The Arkansas Razorbacks took on the Illinois State Redbirds on Tuesday in a one-game, midweek series. After returning from a three-game losing streak at the Shriners College Classic at Minute Maid Park in Houston Texas, the Razorbacks fell to the Redbirds, 8-7.
It was the Razorbacks’ fourth-straight loss and third-straight by only one run. When Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn was asked about his team’s performance, he didn’t have much negative to say.
“There were a few positives, we drove in some runs today. There were a few innings where we should have scored or scored more,” Van Horn said. “We gave up five runs after five innings. Our bullpen didn’t get it done.”
Van Horn went on to explain that at the Shriners College Classic that the bullpen performed well, they just didn’t get it done on the offensive side.
Razorback shortstop Casey Martin, a junior, was benched against Baylor in Houston.
“Nothing is guaranteed,” Martin said. “When I’m not doing my job, especially as a junior, something needs to change. It was good to sit back and get a different perspective on the game, and I thought Coach did the right thing by sitting me.”
After being benched on Sunday, Martin had an impressive outing Tuesday. He went 4-for-5 at the plate, scoring once, and driving in three runs.
“Me and coach talked about my stance, I needed to just slow things down and just simplify everything,” Martin said. “It’s been good to see that it’s paying off. Just because I had a four hit night doesn’t mean anything. I need to continue to come in and work every single day, and just improve.”
Martin commented on the team’s losing streak as well.
“Maybe after the Gonzaga series, we might have gotten a little big headed, and we walked into Houston like we owned the place. As much as I hate to say it, I think it’s good to let these guys see that we’re going to lose games… There’s just a lot there for us to look at to build off of.”
Dominic Tamez started the day as catcher. He stood at the plate for three attempts, getting one single. Tamez was replaced with Casey Opitz after he allowed runners to advance on three separate passed balls.
Van Horn expressed that he really likes Tamez.
“I like him, I think he has a good arm, I think he’s a good hitter, but the catching has been his issue. It's stuff that needs to be routine at this level.”
Although the Hogs only led the game for a short time, it was not an easy victory for the Redbirds. ISU exhausted seven pitchers in its bullpen to close out the win. In the 9th inning, the Razorbacks scored two, to bring the game to within one, but eventually Braydon Webb fell to Colton Johnson, the Friday night starter for ISU, looking as strike three was called.