Riding Dominic Fletcher’s four hits and four RBI, the Arkansas Razorbacks built a five-run lead and then withstood a ninth-inning rally, turning back the Texas Tech Red Raiders 7-4 Wednesday to remain undefeated at the College World Series.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Red Raiders scored twice off reliever Matt Cronin on Cody Farhat’s two-run single.
But Cronin retired three straight batters, helping the No. 5-seeded Hogs improve to 2-0 in the tournament. Ninth-seeded Texas Tech fell to 1-1 and dropped into an elimination game against Florida.
The Red Raiders are scheduled to play the top-seeded Gators Thursday night. The winner would advance to meet the Razorbacks Friday in the Bracket 2 finals.
Arkansas is now one victory away from a berth in the CWS title round.
The Razorbacks have put themselves into a commanding position by beating Texas and Texas Tech, two former rivals from the old Southwest Conference that now play in the Big 12.
How it happened
Dominic Fletcher and Carson Shaddy delivered back-to-back RBI singles in the top of the eighth, helping Arkansas open a 7-2 lead on Texas Tech.
Fletcher, who swings a quick bat from the left side, improved his already prolific day at the plate to 4-for-4, with 4 RBI.
In two games at the College World Series, the 5-foot-9 sophomore from Cypress, California, is now 6 for 9 with 6 RBI.
Meanwhile, Arkansas relief pitcher Barrett Loseke has cooled off the Texas Tech offense.
He has struck out five in three scoreless innings.
But, at this point, Arkansas is going deeper into the bullpen, bringing in lefty Matt Cronin with a runner on first in the bottom of the eighth.
Cronin retired the side, allowing the Hogs to take a comfortable five-run lead into the ninth.
Brian Klein’s two-run double in the fifth inning has given new life to the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
The Red Raiders pulled to within 5-2 of the Arkansas Razorbacks when Klein pulled a ball into the right field corner, scoring Michael Davis and Cody Farhat.
Davis reached base when he beat a throw to first base from the catcher, who couldn’t handle a third strike. Later, Farhat walked, setting the table for Klein to hit a drive off Arkansas starter Kayce Murphy.
Barrett Loseke replaced Murphy and retired Josh Jung, Texas Tech’s leading hitter, who grounded out.
In the sixth, Texas Tech continued to build some momentum behind relief pitcher Jose Quezada, who gave up a hit but let his defense do the work on an inning-ending double play.
Dominic Fletcher pounded a solo homer to right to highlight a two-run fourth inning for Arkansas.
Meanwhile, pitcher Kacey Murphy continued to dominate Texas Tech hitters.
As a result, the Razorbacks took a 5-0 lead on the Red Raiders into the fifth Wednesday at the College World Series.
Fletcher and Murphy have emerged as the dominant players so far in a winners’ bracket game between the two former rivals in the old Southwest Conference, both 1-0 in the double-elimination tournament.
Fletcher, a sophomore from California, has produced two hits and three RBI. Murphy is working on a one-hit shutout with five strikeouts.
Arkansas is now representing the Southeastern Conference. Texas Tech is in the Big 12.
After a delayed start to the first game of the day at the College World Series, the Arkansas Razorbacks took a 3-0 lead on Texas Tech after three innings.
Arkansas scored twice in the top of the first inning on a two-run double by Dominic Fletcher.
The play was ruled a double after Texas Tech outfielders Cody Farhat and Gabe Holt collided while trying to make the catch.
The Razorbacks made it 3-0 when senior Jared Gates led off the top of the second with a solo home run.
Arkansas escaped trouble in the bottom half when Razorbacks left fielder Heston Kjerstad made a running catch of Farhat’s drive to the fence.
The Razorbacks later closed the inning when catcher Grant Koch threw out Cameron Warren trying to steal second base.
Arkansas’ pitching started to dominate in the bottom of the third when lefthander Kacey Murphy retired the side by striking out Braxton Fulford, Holt and Brian Klein.