners out there," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "We're playing a couple of young guys, and you've got to put the bat on the ball. We hit a lot of pop-ups against a good changeup and we knew what was coming, he threw in a breaking ball here and there.

"But we started five freshmen, we've got some guys hurt and got some guys sick. Guys have to step up and get it done and their guys did."

Christensen allowed a two-run home run in the bottom of the second to Arkansas freshman Bo Bigham, giving the Razorbacks an early 2-1 lead. After that, though, the former Warhawks ace converted to midweek starter was in total control, finishing off the first complete game of his ULM career.

"It feels great," Christensen said. "I just want to go out there and give the team a chance to win.

"I felt good, I was just locked in tonight."

ULM (22-12) tied the game at 2-2 when Perry Smith drilled a solo home run to center off of Arkansas starter Brett Eibner. The Warhawks then took the lead for good in the eighth, getting another long ball from Boomer Blanchard against UA reliever Mike Bolsinger.

"That's kind of been this team all along, not any one person has done it every game," Warhawks coach Jeff Schexnaider said. "Tonight Boomer had the big hit that gave us the lead and Perry hit one to tie it.

"I was just proud of our defense and proud of our pitching to keep throwing strikes. It's huge for our program to be able to come here and play well enough to win."

Arkansas will look to split the series at 3:05 p.m. today, with freshman Drew Smyly getting the start.

"We're going to start Smyly and then go with a little bit of everybody," Van Horn said.

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