Although the Hoos have yet to play a game (thanks, Texas weather), we are still keeping an eye on Virginia’s opposite regional action in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The University of Arkansas is the top seed and host and they are joined by #2 Missouri State, #3 Oklahoma State, and #4 Oral Roberts.
Friday’s first game featured Missouri State (41-17) against Oklahoma State (30-26) in an exciting affair. Missouri State jumped out to 3-0 lead over the first three innings, but Oklahoma State added a run per inning in the 4th-6th to pull within one of the Bears, 4-3 (Mo. State added a run in the 5th).
OSU third baseman Garrett Benge blasted a triple in the top of the 9th, tying the game at four, and then scored himself on a wild pitch. The Cowboys took a narrow 5-4 lead into the bottom of the ninth, but Missouri State’s Justin Paulsen led off the home half of the inning with a single to right. After a fly out and a strikeout, Jeremy Eierman knocked one out of the park to deliver the 6-5 walk-off win to keep the Bears out of the losers bracket.
In the second game, Arkansas used a late push to secure a 3-0 victory over Oral Roberts. Neither team scored until the fifth inning, when the Razorbacks put up one run. Arkansas scored a run in the seventh and eighth innings as well, giving themselves a little breathing room and avoiding the top seed upset (like UNC and FSU faced). Chad Spanberger, Jake Arledge, and Jack Kenley all had two hits in the game for the Razorbacks and pitcher Trevor Stephan was outstanding with 12 strike outs and four hits against 30 batters faced.
Oral Roberts and Oklahoma State will face off today at 3pm in an elimination game, and Arkansas and Missouri state play at 8pm in the winner’s bracket. We’ll keep track of all the Fayetteville action as the Hoos (hopefully) progress in Fort Worth.