It was another tough Sunday for the Arkansas pitching staff. After being shut down over and over for 19 innings Saturday, the Texas A&M lineup exploded for 11 runs in the series finale. So when the Razorbacks, only trailing by one, loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth, fans at Baum-Walker Stadium were ready to erupt.
The Aggies entrusted the left-handed Chandler Jozwiak, who had thrown three innings Saturday night, to retire two hot-hitting Hogs and salvage a win.
“Chandler’s a good pitcher,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said in Saturday’s press conference. “He’s their guy out of the ‘pen, and he’s hard to hit.”
Senior designated hitter Matt Goodheart, with six hits and three home runs to his name in the series, strode to the plate needing contact to knot the score. He watched two fastballs go by for strikes before chasing the third pitch, a breaking ball in the dirt.
With two away, Wallace got ahead in the count, producing an influx of energy around the park. But two foul balls and another nasty breaking ball later, there was no joy in Fayetteville — mighty Cayden had struck out.
“I don’t think they were, either of them, trying to do too much, I just think they got beat by a really good pitcher,” Van Horn said after the loss.
Despite a strong comeback effort from the home team, Arkansas provided too many chances for the Aggies to score. Senior lefty Lael Lockhart started on the mound, and got tagged early and often. He surrendered a two-out, opposite-field home run to A&M first baseman Will Frizzell in the first, and Frizzell picked up another two-out RBI in the third.
Frizzell’s knocks sandwiched an Arkansas three-spot in the second inning. Wallace doubled in a pair with two out, and junior first baseman Brady Slavens doubled the lead, scoring Wallace with a single. Wallace’s six hits and four RBIs were good enough for his second consecutive Southeastern Conference Co-Freshman of the Week award.
After a leadoff single in the fourth, Van Horn hooked Lockhart in favor of junior righty Ryan Costeiu, whose first hitter served up a tailor-made double-play ball to junior shortstop Jalen Battles. What could have been two outs failed to produce one, when Battles looked to flip the ball to second base before he had fielded it cleanly. Two batters later, catcher Mikey Hoehner drove both runners in to give the Aggies a 4-3 lead.
Costeiu, sophomore lefty Zack Morris and junior lefty Caden Monke struggled through the middle innings, as the Aggies scored six more times following the unearned runs. The offensive outburst culminated in a three-run bomb by designated hitter Hunter Coleman, making it a 10-4 game.
The Razorbacks swatted a trio of home runs, increasing their nation-leading total to 70. Sophomore second baseman Robert Moore leveled the score at four with a solo shot in the fourth, while Goodheart and sophomore Zack Gregory lined three-run blasts into right field in the sixth and seventh frames, respectively.
The Aggies scored the eventual game-winning run in the seventh, when they strung singles together at the bottom of the order. Nine-hitter Kalae Harrison picked up an RBI knock with two outs, putting the game just out of reach for college baseball’s No. 1 team. Despite the shortfall, the Hogs remain atop the SEC West with a one-game cushion over No. 4 Mississippi State.
Arkansas will return to action at 5 p.m. Tuesday against Grambling State, a game that can be streamed on the SEC Network+. It will be the last home contest for a week, as the Hogs are set to head east for a three-game set with the 11th-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks Thursday-Saturday.