FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Razorback baseball team allowed just five runs on Saturday in an elimination game against Stanford at the NCAA Stanford Regional, but could only manage to score one of its own as it was ousted from the NCAA Championships by the host school, 5-1.
Arkansas (34-24) was the number three seed at the regional and ends its season with the loss to Stanford (34-22-2) the host and number one seed.
“The difference in the game was that Stanford drove in runs and we didn’t,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “The biggest play was made by (Austin) Yount on the hit by (Andy) Wilkins. That could have tied the game at three but instead we were still down 3-1.”
On the play, Arkansas had runners at second and third with two outs in the fifth inning. Wilkins who stepped to the plate having already knocked out two hits hit a 2-2 pitch right up the middle which would have easily scored both base runners. Instead, Yount stabbed at the scorched ball and came up with it on the hop which drew a gasp, then rousing cheer from the pro-Stanford crowd. Yount then threw the ball to first to get the key out.
The Razorbacks put themselves in a hole early in the game when Stanford took the lead at 1-0. Leading off the second inning, first baseman Randy Molina crushed a 1-2 pitch over the right field wall to give the Cardinal an early lead.
The Cardinal put up single runs in both the third and fourth innings to take a 3-0 lead. Their second run came on a two-out double which scored a runner that had reached on a walk and the third on a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded. The damage could have been much worse in the fourth as Stanford loaded the bases with no outs on three straight singles. Arkansas starter Dallas Keuchel was superb in his effort to get out of the inning as he forced two fly balls to left field and a pop out to second to get out of the jam.
Arkansas was able to cut into the lead in the fifth when Logan Forsythe drove in his first run of the regional on a RBI single up the middle. The Razorbacks rallied with two outs in the inning on singles by Chase Leavitt and Ben Tschepikow which was followed by Forsythe’s hit. With Forsythe on second and Tschepikow on third, Wilkins’ hit into the game-changing play.
In a moment of déjà-vu, the Razorbacks had their chance to score again in the seventh as Leavitt and Tschepikow reached base with two outs. This time Forsythe walked on five pitches to load the bases and another sharp ground ball up the middle by Wilkins was snared by the pitcher leading to the third out.
Stanford took its largest lead of the game in the top of the eighth when it scored two runs to take a 5-1 advantage. With a comfortable lead, Stanford worked the final six outs of the game to move on in the Regional and eliminate the Razorbacks.
For Arkansas, Leavitt, Tschepikow and Wilkins each had two hits with Forsythe driving in Arkansas’ only run. The Hogs connected for nine hits in the game but could only muster one run as Stanford capitalized on its hits scoring five runs on 10 hits. Leavitt had a very good Regional for the Razorbacks as he hit .500 over the two games, scoring once and driving in another Razorback run. Forsythe was also a tough out at the plate as he went 2-6 over the two games with four walks and a RBI.
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