Sometimes there's just nothing one can do when the opposing pitcher is on. That was the case in Missouri baseball's 2-0 loss to Arkansas Friday night.
The Tigers' bats embarrassed anyone who took the bump in their last four games, totaling 55 runs combined against Northwestern and Arkansas State.
But the talent in the Southeastern Conference is a whole different beast.
The Razorbacks' starting pitcher, redshirt sophomore Isaiah Campbell, could do no wrong all game long. The once-confident Missouri hitters were baffled throughout, striking out 11 times and notching just two hits against the right-hander. Even when the Tigers put the ball in play, which was somewhat of a rarity, it was either a weakly hit ground ball or a soft fly ball.
Missouri's lack of hitting spoiled yet another impressive performance by junior college transfer Jacob Cantleberry. The southpaw has been a pleasant surprise for Steve Bieser and the Tigers, as he continued his dominant 2019 season.
Cantleberry looked like he was settling in early on in his first career SEC start, punching out the first two Arkansas hitters in Casey Martin and Heston Kjerstad — two of the Razorbacks' three preseason Golden Spikes award watch list members. But things fell apart as soon as his command did, as he let up a pair of singles followed by two walks to let in a run in the first inning.
That may be due to a bit of nerves, which is understandable considering he was facing last year's national runners-up in the Razorbacks. Cantleberry settled in as soon as the next inning rolled around, letting up three hits, one run and striking out four in the next five innings. The Missouri starter finished his outing with six punch-outs, four of them looking, along with two earned runs and five hits allowed.
The Tigers' ace, junior lefty TJ Sikkema, will take the bump at 2 p.m. Saturday as Missouri attempts to even the series with rival Arkansas.
Supervising editor is Seth Bodine.