Omaha, Neb. – The second-ranked Texas Longhorns used a five-run seventh inning to break open a close game and cruise to a 13-2 victory over No. 3 Arkansas in the first game of the College World Series.
The loss puts the Razorbacks in the first elimination game of the tournament. Arkansas will play the Arizona Wildcats at 1 p.m. Sunday. The winner will advance to play Tuesday, while the loser of that game will see its season come to an end.
Arkansas’s record fell to 45-23 overall, while Texas improved to 56-13 with the win. The Longhorns will play Georgia in the winner’s bracket of the tournament Sunday following the Arkansas-Arizona contests.
Razorback starter Charley Boyce (10-3) took the loss after giving up five runs, three earned, on seven hits in five innings of work. Boyce walked two, struck out two and hit three batters.
Texas starter J.P. Howell (15-2) earned the win. Howell allowed only one run, earned, on two hits with six walks and eight strikeouts in six and two-thirds inning.
The teams combined to set a College World Series record with eight hit batters. Arkansas tied the team record by hitting five batters, while the Longhorns plunked three hitters.
The two hits allowed by Texas marked the 26th two-hitters in CWS history. It marked the first time Arkansas had been held to only two hits since May 5, 2002, when the Kentucky Wildcats limited the Razorbacks to a pair of hits in a 5-2 win over the Hogs.
After retiring the Razorbacks in the top of the first inning, the Longhorns took advantage of a bases loaded walk to score the first run of the game in the bottom half of the first.
With one out, Seth Johnston and Curtis Thigpen each singled. Boyce then walked Taylor Teagarden to load the bases. Johnston was forced home when Carson Kainer walked.
Another run came home when Boyce hit Dooley Prince. The Razorbacks were able to get out of the inning when Ryan Russ grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning with the Longhorns holding a 2-0 lead.
Texas put runners on in the bottom of the second. David Maroul was hit-by-a-pitch and moved to second when Boyce misplayed a bunt by Michael Hollimon which allowed him to reach safely.
After a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, Johnston plated Maroul with a sac fly to left to give the Longhorns a 3-0 lead. Thigpen gave Texas a 4-0 advantage when he singled to right to score Hollimon from second base.
Howell was in control through the first four innings of play as he held the Hogs to only one hit and walked two. The Razorbacks got their first runner in scoring position in the top of the fifth when Devin Day walked and then stole second.
Jake Dugger followed with a two-out walk to put two on for Casey Rowlett. Rowlett reached on a throwing error by the shortstop to load the bases and give the Hogs their best scoring threat of the game. Arkansas was unable to take advantage of the situation, however, as Clay Goodwin chopped back to the pitcher to end the inning.
The Longhorns extended their lead to 5-0 with a one-out RBI single by Prince in the bottom of the fifth inning that scored Thigpen from second base.
Scott Bridges gave the Razorbacks their first run of the game with a solo home run to right that came with two outs in the top of the seventh inning. It was Bridges’ third home run of the season and the first home run of the College World Series.
The Longhorns, however, exploded for five runs in the bottom of the seventh to take a commanding 10-1 lead. Texas
Arkansas made it a 10-2 game in the top of the eighth inning when Rowlett scored on a fielder’s choice by Danny Hamblin that forced Haas Pratt out at second base.
Texas would score three more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning for the final 13-2 victory over the Razorbacks.
The 11-run loss is the worst for the Razorbacks since getting beat by 12 runs in a 14-2 loss to Alabama on April 27, 2003, in Tuscaloosa.