Fayetteville. Omaha. Austin.
No matter the venue over the last four meetings, the Texas Longhorns have struggled against the Arkansas Razorbacks over the last two years, with Tuesday’s 11-4 defeat at UFCU Disch-Falk Field looming as the fourth straight defeat for head coach David Pierce’s team against the SEC power.
After using seven pitchers to secure a win against Texas Tech on Sunday, Pierce turned to freshman right-hander Jack Neely for his first career start. Neely only needed five pitches to get out of the first inning, but quickly got in trouble in the second, as Arkansas led off with a double and then loaded the bases. In a rare feat, Christian Franklin drove the ball out of the spacious ballpark in center field for a grand slam, followed by a solo home run from Heston Kjerstad.
Another double and a walk allowed drove Neely from the game in the third inning and junior right-hander Donny Diaz replaced the 6’9 freshman, but struggled with his velocity and gave up three more earned runs in 2.0 innings of work.
The major bright spot during the game was the pitching of freshman right-hander Owen Meany, who went 5.0 scoreless innings and only allowed two hits.
Offensively, freshman catcher Caston Peter hit his second home run of the season, but the Longhorns largely struggled at the plate in managing only six hits. With the team batting average now down to .245, there are significant concerns emerging about whether Texas can produce enough offensively to make up for a shaky defense.
Texas will try to finally manage a win against Arkansas on Wednesday as the old Southwest Conference rivals meet again at 6:30 p.m. Central on Longhorn Network.