BERKELEY, Calif. – Tim Carver and Collin Kuhn each had a pair of hits, but the Razorback offense was kept off the scoreboard in a 6-0 loss to California (7-3) Sunday afternoon in the finale of the weekend series. Arkansas (8-2) left eight runners on base and was hindered by three errors in the field. The loss snaps the Hogs’ seven-game winning streak.
"The disappointment of the day is that Brett pitched extremely well, and so did their guy," head coach Dave Van Horn said. "Neither of them really deserved a loss. We made mistakes. We didn’t cover the bag on a stolen base and they bunted us to death. They did a great job of playing small ball. On the other side, we didn’t make plays. We out went out of the zone and swung at more bad pitches today than we have the past five or six games combined which is uncharacteristic of what we’ve been doing."
Kuhn had the first hit of the game for Arkansas with a single to shallow right field. With Andy Wilkins at the plate, Kuhn swiped second base, his fourth steal of the season, to put himself in scoring position. However, Wilkins flied out to center and Monk Kreder was retired on a grounder to third to end the inning.
Brett Eibner, Sunday’s starter, worked out of a jam in the bottom half of the first. Leadoff hitter Brian Guinn reached on a bunt single and was moved over to second on a successful sacrifice. Danny Oh followed by reaching on a hot shot down to third base that was ruled an error when the throw from Derrick Bleeker forced Wilkins to come off the bag at first. With two runners on and just one out, Eibner responded to strike out the final two hitters to get out of the inning without allowing a run.
Cox led off the second inning with a single through the right side of the Cal infield. The sophomore Razorback finished the weekend 5-for-11 at the plate with four RBI and two runs scored and a pair of walks. Cox carries a .385 batting average through the first 10 games of the year. He is the only Razorback to hit safely in each game this season.
Bleeker had an eight-pitch plate appearance to open the third in which he drew a walk out of Cal starter Kevin Miller. He was later erased on a force when Jarrod McKinney reached on a fielder’s choice. Kuhn, the Hogs’ next hitter, walked to put runners on first and second with one out. Miller pitched his way out of the inning by inducing a pair of ground balls from Wilkins and Kreder.
Beginning with the strikeouts to get out of the first, Eibner retired eight Cal hitters in a row, but Oh ended that run abruptly with a solo home run to right field which gave his team the 1-0 lead. Chadd Krist had a single to right field for the Bears’ second hit of the inning, but he was left on first as the next two hitters popped up to second and struck out, respectively, to keep the damage to one run.
In five innings of work on the mound for the Hogs, Eibner allowed three hits and one run. He struck out five Cal hitters and didn’t walk anyone. Eibner, who picked up the tough loss, stayed in the game at the team’s designated hitter, replacing the bat of Kreder in the lineup and walked in his only plate appearance.
The Bears plated three runs in the sixth inning on one swing of the bat by Mark Canha, a line drive shot over the fence in left center. Austin Booker and Danny Oh reached ahead of Canha with a pair of infield singles. The runs came off reliever Geoffrey Davenport who came in for Eibner to start the sixth.
The home team stretched its lead to 6-0 with a pair of runs on just one hit in the seventh. Arkansas aided the Bears’ cause with two errors in the frame. Both runs scored in the inning were unearned.
"I think today was a big learning experience for our team," Van Horn said. "Now we have five games at home. We need to get after it and play with some maturity this week. We need to show up and play hard against South Dakota State in a couple of games this week. We’re still going to mix it up and throw some younger pitchers who need some experience, but we need to play well or we’ll get beat."
The Razorbacks stranded a pair of runners in the eighth and ninth in a couple of late-rally attempts, but Cal preserved its shutout with the help of reliever Brian Diemer.
After their three-game set out West, the Hogs return to Fayetteville for five games next week at Baum Stadium. Arkansas will host South Dakota State in a two-game midweek series Tuesday and Wednesday with both games scheduled for a 3:05 p.m. start. The Hogs will then play a weekend series against Wisconsin-Milwaukee.