Fayetteville, Ark. – Arkansas’ Clint Brannon threw a complete game while Haas Pratt and Danny Hamblin each had solo home runs to lead the Razorbacks to a 4-1 victory over Le Moyne in the first round of the NCAA Fayetteville Regional.
Arkansas (40-21) advances to play Wichita State in the winner’s bracket game at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Le Moyne (36-20) will play Missouri in an elimination game at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Brannon (4-3) threw 124 pitches in nine innings of work allowing only one run, unearned, on eight hits with four strikeouts and one walk. It was Brannon’s second consecutive complete game and third of the season. In his last two starts Brannon has pitched 20 innings.
Matt Scherer (10-3) took the loss for Le Moyne after giving up four runs, three earned, on eight hits in seven and two-thirds innings. Scherer fanned three and walked four.
“This was a well played game,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “Le Moyne came out and did everything we thought they were going to do. They played pretty good defense and their pitcher threw some strikes. The key was that Brannon got through the first three innings and got stronger. He did a super job tonight.”
An interference rule prevented a run from scoring for Le Moyne in the top of the second inning. Jeff Justice doubled to center with one out. Mike Affronti then hit a ground ball to third. Clay Goodwin fielded the ball, but his throw to first was wild allowing Affronti to reach safely.
Justice ran to third on the play, but came into contact with the third base coach while the play was still live. He then attempted to score while the ball was rolling past first. Justice was ruled out on coaches’ interference and no run scored. Affronti was put on first without advancing.
Affronti would later score in the inning on a sacrifice fly to right by Brain Hansen that gave the Dolphins an early 1-0 lead.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth Haas Pratt tied the game with a solo home run over the wall in right field. It came on a 3-2 pitch and was his seventh home run of the season.
Danny Hamblin followed Pratt’s shot with a solo blast over the wall in left to give the Hogs a 2-1 lead. It was Hamblin’s team-high eighth home run of the season and marked the first time this season the Razorbacks had hit back-to-back dingers.
The Razorbacks added to their lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Blake Plarker singled to open the inning and moved to second when Jake Dugger walked. Parker moved to third on a fielder’s choice ground out by Casey Rowlett.
Clay Goodwin brought Parker home with single through the right side the pushed the Arkansas lead to 3-1.
Pratt gave the Hogs a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the eight with an RBI double to center that scored Scott Hode from second.
Brannon would hold the Dolphins to only four hits over the final four innings as he picked up his first win in NCAA postseason play.