This article originally appeared in the March 4, 2013 issue of The Arkansas Traveler.
The Razorback baseball team was only able to score six total runs in four games this weekend at the Coca-Cola Classic in Surprise, Ariz., losing all four of them.
Arkansas fell to No. 25 Arizona State twice, as well as to Gonzaga and Pacific once.
In the first game of the tournament, the Razorbacks left 10 runners on base against the Sun Devils, falling 3-2 Thursday.
Twice the Razorbacks left the bases loaded, including in the second inning when they had the bases loaded with no outs and were down 1-0, but came away with no runs.
“We had our shots,” head coach Dave Van Horn said. “The second inning is where we lost the ballgame. We had a chance to tie the game or take the lead. That really changes the game.”
Preseason All-American junior Dominic Ficociello made his season debut after missing the first eight games with an injury, collecting two of Arkansas’ nine hits of the game.
On the mound, junior Ryne Stanek picked up his first loss of the season, giving up an earned run on five hits and two walks in 5.2 innings of work.
Despite the strong performance by Stanek and Arkansas’ nine hits, they were unable to push more than two runs across the plate. Also, the Sun Devils were aided by two Razorback fielding errors.
Friday, the Razorbacks faced Gonzaga and starting junior pitcher Marco Gonzales, the No. 21 MLB draft prospect, according to MLB.com.
Gonzales shut down Arkansas’ offense, allowing eight hits in a complete game shutout.
“We knew we had our hands full with him before we got here,” Van Horn said, “but that third or fourth time through the lineup, we have to make some adjustments.”
Sophomores Brian Anderson, Brett McAfee and freshman Tyler Spoon each had two hits at the plate for Arkansas, while junior pitcher Barrett Astin gave up two earned runs on seven hits in 5.1 innings.
Astin tossed five scoreless innings before giving up Gonzaga’s only runs in the sixth inning.
“Barrett had five really good innings,” Van Horn said. “I think he started getting a little tired (in the sixth inning). He elevated a couple pitches and (Gonzaga) drove in a couple runs.”
The Razorbacks had a rematch with Arizona State Saturday, but came up short again, losing 3-1.
Freshman Trey Killian had a solid outing on the mound, giving up two earned runs on four hits in 6.1 innings. He also had nine strikeouts.
However, Arkansas could only score one run and left six runners on base. They also had three fielding errors.
“We couldn’t get the big hit. That’s the frustrating thing,” Van Horn said. “Early in the game, we left too many runners on base.”
Arkansas’ best chance at a win in the Coca-Cola Classic came Sunday, when they held a 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth against Pacific.
Pacific used four hits, a hit by pitch and a McAfee error to score three runs in the bottom of the ninth and win the game.
McAfee’s error was his fourth of the weekend and Arkansas’ 10th team error of the weekend.
Senior pitcher Randall Fant started the game for the Razorbacks and went four innings, giving up one earned run on four hits. Junior Brandon Moore blew the save opportunity and took the loss.
Spoon extended his hitting streak to 12 games by going 2-for-3 with an RBI.
The Razorbacks return to Fayetteville and begin a four-game series Thursday at 6:05 p.m. against San Diego State.