Arkansas at Tennessee headlines college baseball weekend

College baseball that I’ll be watching tonight and through the weekend:

(1) Arkansas at (4) Tennessee
Tonight: Patrick Wicklander vs Chad Dallas

(2) Vanderbilt at (18) Ole Miss
Tonight: Kumar Rocker vs Doug Nikhazy

(7) Texas Tech at Oklahoma
Tonight: Patrick Monteverde vs Jason Ruffcorn

UTSA at (14 Louisiana Tech
Tonight: Pepper Jones vs Jonathan Fincher

Unveiling the ‘All Messy-Garage’ team in college baseball

In some ways, my infatuation with college baseball on ESPN Plus this spring is sort of a sad statement on my social life. In other ways, watching so many games on the network’s alternate channel for live event coverage has really opened my eyes to some great, young talent.

In that regard, I wanted to convey a few thoughts on some the most entertaining players I’ve seen this year. You can just say these are the guys to blame for a certain garage that has needed cleaning for months and yet remains a mess as we, er, speak.

Christian Franklin, Arkansas

Franklin, a junior for the No. 1-ranked Razorbacks, plays center field. He is one of those guys that you see in a game and wonder how much money he could possibly earn over the course of his impending pro career. Quite a bit, I’d say. I’ve seen the man make some remarkable catches in the outfield. He also hits a home about every other time I watch the Razorbacks. Right now, he hits .302, has an on-base percentage of .435, and he slugs .586. About the only negative I can find on the stat sheet are 45 strikeouts in 152 at bats. Most impressive thing you see when crunching numbers on Franklin? He hasn’t made an error in 84 chances.

Ivan Melendez, Texas

Melendez’s recent streak of six games with a home run (seven in all) was really something. I didn’t see the first three games in his run, but if memory serves, I picked it up on the fourth, and watched as the big man from El Paso cranked some shots far into the night sky in Austin. I watched one of his homers sail over the green batters’ eye above the center field wall at UT’s UFCU Disch-Falk Field. Not sure about his all-around ability, as he’s used mostly as a DH. Also, Melendez has cooled off a bit since his streak. But he remains as a threat to batter scoreboards anywhere he plays. Honorable mention when I watch Texas? Second sacker Mitchell Daly, a freshman who turns the double play as well as he hits for average (.348).

Enrique Bradfield, Jr., Vanderbilt

Bradfield comes to mind, because early in the season, I’d always flip the channel to the Vanderbilt game to watch either Kumar Rocker or Jack Leiter. And then, invariably, I ended up being transfixed by something remarkable that Bradford did. Either in the outfield or on the base paths. The key to his game is speed. Reportedly, he runs the 60-yard dash in 6.26 seconds. On top of that, he uses it wisely, as his NCAA Division I-leading 34 stolen bases in 36 attempts suggests. It’s also fun to watch him play the field, where he will start to track a fly ball you think he has no chance to get, and then he comes up with a diving catch. With a .342 batting average, he doesn’t seem intimidated in the least by SEC pitching.

Phillip Sikes, TCU

The well-traveled Mr. Sikes hails from Paris, Texas. His career path in college baseball — from New Mexico to Pima Community College and then to TCU — would suggest journeyman qualities as a player. His facial features suggest he might be more ready for a Pony League all-star game than a weekend showdown with the Longhorns. If you think he’s lacking, though, you’re wrong. Sikes is batting a team-leading .377 with a 1.188 OPS for a team that leads the Big 12 standings. Early on, I liked to turn the channel to find the TCU game to watch Luke Boyers, the kid from Boerne, who is having an excellent season. But Sikes just continues to hit. If Texas has any hope of beating TCU a couple of times this weekend, they need to keep the baby-faced East Texan off the bases. Good luck with that.

Dru Baker, Texas Tech

Baker showed up in Austin last weekend with an unmistakable swagger. The Red Raiders’ leadoff hitter went on to make life miserable for the Longhorns, who lost their first series at home all year. In Game 1, he opened with two weak at bats and then, in his next two trips to the plate, he doubled. In the fifth inning, he slammed a two-run, two-bagger that broke the game open in a 6-3 victory. His play led directly to an outcome that was a psychological blow to the Longhorns, who lost in a key game started by ace right-hander Ty Madden. Baker has been good all year. He’s a .393 hitter. Freshman Jace Jung from San Antonio has created a lot of excitement with his power hitting, but right now, Baker seems to be the man.

Landon Sims, Mississippi State

I don’t pretend to know a whole lot about the Bulldogs, except that they seem capable of beating just about anybody. But I do have a memory of right-handed reliever Landon Sims that stands out. A few weeks ago, he entered a game in the seventh inning at Nashville against Vanderbilt. With the Commodores threatening, he gave up a couple of singles to the first two batters he faced. A five-run Bulldogs lead had shrunk to three. At that point, he walked Bradfield to further muddle the situation. But then Sims took on something that can only be described as a Goose Gossage-like persona, striking out two to end the inning. Just the way he finished the inning, and then finished the game, bouncing around the mound in animation, made me think that the kid is very capable of doing the same in the playoffs.

Garage update

Well, it’s cleaner than I thought. But it’s still littered with plastic containers filled with old newspapers and boxes of old press guides. Who’s responsible? Hey, come see me after the College World Series.

Oregon State wins, claims NCAA baseball championship

Facing elimination after losing their opener at the College World Series, the Oregon State Beavers ripped off four straight victories to stay alive.

Once they reached the championship round, the Beavers did it the hard way — again.

They lost the opener, and then rallied with a vengeance to take two straight from the Arkansas Razorbacks, claiming the school’s third NCAA Division I title.

Oregon State, champions in both 2006 and 2007, climbed to the top of the college baseball world again after beating Arkansas 5-0 Thursday night behind freshman Kevin Abel’s masterful pitching.

Scoring two runs in the first inning to take charge early, the Beavers turned it over to Abel, a freshman from San Diego.

Abel responded by throwing a two-hit, complete-game shutout. Mixing a fastball, a curve and a devastating changeup, he struck out 10 and retired the last 20 batters he faced.

Facing television cameras after the game, he couldn’t hide his emotions.

“Unbelievable,” Abel told ESPN in front of cheering fans at TD Ameritrade Park. “Thank you, Beaver Nation, for everything you do. You guys are awesome.”

Adley Rutschman produced three hits and two RBI for the Beavers. With 17 hits in the CWS, he was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Oregon State lost 8-6 to North Carolina in the CWS opener. In response, the Beavers knocked off Washington, North Carolina and Mississippi State (twice) to get to the finals.

Once in the title round, OSU stumbled again, falling 4-1 to Arkansas on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, the Razorbacks moved to within one out of their first national title.

Arkansas had a chance to win it but misplayed a pop foul ball. Given a second chance, the Beavers didn’t let it get away. They rallied from a one-run deficit to win 5-3.

The Game 3 clincher wasn’t nearly as dramatic. But it was efficient, with Rutschman coming up big, driving in runs in first and third innings.

“We’ve got a special group,” Rutschman told ESPN.

Records

Oregon State 55-12-1
Arkansas 48-21

Oregon State, Arkansas to play again with a title on the line

When the Oregon State Beavers and Arkansas Razorbacks take the field Thursday night for the NCAA Division I baseball championship, all the elements for another classic will converge.

The same cast of characters that produced the first two games in the College World Series finals will face off at TD Ameritrade Park one more time. Same players. Same coaches.

Even the same crazy fans.

But whether the deciding game can measure up to Wednesday night’s Game 2 in sheer, dramatic theater remains as an open question.

Oregon State rallied in the ninth inning behind Cadyn Grenier and Trevor Larnach for a stunning 5-3 victory over Arkansas, tying the CWS finals at one win apiece.

Nobody won a championship, but the game was a gem, with the lead changing hands three times.

“I never had a doubt,” Larnach said in an ESPN interview. “I never was worried.”

Arkansas registered a 4-1 victory on Tuesday to open the best-of-3 finals, setting the stage for the re-match.

In the top of the ninth, Arkansas was one out away from clinching the victory and the national title, but couldn’t close it out.

The game appeared to be over when Grenier lifted a high pop fly in foul territory behind first base.

But with Razorbacks second baseman Carson Shaddy, right fielder Eric Cole and first baseman Jared Gates converging, the ball dropped behind Shaddy and between the other two players for a foul ball.

Grenier would get another swing against Arkansas relief ace Matt Cronin, and he delivered with a two-out, two-strike RBI single through the left side to tie the game.

Larnach followed with a line drive, two-run homer to right field, making it 5-3.

In the bottom of the ninth, Arkansas reliver Jake Mulholland got a ground ball, double play to end it.

Quotable

Cadyn Grenier, in the Corvallis Gazette-Times:

“As soon as you see the ball drop, you know you have another life. All I thought was I needed to refocus and make the most of that extra life that we got.”

Matt Cronin, in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:

“I was feeling good, expecting to finish the ballgame right there and win a natty (a national title). But it didn’t work out the way we wanted it. So we’re going to regroup and get it tomorrow.”

How it happened

The Razorbacks scored first with a run in the second inning off Oregon State starter Bryce Fehmel.

Carson Shaddy started the rally with a one-out single, and Jared Gates was hit by a pitch.

After a Grant Koch ground ball resulted in a force play, erasing Shaddy at third base, Fehmel walked Jax Biggers to load the bases.

The implosion continued when Fehmel threw a wild pitch, allowing Gates to score and giving the Razorbacks a 1-0 lead.

In the top of the fourth, Oregon State’s Adley Ruschman tied the game with a solo home run off Arkansas starter Kacey Murphy.

The Beavers continued to scrap in the fifth inning, bunching three hits and scoring a run to take the lead on a suicide squeeze bunt.

Zak Taylor delivered a one-out single through the infield, and then Preston Jones beat out a bunt single placed perfectly down the third base line.

At that point, Jake Reindl replaced Murphy and promptly walked Nick Madrigal to load the bases.

Grenier followed with an RBI single on another bunt, boosting Oregon State into a 2-1 lead.

Reindl threw one more pitch, a ball, to Larnach. But that was it for Reindl as Arkansas gambled, bringing in Kole Ramage to face one of Oregon State’s most dangerous hitters.

Ramage, in one of the game’s biggest moments, delivered by striking out Larnach and then getting Ruschman to ground out to end the threat.

The Razorbacks didn’t waste any time in mounting a comeback, scoring twice in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead.

With one out, Casey Martin laced a single through the right side.

From there, the baseball gods started to smile on Arkansas, as Heston Kjerstad blooped a ball down the left field line that fell in for a single.

To make matters worse for Oregon State, Luke Bonfield blooped another ball into shallow left, just out of the center fielder’s reach.

Martin utilized blazing speed to tie the game, scoring all the way from second and sliding in just ahead of the throw while Kjerstad took second.

One out later, Shaddy singled to left, bringing home Kjerstad as Arkansas took a 3-2 lead.

Arkansas wins, moves to within one victory of NCAA baseball title

A contested umpire’s call in the fourth inning Tuesday night tipped the momentum to the Arkansas Razorbacks, who capitalized on the good fortune to rally for a 4-1 victory over the Oregon State Beavers at the College World Series.

Arkansas is now one win away from its first NCAA baseball title.

The same two teams will play again Wednesday night in Game 2 of a best-of-three series for the championship. Game 3, if necessary, would be held Thursday. The series is being played in Omaha, Nebraska.

A key sequence in the opener unfolded in the bottom of the fourth when a baserunner interference call led to an Oregon State run being taken off the scoreboard.

Trevor Larnach opened the inning with a double to left on a fly ball that Arkansas leftfielder Heston Kjerstad lost in the sun. Adley Rutschman followed with a single, moving Larnach to third.

On Tyler Malone’s ground ball to the right side, Larnach ran home and crossed the plate, Rutschman was thrown out at second on the force and Malone was called safe at first on a double-play attempt.

Umpires, however, ruled that Rutschman — who ducked his head as he neared second base — had interfered with the relay throw from Arkansas shortstop Jax Biggers.

It meant that both Rutschman and Malone were erased on a double play. Worse for the Beavers, umps told Larnach that he had to go back to third.

Oregon State coach Pat Casey came out to argue, but the call stood.

From there, Arkansas pitcher Blaine Knight struck out Michael Gretler to end the inning, keeping the Beavers’ lead at 1-0.

In the top of the fifth, Oregon State starter and 16-game winner Luke Heimlich came unraveled, with the Razorbacks scoring four runs.

Heimlich walked one, hit two batters with pitches and watched as star Nick Madrigal made a critical infield error.

On the play, Casey Martin hit a slow roller that Madrigal failed to handle cleanly. So, instead of getting a force at second base for the second out of the inning, the third run of the inning scored and everyone was safe.

Heimlich would throw one last pitch, a ball, to Heston Kjerstad. After that, Casey pulled him for Christian Chamberlain, who proceeded to issue a walk to force in a run that made it 4-1.

The Beavers entered the day with 48 runs scored in five games at the CWS. But the Razorbacks’ pitching trio of Knight, Barrett Loseke and closer Matt Cronin combined to hold them in check.

Knight pitched six innings and allowed a run on seven hits, improving his record to 14-0 on the season. Loseke worked two innings and Cronin closed in the ninth.

Heimlich, a senior, took the loss and fell to 16-3.

He worked 4 and 1/3 innings and was charged with all four runs, three of them earned. Heimlich struck out five and walked two.

Chamberlain was dominant in 4 and 2/3 scoreless innings of relief. He yielded only two hits while striking out 11.

Quotable

Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn, to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette:

“We feel very fortunate to have won the ball game. Baseball is a little different game sometimes, and you can have eight innings where you don’t do much and you put together one inning and you pitch good enough and play defense and you can win.”

Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman, to the Corvallis Gazette-Times:

We’ve got to come out tomorrow with more of an edge and better competitiveness, and see what happens. There’s something about it, something about facing elimination that you can’t really explain. So I’m hoping we come out with that fire and energy tomorrow.”

Rutschman, on the interference call:

“I don’t exactly know the rule on it, but I just did my best to get out of the way and get out of his throwing lane. I just kind of crouched down, and I don’t really know what else to say … you can’t obstruct his throwing lane, so that’s just what I tried to do. I guess you can’t do that.”

Notable

Oregon State is expected to pitch righthander Bryce Fehmel (10-1, 3.16) on Wednesday night. Arkansas is scheduled counter with lefty Kacey Murphy (8-5, 3.15).

Game 1 had been scheduled for Monday, but it was rained out, pushing the opener to Tuesday.

Oregon State has been dealing with controversy in regard to Heimlich since this time last year when he left the team before the CWS after an Oregon newspaper reported that he had pleaded guilty to molesting a young relative when he was 15.

Officials allowed him to return to the team this season. The Associated Press reports that he served two years of probation and went through a treatment program. Heimlich denied wrongdoing in recent interviews with Sports Illustrated and the New York Times.

He was not drafted either last year or this year.

Records

Arkansas 48-19
Oregon State 53-12-1

Will Arkansas pitchers prevail? OSU hitters to state their case

Fans of the Arkansas Razorbacks have been “calling the hogs” in the state of Nebraska for more than a week, and who could blame them?

They’re probably warming up again right now, as we, err, speak.

Here’s why:

So far, the Razorbacks are undefeated in Omaha at the College World Series. They’re 3-0 and playing great in all phases of the game.

Perhaps more importantly, they’re pitching more effectively at the moment than the 4-1 Oregon State Beavers.

As a result, the Arkansas bullpen has also worked fewer innings than its counterpart since the tournament opened on June 16.

Given the disparity, even the most neutral observers likely favor the Hogs to beat the Beavers in the finals, a best-of-three series that starts Monday night at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha.

But whether such conventional analysis proves accurate in this case, I don’t know if I’m buying into that or not.

I don’t know how you can ever count out an Oregon State offense that’s averaged nearly 10 runs per game in five CWS games.

Count ’em. The Beavers have scored 48 runs in five-game ride to the CWS finals.

From what I’ve seen on television, I’m not sure Nick Madrigal, Trevor Larnach and Adley Rutschman and those guys couldn’t, on a good day, beat just about any pitcher in the nation.

Against Arkansas, they’ll face Blaine Knight (13-0, 2.88) in the opener, followed by Kacey Murphy (8-5, 3.15) and, if necessary, Isaiah Campbell (5-6, 4.12).

They’ll also likely see a lot of Barrett Loseke, Jake Reindl and Matt Cronin out of the bullpen.

That’s the heart of a staff that has withstood challenges from solid offensive teams in Texas, Texas Tech and No. 1 Florida.

It’s a staff that has held opponents to a combined 11 runs in Omaha in an impressive three-game stretch.

Then again, I also think Madrigal and Co. are extraordinary talents that could cause major problems, forcing the Razorbacks to go deeper into their rotation than anyone they’ve seen at the CWS thus far.

Who will win? I don’t know.

I just really like Oregon State’s swagger right now, and, in spite of spotty pitching from Luke Heimlich and Bryce Fehmel, I strongly suspect this series will go the distance.

I think, for certain, we’ll see three highly entertaining baseball games.

Notable

Arkansas is shooting for its first national title in baseball. The Razorbacks last reached the CWS finals in 1979.

Oregon State won titles previously at the CWS in 2006 and 2007. The Beavers haven’t been back to the CWS finals since.

Quotable

Oregon State coach Pat Casey:

“What I’ve seen of Arkansas is what everybody else has seen, pretty darned good,” Casey said. “I don’t know if I’ve seen a more complete team: Pitching, defense, speed, power.”

Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn:

“Once we got here and watched them play, I told Pat that I figured that they would fight their way through like they did,” Van Horn said. “And I think it’s going to be a great series.”

Inside scoop

Here are stories that appeared in Monday’s editions of the Corvallis (Oregon) Gazette-Times and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Fletcher-led Arkansas wins again, downs Texas Tech, 7-4

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.

Arkansas beats Texas, 11-5, after scoring eight runs in the sixth

The Arkansas Razorbacks scored eight runs in a sixth inning interrupted by a 2 hour and 47 minute weather delay en route to an 11-5 victory Sunday over the Texas Longhorns in the College World Series.

In the CWS opener for both teams, Arkansas sent 14 batters to the plate in the inning against six Texas pitchers.

The Razorbacks punched out six singles and took advantage of four walks and one batter that was hit by a pitch.

It was a nightmarish experience for the Longhorns, who are playing in the CWS for the first time since 2014.

The outburst lifted Arkansas into an 11-2 lead. Texas scored two in the eighth and one in the ninth during garbage time.

After the Razorbacks recorded the lopsided victory, they advanced in the winners’ bracket to meet either Florida or Texas Tech.

The Longhorns, in turn, will play the Florida-Texas Tech loser in an elimination game. Both games are set for Tuesday.

The world series is being played at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.

Stars of the game

Arkansas — Senior Luke Bonfield hit a two-run homer in the fifth to lift Arkansas into a 3-2 lead. Freshman Heston Kjerstad produced three hits, including a two-run single in the sixth inning. Pitcher Blaine Knight (13-0) remained undefeated after working five innings.

Texas — Austin Todd slapped a two-run single in the eighth inning to give the Longhorns a lift. Tate Shaw was 3 for 3 with a triple and a run scored. Kody Clemens, the star of the playoffs for Texas, had one hit in five at bats.

Quotable

Texas coach David Pierce, on whether he felt Arkansas was that good of a team offensively:

“They were today. I thought early in the game we pitched well. You just can’t afford to pitch behind (in the count) against Arkansas. And that’s what happened when we got unraveled.

“Either we pitched behind or we tried to get strike one and threw white-on-white
instead of a quality pitch.

“I’m not shellshocked. It’s just part of it. It’s not the way wished it had gone. Unortunately, it got away from us and we … ust couldn’t overcome the deficit.”

Records

Arkansas 45-19
Texas 42-22

After Texas took a one-run lead, Arkansas retaliated with two runs in the bottom of the fifth and two more in the sixth to take charge.

The outburst that knocked out Texas starter Nolan Kingham left the Razorbacks in the lead, 5-2, when the game was suspended for a weather delay because of lightning in the area.

In the fifth, Kingham found trouble with a walk and then a two-run homer by Luke Bonfield.

Arkansas continued to apply pressure in the sixth with a couple of singles that forced Texas to go to its bullpen.

Texas reliever Parker Joe Robinson promptly walked two to force in the first run.

Josh Sawyer entered the game for Robinson, but he issued another walk, allowing the Razorbacks to score again.

Texas takes the lead

With Texas trailing by one early, the Longhorns scored in the third and the fifth innings in rallies sparked by Tate Shaw for a 2-1 lead.

In the third, Tate Shaw opened the inning with a triple to right center off Arkansas ace Blaine Knight.

Ryan Reyenolds brought him home with a chopper that Knight gloved and continued on to touch first for the unassisted play.

In the fifth, the Longhorns put men at first and second without hitting the ball out of the infield.

First, Masen Hibbeler reached on an infield single. Next, Shaw bunted for another hit.

Aftr Reynolds moved the runners up with a bunt sacrifice, David Shaw delivered with an RBI fly ball.

Texas left a runner stranded at third when Knight struck out Duke Ellis to end the threat.

Starters last five innings

Arkansas Blaine Knight and Texas’ Nolan Kingham both exited after picthing five innings.

Knight gave up two runs on four hits. He walked one and struck out four. Kingham allowed five runs on nine hits. He also walked one and fanned four.

The Arkansas Razorbacks have jumped out front, 1-0, on Texas on Day 2 of the College World Series.

It’s Arkansas’ Blaine Knight, still undefeated this season, against Texas’ Nolan Kingham.

Highlights to this point for Arkansas?

A three-hit, first inning produces one run. Heston Kjerstad laces a one-out single off Kingham to make it 1-0.

Hogs leave runners stranded at first and third.

Texas makes better contact in the second inning off Knight, including D.J. Petrinsky’s line drive to left that nearly goes out of the park.

In the bottom of the second, Arkansas is scoreless but UT second baseman Kody Clemens was flexing his right (throwing) hand after an attempt to field a hard smash off the bat of Jared Gates.

Sunday’s schedule

Arkansas 11, Texas 5
Texas Tech vs. Florida, 6 p.m.

Saturday’s results

North Carolina 8, Oregon State 6
Mississippi State 1, Washington 0

USC wins team title; Baylor finishes eighth in 4×400 relay

The Southern Cal women knew they had to win the 4×400 relay to win the NCAA team title on Saturday, and that’s exactly what they did in a stirring finish at Hayward Field.

USC’s Kendall Ellis came from behind in the last 50 meters to edge Purdue for first place in the relay and the accompanying 10 points necessary for the team championship.

A protest that could have scuttled the USC relay title and altered the team point standings was denied.

The drama unfolded in the final event of the NCAA Track and Field Championship in Eugene, Oregon. Rain fell for most of the last day of the meet.

Horton earns All-American honors

Baylor, with former Judson star Kiana Horton running the anchor leg, came in eighth place in the 4×400. Horton, a Baylor junior, claimed her first All-American designation outdoors.

Devin Clark finishes 11th

Devin Clark, an Arkansas sophomore from Smithson Valley, placed 11th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. She crossed the line in 10 minutes and 3.7 seconds.

A&M’s Watson wins 800

Texas A&M freshman Sammy Watson patiently stalked the leaders in a driving rain and then came from behind to win the title in the 800 meters.

UT Arlington’s Henry claims high jump title

UT Arlington junior Alexus Henry won the championship in the high jump with a clearance of 5 feet, 11 and 1/2 inches.

Texas to host in 2019, 2020

The NCAA outdoor track meet will be staged in Austin for the next two years. The meet will be held at Myers Stadium on the University of Texas campus in 2019 and 2020.

Hayward Field will undergo a major re-construction for the next two years in anticipation of the 2021 IAAF World Outdoor Championships.

Women’s team scoring

1, Southern Cal, 53
2, Georgia, 52
3, Stanford, 51
4, Kentucky, 46
5, Florida, 42
6, LSU, 41
7, Oregon, 39
8, Purdue, 34
9, Arizona State, 22
10, Virginia Tech, 21.5