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Arkansas drops opener to ASU

By Matt Jones

This article was published February 28, 2013 at 7:45 p.m.

arkansas-outfielder-matt-vinson-watches-a-called-strike-three-in-the-second-inning-of-the-razorbacks-3-2-loss-to-arizona-state-on-thursday-at-surprise-stadium

Arkansas outfielder Matt Vinson watches a called strike three in the second inning of the Razorbacks' 3-2 loss to Arizona State on Thursday at Surprise Stadium.

Dave Van Horn - Arizona State Postgame

Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn recaps the Razorbacks' 3-2 loss to Arizona State on Thursday. (By Matt Jones)
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— Arkansas couldn't catch a break at any of the right times Thursday night.

The No. 2 Razorbacks stranded 10 batters, failing to come through in the clutch in a 3-2 loss to No. 25 Arizona State at Surprise Stadium.

Arkansas (7-2) twice stranded the bases loaded in a game it out-hit the Sun Devils 9-7. That included the second inning when the Razorbacks had three men on base with no outs before Arizona State starter Brett Lilek struck out Eric Fisher, Brett McAfee and Matt Vinson to end the inning.

Lilek, who started for the first time, out-dueled Arkansas junior right-hander Ryne Stanek in front of several major league scouts at the spring training facility for the Rangers and Royals. Lilek pitched five innings, allowing only one run on seven hits.

The left-hander struck out six Arkansas batters. The Razorbacks struck out 11 times in all.

Stanek struggled early in his first loss of the year. The Sun Devils (5-2) took a 1-0 lead on a James McDonald RBI single in the first inning before stranding a runner at third.

Arizona State added another run off Stanek in the third on a Max Rossiter RBI hit. Stanek finished the game pitching 5 2/3 innings, allowing one earned run on five hits and striking out three.

The Razorbacks pulled within 2-1 on a Tyler Spoon RBI single in the fifth, but stranded the bases loaded for the second time later in the inning. Of the 10 runners stranded Thursday, seven were in scoring position.

Arizona State added a run on McDonald's second RBI hit in the eighth, but the Razorbacks pulled within 3-2 in the top of the ninth after Fisher and Willie Schwanke reached with no outs. Fisher scored when Joe Serrano grounded out on a close play at first base and Schwanke was stranded when Spoon flied out to deep center field.

Arkansas fell to 0-6 against the Sun Devils in games played in the Phoenix metro area, all of which have come since 2008. The Razorbacks will play Gonzaga (4-4) Friday at 5 p.m.

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