NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A disastrous first inning set the tone for the University of Arkansas in a 12-2 loss to Vanderbilt at Hawkins Field on Saturday afternoon.
Commodores left fielder Stephen Scott bashed a first-inning grand slam, part of the seven runs Vanderbilt scored before the Razorbacks registered an out.
No. 7 Vanderbilt (27-8, 9-5 SEC) added two more in the second, then three more in the third on right fielder J.J. Bleday's 15th home run of the season.
The 12 runs were the most No. 10 Arkansas (25-10, 8-6) has allowed in league play since falling to Florida 17-2 on March 24, 2018.
The first inning included a lot of self-inflicted woes for the Razorbacks.
"Really, we gave them five outs [in the first inning]," UA Coach Dave Van Horn said. "You can't give a team five outs in any inning. And then our starting pitcher was behind in the count, gave up a couple, and then we bring in a reliever, we get behind in the count, and the ball's leaving the yard.
"They put us away pretty quick."
Even Vanderbilt Coach Tim Corbin was surprised by the start.
"I don't know if you quite expect that on a Saturday, Friday, whenever. We got guys to reach base, then got the big hit by Scotty," Corbin said. "We had some things go our way, too, some favorable spaces on the field that allowed us to reach base."
Freshman starting pitcher Kumar Rocker dominated the Razorbacks. He struck out 7 in 7 innings while scattering 4, 3 of which came off the bat of Arkansas designated hitter Matt Goodheart.
"He just continued to throw strikes, kept the pace fast, didn't allow any free bases," Corbin said.
Cooper Davis led off the game for Vanderbilt with a grounder deep in the hole to shortstop Casey Martin, who had no shot to get an out at first. Martin threw it anyway, and Davis wound up on second after the ball went into the dugout.
Freshman starting pitcher Connor Noland walked third baseman Austin Martin on four pitches. Bleday then skied a popup into shallow left, where Martin and left fielder Christian Franklin had a mild collision. The ball landed just inside the foul line, and Davis raced home for the first run.
"The shortstop ran a long way to make the catch," Van Horn said. "The left fielder ran a long way. The bottom line is, [Franklin's] got to talk. It's his ball if he wants it. The shortstop actually had the ball for a split second, and then it was knocked out of his glove by the left fielder."
Vanderbilt shortstop Ethan Paul roped a single through second for another run. Then, catcher Philip Clarke bounced to first baseman Trevor Ezell and was safe when Noland was late to cover the bag.
It was the last hitter Noland faced with the score 2-0 and the bases loaded without an out.
"We already had [reliever Kole] Ramage getting hot," Van Horn said. "Connor's a freshman. He still hasn't proven to us that he can get out of a jam."
But Ramage was no better. He walked second baseman Harrison Ray before giving up Scott's home run to right.
The bright spots for Arkansas were relievers Elijah Trest, Marshall Denton and Liam Henry, who combined to strike out five over five scoreless innings.
"The game was already decided, so there wasn't a lot on the line, but you take your hat off to the young guys," Van Horn said. "That was good to see. They came in and threw the ball over the plate and competed hard."
The Razorbacks got their two runs in the eighth off Ethan Smith, highlighted by right fielder Heston Kjerstad's RBI single.
Arkansas has not decided upon a starting pitcher for today's game, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. Central. It may be junior right-hander Cody Scroggins (2-0, 3.13 ERA), who has made three SEC starts.
Vanderbilt will start senior right-hander Patrick Raby (5-1, 2.47).
The Commodores may be without the .339-hitting Davis, who left in the third inning with a leg injury.
NO. 10 ARKANSAS AT NO. 7 VANDERBILT
WHEN 1 p.m. Central
WHERE Hawkins Field, Nashville, Tenn.
RECORDS Arkansas 25-10, 8-6 SEC; Vanderbilt 27-8, 9-5
INTERNET SEC Network-Plus
RADIO Razorback Sports Network
PITCHERS Arkansas: TBA; Vanderbilt: RHP Patrick Raby (5-1, 2.47 ERA)
SHORT HOPS Vanderbilt may be without outfielder Cooper Davis, who left in the third inning of Saturday’s game with a leg injury. Davis is hitting .339 on the year.
THE WEEK AHEAD
TODAY at Vanderbilt, 1 p.m.
TUESDAY vs. Ark.-Pine Bluff, 6:30 p.m.
THURSDAY vs. Mississippi State, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
FRIDAY vs. Mississippi State, 6:30 p.m.
SATURDAY vs. Mississippi State, 2 p.m.
Sports on 04/14/2019
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