FAYETTEVILLE – Junior right-hander Alex Oberle pitched 6.2 innings of one-run baseball to help South Dakota State stun No. 14 Arkansas 3-2 Tuesday at Baum Stadium.
The Razorbacks (8-3) dropped their second consecutive game after winning seven straight. Arkansas has scored just two runs in its last 22 innings after being shut out Sunday at California.
"It's a difficult loss because we just didn't come through," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "Give them credit; they pitched out of some jams and did a great job.
"I'll mix it up a little tomorrow. We didn't do much Sunday and didn't do much today. Guys are getting in and getting an opportunity, and taking called strike threes. When you get an opportunity to do something you need to do it."
The Jackrabbits (6-2) scored two runs in the fourth inning on an Eric Cain double to take a 2-1 lead and never trailed again. South Dakota State added another run in the sixth on a Jesse Sawyer solo home run off Razorback reliever Jason Fuqua.
"Realistically it's a huge win for us to come in here and beat a ranked team," South Dakota State coach Ritchie Price said. "It's the first time since I've been coaching here that we've beaten a ranked team and our players are excited. They'll be able to sit around and talk about this the next 20 to 25 years."
The Jackrabbits entered the game averaging more than 11 runs per game but were able to win a low-scoring game for the first time this season.
That was in large part to Oberle, normally a bullpen pitcher recording his first career start in a Division-1 game.
"He's been kind of a middle reliever for us," Price said. "We played four games last weekend and he threw really well. He was the best guy we had available so he took advantage of his opportunity.
"He's definitely climbing the ranks and he'll be getting another start shortly."
Arkansas took an early 1-0 lead on a Collin Kuhn RBI single to plate Matt Vinson in the second inning. Kuhn finished the day 1-for-2. He also reached base twice on a hit by pitch and stole three bases.
But the Razorbacks struggled to find offense elsewhere. Arkansas had a season-low four hits on the afternoon.
Still, the Hogs had their chances. Arkansas failed to score after loading the bases with no outs in the fifth inning and plated just one run in the ninth after Zack Cox (walk), Tim Carver (single) and Matt Reynolds (hit by pitch) all reached to start the inning.
Pinch-hitter Brett Eibner recorded an RBI with a sacrifice fly to score Cox in the final frame but Jarrod McKinney struck out to end the game with runners on second and third. Arkansas stranded eight runners for the game.
"When you've got the lead you don't want to send guys on base," Price said. "We kind of set the table for them a little bit there, but were lucky to get out of it."
Sam Murphy picked up the loss for the Razorbacks in his first start of the season. The junior right-hander pitched 3.1 innings, allowing two runs on six hits. He struck out five batters.
Jeremy Heatley took over for Fuqua in the eighth inning, not allowing a hit and striking out three.
"I thought he threw extremely well. He had a good fastball and his breaking ball was fine," Van Horn said. "He did a good job. That was probably the biggest plus of the day."
The two teams will meet for the second of the two-game midweek series tomorrow with the first pitch scheduled for 3:05 p.m. Freshman left-hander Randall Fant will get the start for Arkansas while South Dakota State will send freshman right-hander Stephen Bougher to the mound. Both will be recording their first career start.
South Dakota State 3, Arkansas 2
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