NORMAN, Okla. - The No. 14 University of Arkansas baseball team fell behind early and couldn't make up the difference in a 5-2 loss to Oklahoma Tuesday night at Mitchell Park in Norman, Okla. The Sooners scored a run in each of the first three innings of the ballgame to gain control. Brett Eibner hit a pair of doubles and scored a run, while Collin Kuhn finished the night 3-for-5 at the plate, his 24th multi-hit game of the season.
"It's a disappointing game because we didn't swing the bats very well," head coach Dave Van Horn said. "We had chances with runners on base but couldn't get the big hit. We finally got a two-out hit to score a run in the ninth but we left too many on base tonight."
Kuhn led off the game with a base hit to center field for Arkansas (38-15) and stole his 16th base of the season. With one down, Eibner drove a ball to deep left field and off the wall, just out of the reach of a leaping Max White, the Sooners' left fielder. Eibner pulled into second with a double and Kuhn advanced to third after ensuring the catch wasn't made. With runners on second and third for the Razorbacks, Oklahoma starter Michael Rocha struck out the next two hitters to end the threat.
The Sooners took the early lead in Tuesday's ballgame with a run in the home half of the first. Arkansas starter retired the first two hitters but gave up a solo home run to Garrett Buechele, his 12th dinger of the year. After a walk to the next hitter, Fant got out of the inning with a fly out to center.
Oklahoma (38-14) tagged Fant for another run in the second. Cody Reine was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and advanced to second with a stolen base. With two down, the Sooners struck again with an RBI single by Chris Ellison. DJ Baxendale came in out of the Arkansas bullpen to record the final out.
The lead increased to 3-0 for the home team after an RBI base hit by Reine. Buechele led off the frame with a single and Tyler Ogle followed with a base hit of his own. Reine drove in the run with the Sooners' third single of the inning. With runners on first and second, Baxendale induced a groundball and the Hogs turned a 6-4-3 double play to escape further damage.
The Razorbacks posted their first run of the game in the top of the fourth. Eibner drew a walk out of Rocha to lead off the inning. Andy Wilkins, Arkansas' next hitter, lined a shot down the line in right field for a double and Eibner motored around from first to put the Hogs on the board. However, Wilkins was left stranded at second as the next three hitters were retired in order.
Oklahoma put together a two-run fifth inning to take a 5-1 lead. In his second inning of work, reliever Christian Kowalchuk gave up three singles and hit two Sooners before being replaced by Geoffrey Davenport. Ogle and Danny Black collected the RBI hits. Davenport entered the game with the bases loaded and just one out. The left-handed sophomore responded to strike out the next two hitters on seven pitches to get the Razorbacks out of trouble.
The Razorbacks used six pitchers against Oklahoma. Sam Murphy worked two innings of scoreless baseball. He surrendered just one hit and struck out two Sooner hitters in his first appearance since March 30. Eibner moved from his center field position to pitch the eighth inning. Making his first appearance since May 2, he used 14 pitches to strike out the side in his first relief outing of the season.
In the top of the ninth, Arkansas had runners on first and second with one out after a pair of walks to Bo Bigham and Tim Carver. Down to their last out, Kuhn drove in the Razorbacks' second, and final, run of the game with a base hit to left.
The Hogs return to action Thursday for the beginning of a three-game series against Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn. The conference matchup represents the regular-season finale for both clubs. Games one and two of the series are scheduled for 6 p.m. at Hawkins Field. The series finale is set for 2 p.m. and will be televised by SportSouth and Fox Sports Southwest.