Hogs lose series, near bottom in SEC

Arkansas second baseman Rick Nomura bunts out in the fourth inning against Texas A&M on Sunday, May 1, 2016, during the game in Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn had won every series against his former assistant Rob Childress since Childress and the Texas A&M Aggies joined the SEC in 2012.

That streak ended on Sunday when second-ranked Texas A&M rode senior Kyle Simonds' complete-game eight-hitter to beat Arkansas 6-2 before an announced crowd of 6,081 at Baum Stadum.

"He's definitely taken my lunch money the last few years since we've been in the SEC, so it's nice to finally get him," Childress said of Van Horn.

The Razorbacks lost a third consecutive SEC home series for the first time since Kentucky, South Carolina and Auburn won two of three each in a span of five weekends at Baum Stadium in 2012.

Sunday's loss makes Arkansas' path to the postseason tournament all that more difficult with nine SEC games remaining.

The Razorbacks (26-18, 7-14) fell into a four-way tie for 10th with Georgia, Missouri and Auburn, one game ahead of last-place Tennessee. Twelve of the SEC's 14 teams make tournament in Hoover, Ala.

When asked if the Razorbacks were lacking a sense of urgency or playing flat, Van Horn said there was intensity in the dugout, though it might have been difficult to see against Simonds, who pitched the first complete game of his career.

"It's just we're trying to figure out how to get on base against a guy that's not walking anybody and not leaving the ball in the middle of the plate," Van Horn said. "That was the frustration. But I don't think there's a lack of intensity whatsoever. We know our situation."

Simonds (7-1) held the Razorbacks to a second-inning run before yielding a home run to Carson Shaddy in the ninth.

"We fought hard last night and came out today ready to go and threw the first punch," said Simonds, who struck out 5, walked 2 and lowered his ERA to 2.72. "I tried to get ahead, and then to put guys away ... my breaking ball needed to be effective today and it sure was."

Shaddy had three hits and Michael Bernal added two for the Razorbacks.

"He pitches on the No. 2 team in the nation, so we obviously know he's good," Shaddy said. "You have to tip your hat. A lot of the guys didn't have solid approaches, which to beat that guy you have to have a solid approach."

Shaddy said the solid approach was "just to lay off the off-speed low and see the ball up."

Arkansas staked right-hander Keaton McKinney (1-3) to a 1-0 lead in the second. Bernal tripled to the wall in right-center with one out. Rick Nomura walked, putting runners at first and third, and Shaddy hit a ball to the right-field wall that glanced off the glove of Nick Banks and dropped for an RBI single. Nomura stopped at second on the play. But the rally fizzled when Tucker Pennell struck out and Cody Scroggins rolled a grounder to second base.

The Aggies scored four in the fourth, with the help of a key error, against McKinney.

Bernal's one-out throwing error on Nick Choruby's ground ball put Choruby on first. Boomer White's double to left field brought home Choruby for a 1-1 tie.

McKinney struck out cleanup hitter Hunter Melton, but then walked Ryne Birk. Aggies catcher Michael Barash followed with a two-run double to left-center and Banks followed with an RBI single up the middle for a 4-1 lead.

Texas A&M added to its lead in the sixth inning against McKinney, who had not gone more than four innings in his previous four appearances.

McKinney retired the first two Aggies in the sixth before Barash singled. Kacey Murphy replaced McKinney and yielded a walk to Banks and an RBI single to Joel Davis for a 5-1 lead. Murphy was replaced by Isaiah Campbell, who allowed one run in 3 1/3 innings.

The Aggies tacked on their final run in the ninth on White's two-out RBI double.

A&M outscored Arkansas 15-5 over the final 17 innings of the series after the Hogs won the first game Saturday 9-5 and led 5-2 after one inning of the second game.

"It didn't start good in game two, when we score two and give up five and go to the bullpen in the first inning," Childress said. "That usually doesn't set up for a win. We had some guys step up out of the bullpen and were tough enough offensively. Then to find a way to get a complete-game performance after going through our bullpen was huge."

Sports on 05/02/2016