FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The snow the grounds crew had to clean off the tarp before Sunday’s game reflected the temperature of Arkansas’ bats during it.
The Razorbacks didn’t have much in the way of offense in the finale of a three-game set with Rhode Island, falling 3-0 in front of a sparse crowd on a cold Sunday at Baum Stadium.
Arkansas (12-4) had just three hits, none after the fifth inning. And while Rhode Island (6-8) wasn’t exactly spectacular, its barrage in the first and second innings proved to be enough.
Jordan Powell knocked a two-run single in the first and Justin Jewell had a solo home run in the second to provide all the offense the Rams would need. Jewell’s blast wasn’t just his first homer of the season, it was his first hit.
The knocks came off Josh Alberius, who was making his second consecutive Sunday start. Rhode Island had 4 of its 8 hits in those first 2 innings, then Alberius settled in. He ultimately went 5 innings, striking out 3, but the damage was done.
Arkansas was retired in order three times. The Razorbacks’ last chance to get something going came in the eighth when Chad Spanberger and Luke Bonfield consecutively walked with one out. That brought cleanup hitter Grant Koch to the plate. He swung at the first pitch and sent a can of corn to shortstop. Dominic Fletcher followed, took one pitch, then fouled out to the catcher.
That was that.
Arkansas has one more nonconference series — Tuesday and Wednesday against Alcorn State — before Mississippi State visits next weekend to open SEC play.
Grading the Hogs
Alberius’ slow start brought things down, but otherwise it wasn’t a bad day for Arkansas pitchers. Alberius, Kevin Kopps and Cannon Chadwick combined to give up 8 hits while striking out 8 and walking 3.
Three hits. Zero for extra bases. Four walks. Hunter Wilson had 2 of the knocks and Spanberger earned 2 of the walks. No one else did much of anything.
The Big Stick + Arm
He only went one inning but struck out 2. The inning-ender in the ninth was a nice front-door breaking ball.
He had 2 singles. That was it and it was still the brightest spot on a day without offense.
What’s next for Arkansas?
Arkansas hosts Alcorn State in its last series before SEC plays opens next weekend. The Braves visit Baum Stadium for a two-game set Tuesday (4 p.m. ET) and Wednesday (4 p.m. ET).