We finally got baseball in Fort Worth, so let’s check back in with Virginia’s opposite regional in Fayetteville. When we last left our possible future opponents, top seeds Arkansas and Missouri State picked up wins to stay out of the elimination game. Saturday, Oklahoma State faced Oral Roberts in the first game of the day, while Missouri State and Arkansas squared off in the evening game.
In the early action, it was all Oral Roberts. The Golden Eagles jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first three innings, and never looked back. Michael Hungate led the way with a perfect 4-for-4 performance at the plate with three runs and five RBIs in the win. On the mound, Oral Roberts used three pitchers, led by starter Josh McMinn. McMinn had an average day with three strikeouts, four walks, four hits, and five RBIs surrendered in 4.2 innings of work.
Oklahoma State - who fell to Arizona just short of the CWS Finals in Omaha last season - will not be making that return trip to Nebraska this year. The Cowboys tried to make it a game when they closed it to 10-5 in the fifth, but Oral Roberts responded with three runs in the bottom of the sixth to put the game fully out of reach.
In the second game, Missouri State played in another nail biter as they faced host Arkansas. The Bears broke a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the fifth inning on a passed ball and a ground out. Arkansas got one of those runs back in the next inning, but their rally fell short as Missouri State nabbed the 5-4 victory and the coveted spot in the winner’s bracket. Missouri State managed all five of their runs on just five hits, led by Hunter Steinmetz and Justin Paulson with two hits apiece.
Next up, Arkansas and Oral Roberts will face off today at 4pm in a rematch of the opening game of the regional (Arkansas won 3-0). The winner will take on Missouri State at 9pm.
The Hoos will play TCU today at 5pm. Stay with Streaking the Lawn for all your 2017 NCAA Baseball coverage!