Valparaiso opened a three-game series with fourth-ranked Arkansas on Friday afternoon, dropping a 7-3 game to the Razorbacks at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville, Ark.
Arkansas jumped on top in the bottom of the second, drawing a pair of two out walks. A fielder’s choice put runners on the corners, and after a stolen base Bo Bigham delivered a two-run single to center.
“That was one of two double plays that we failed to turn and that cost us three runs today,” head coach Tracy Woodson said. “You have to be perfect against teams like this and we weren’t. I’m not disappointed with our effort though because we battled the whole game.”
A two-out double by Jake Wise in the third increased the lead to 3-0 before Valpo got on the scoreboard.
Chris Manning (Lake Forest, Ill./El Toro H.S.) delivered his second home run of the season, a solo shot, to lead off the top of the fourth.
“Manning just hit another bomb,” Woodson said. “It was similar to the one he hit at Murray State.”
Wise added another RBI single in the fifth and Arkansas tacked on two more runs in the sixth to make it 6-1. Valpo again battled back in the top of the seventh though.
John Loeffler (Burnsville, Minn./Burnsville H.S.) led off with a double and Billy Cribbs (Rochester, Mich./Rochester H.S.) followed with a walk. After a ground out advanced both runners 90 feet, Spencer Mahoney (LaGrange Park, Ill./Lyons Township H.S.) plated both runners with a single to left.
Tim Carver closed out the scoring for the Razorbacks with a RBI single in the seventh.
Tyler Deetjen (Saint Charles, Ill./East H.S.) started for Valpo and suffered the loss (0-1), working 5.2 innings and allowing six runs and 10 hits. DJ Baxendale earned the victory (2-0) for Arkansas, pitching six innings and allowing three runs on five hits.
Valparaiso (2-2) and Arkansas (6-0) will play the middle game of the three-game set on Saturday afternoon at Baum Stadium. First pitch is slated for 1:05 p.m.
Game Notes: Will Hagel (Arlington Heights, Ill./Prospect H.S.) had his 33-game on base streak and 16-game hitting streak dating back to last season come to an end … Manning increased his hitting streak to 10 straight games … Manning did not homer at all in 2011 and already has two this season … Valpo has never defeated a Southeastern Conference opponent.