If Arkansas doesn’t get some starting pitchers to go deeper into games, Dave Van Horn probably knows he may have a problem they can’t out-hit in May.
Sunday, with a chance to sweep an SEC series over the Texas Aggies, Lael Lockhart gave up five hits and three runs in lasting just three innings and the Razorbacks had a problem.
“The game got away really early from us,” Van Horn said later.
They came up just short in an 11-10 loss. For a team that has made coming from behind way too routine, they couldn’t get the bat on the ball in the ninth inning.
“Just a tough loss because of the way it finished,” Van Horn said.
The nagging problem that keeps popping up too much is the failure of too many starters to get very deep into games. Kevin Kopps can’t save the day in the fourth inning every game.
“We had to go to the bullpen again way too early,” Van Horn said. “We didn’t play good defense and pitched behind in the count all day long. We walked them six times and hit them twice and it seemed like more. They were just ahead in the count 2-0 and 3-1 a lot and took some really good swings and we didn’t play good.”
The Hogs are still 11-4 in the league despite having to make some gigantic comebacks and win some wild games like holding off Ole Miss last week.
“With who we’ve played and where we’ve played that’s a good record,” Van Horn said. “Pretty much every coach in the league would be happy with 11-4, but it’s why we say when you can get a win, get a win because you never know.”
Hitting early has been a problem at times this year. It’s forced the Hogs to make some of these comebacks with big swings.
“We’ve shown the power,” Van Horn said. “As far as spreading it out, that’s what we thought we’d do. When the season ends we project we’re going to have several guys up and down the lineup with 10, 12, 15.”
For the most part, though, the Hogs will be okay and the guess is they’ll figure out the pitching issues over the next few weeks.
But Van Horn is probably hoping failing to close out the sweep against A&M doesn’t come back to be too costly.
“It wasn’t a good day for us,” Van Horn said.
He wasn’t talking about one specific area, either. There was enough blame to go around.