Hogs in do-or-die time

Hogs take on Tech in elim­i­na­tion game

The Saline Courier - - FRONT PAGE - By Nate Allen

FAYET­TEVILLE — Last year en route to the Arkansas Ra­zor­backs’ na­tional run­nerup fin­ish, they beat Texas Tech 7-4 in the Game 2 win­ner’s bracket of the Col­lege World Se­ries at TD Amer­i­trade Park in Omaha, Ne­braska.

At 1 p.m. to­day on ESPN, they meet again at the CWS, this time in the Game 2 loser’s bracket elim­i­na­tion game of the eight-team tour­na­ment ul­ti­mately de­cid­ing col­lege base­ball’s na­tional cham­pi­onship.

Coach Dave Van Horn’s 46-19 SEC West co-cham­pion Ra­zor­backs fell 1-0 to the Florida State Semi­noles in their Satur­day night Bracket 1 open­ing game after Coach Tim Tad­lock’s Big 12 cham­pion Red Raiders 44-19 team fell 5-3 Satur­day af­ter­noon in their Bracket 1 CWS opener to the Michi­gan Wolver­ines.

Fresh­man right-han­der Con­nor Noland, 3-5, 4.00 earned run av­er­age of Green­wood, starts to­day for Arkansas, pos­si­bly against a for­mer Ra­zor­back.

Sopho­more right-han­der Bryce Bon­nin, 1-0 last year with the Ra­zor­backs but trans­fer­ring to Texas Tech ap­par­ently dis­sat­is­fied with logging only one Ra­zor­backs start in 11 out­ings, trans­ferred to Texas Tech with im­me­di­ate el­i­gi­bil­ity and is 6-1 with a 4.42 earned run av­er­age.

Bon­nin and right-han­der Caleb Kil­ian, 8-3, 3.93, are

Tad­lock’s top start­ing al­ter­na­tives to­day hav­ing pitched ace Micah Dal­las, now 7-1, against Michi­gan.

“I think there’s some com­fort level with him pitch­ing against their guys prob­a­bly five or six times, maybe even more,” Tad­lock was quoted at the Red Raiders’ Sun­day morn­ing me­dia session.

“I think there is some hu­man el­e­ment there that wants us all to give the ball to Bryce.”

Sopho­more Red Raiders util­ity in­fielder-pinch hit­ter Eas­ton Mur­rell also was a Ra­zor­backs 2018 fresh­man go­ing 1 for 8 with a RBI be­fore trans­fer­ring to Texas Tech.

Van Horn, whose ju­nior ace Isa­iah Campbell, pitched seven shutout in­nings in a score­less matchup against FSU lefty Drew Par­rish’s eight shutout in­nings be­fore the Semi­noles scored a ninth-in­ning run with­out a hit against re­liev­ers Cody Scrog­gins and Matt Cronin, pub­licly has pon­dered whether pitch­ing Noland or fresh­man lefty Patrick Wick­lan­der in Game 2 at Omaha just as he did be­fore the Ra­zor­backs’ Su­per Re­gional Game 2 against the Ole Miss Rebels last week at Baum-walker Sta­dium in Fayet­teville.

Van Horn chose Noland for that Game 2 and Sun­day explained he’s go­ing with Noland again to­day with a full bullpen com­ple­ment ready to re­lieve at any time.

“We’ve got ev­ery­body avail­able,” Van Horn said Sun­day after the Ra­zor­backs prac­ticed in Omaha. “It’s like any­thing - if he goes out and gets us a few in­nings, that’s all we’re looking for. If it’s just two good ones, three good ones, that’s fine; we’ll go get the next guy.”

Nei­ther Noland, the loser against Ole Miss, nor Wick­lan­der, start­ing the win­ner-take-all game against Ole Miss that Scrog­gins won ad­vanc­ing Arkansas to Omaha, pitched well or long in their last starts.

How­ever, both pitched bril­liantly the pre­vi­ous week in Fayet­teville Re­gional vic­to­ries over Cen­tral Con­necti­cut State and TCU.

Noland said Sun­day he’s re­ceived ad­vice from Campbell, the 12-1 ju­nior su­perb all sea­son and a sec­ond-round draft choice of the Seat­tle Mariners.

“He just told me not to worry about that one (last week against Ole Miss) and move on to the next one,” Noland said. “He told me I have an­other op­por­tu­nity in Omaha, and here we are.”

While kick­ing them­selves for squan­der­ing Campbell’s great ef­fort Satur­day for their lack of hit­ting suc­cess against Par­rish and in the 1-2-3 ninth against Florida State closer J.C. Flow­ers who had al­ready ex­celled in cen­ter ield with a great catch and scored the win­ning run on a ninth-in­ning sac­ri­fice fly, the Ra­zor­backs re­minded them­selves of last year’s back to the wall prece­dent set by Ore­gon State. The Beavers lost their Game 1 in Omaha last year but then won the rest in their bracket, then in the best of three bracket fi­nal­ists re­bounded from a Game 1 loss to beat Arkansas the next two for the na­tional cham­pi­onship.

“It’s def­i­nitely a more dif­fi­cult path, but it’s doable be­cause you saw it last year,” Arkansas des­ig­nated hit­ter Matt Good­heart of Mag­no­lia said after Satur­day’s 1-0 loss to Florida State. “If any­body’s go­ing to do it, I think this team can.”

Arkansas sopho­more short­stop Casey Martin, his shoul­der wrapped Satur­day night in postgame ice, is cleared to play to­day, the Ra­zor­backs con­firmed Sun­day.

Martin, try­ing for a tag, suf­fered a ninth-in­ning basepath ball and glove dis­lodg­ing col­li­sion with Flow­ers en­abling Flow­ers to be safe at sec­ond on a fielder’s choice and get bunted over to third to score the gamewin­ner on Nan­der De So­das’ sac­ri­fice fly.

Flow­ers be­gan the in­ning hit by Scrog­gins pitch.

Texas Tech short­stop Gabe Holt didn’t play against Michi­gan and is deemed “day-to-day,” Tad­lock has said, since un­der­go­ing surgery on his thumb in­jured as the Red Raiders won the Su­per Re­gional they hosted against Ok­la­homa State to ad­vance to Omaha.

Holt is among five Tech start­ing po­si­tion play­ers bat­ting from sec­ond base­man Brian Klein’s .317 to first base­man Cameron Warren’s .353. Warren leads Tech with 17 home runs and 76 RBIS.

At 6 tonight on ESPN, Florida State plays Michi­gan in the Bracket 1 win­ner’s bracket game.

Tonight’s win­ner is off un­til Fri­day. Tonight’s loser plays this af­ter­noon’s win­ner at 6 p.m. Wed­nes­day.

Bracket 2 be­gan Sun­day af­ter­noon with Van­der­bilt de­feat­ing Louisville 3-1 and Mis­sis­sippi State Sun­day night overcoming a 4-1 deficit with four ninth-in­ning runs to edge Auburn 5-4.

Auburn and Louisville play Tues­day af­ter­noon’s Bracket 2 loser’s bracket game, and Van­der­bilt and Mis­sis­sippi State play their win­ner’s bracket game Tues­day night.

The Bracket 1 and Bracket 2 winners play best 2 of 3 for the na­tional cham­pi­onship June 24-26.

ABOVE: Arkansas ju­nior pitcher Isa­iah Campbell tries a pick-off at­tempt in a 1-0 loss to Florida State Satur­day in Omaha, Ne­braska. Campbell pitched seven score­less in­nings, but the usu­ally po­tent Ra­zor­backs of­fense couldn’t score. The Hogs play Texas Tech to­day at 1 p.m.

CRAVEN WHITLOW/ Nate Allen Sports Ser­vice

LEFT: Arkansas fresh­man Matt Good­heart slides into third in a 1-0 loss to Florida State Satur­day in Omaha, Ne­braska.

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