Arkansas holds off Ole Miss, 3-2, to stay in the CWS title hunt

Arkansas junior Zack Morris, pitching in relief in a harrowing ninth inning, shut down an Ole Miss rally Wednesday night as the Razorbacks held on to beat the Rebels 3-2 at the College World Series.

“Everyone in the dugout had faith in him,” Arkansas starting pitcher Hagen Smith said in a post-game interview with reporters on-site in Omaha, Neb. “Nerves were high. But we knew he was going to get out of it.”

By claiming the victory, the Razorbacks forced a deciding game Thursday against the Rebels, with the winner advancing to play the Oklahoma Sooners in the championship round.

The best-of-three championship round will start on Saturday night. Earlier Wednesday, Oklahoma earned the right to play for the title by beating the Texas A&M Aggies.

In the night game, the Razorbacks took a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth, only to see the Rebels open the frame by loading the bases with a single and two straight batters hit by pitch.

Morris entered the game in relief at that juncture and struck out Hayden Leatherwood.

The next batter, TJ McCants, flied out. One out away from a loss, the Rebels found life when Justin Bench’s RBI single drove in a run.

The ball was hit into the hole between third and short. Gliding toward his right, Arkansas shortstop Jalen Battles gloved it and kept it from going into the outfield, which likely prevented a second run — the tying run — from scoring.

At the same time, the San Antonio Madison High School alumnus had no other play to make after fielding the ball, and so the bases remained loaded.

Ole Miss’ Jacob Gonzalez was up next, with the game hanging in the balance. Arkansas was one out away from winning, but it also remained a possibility that a two-run single could end its season.

Gonzalez swung and struck the ball well. Slicing into left field, it was caught by Zack Gregory for the last out.

“Zack (Morris) has been clutch for us all year,” Arkansas designated hitter Brady Slavens said. “He’s done a great job. We all had faith in him. We all had belief in him. You know, he didn’t have the best start the other day. But he came out and proved himself tonight.”

With the teams tied in the early innings, Slavens’ 436-foot solo home run to center field in the top of the fifth staked Arkansas to a 2-1 lead.

“I guess I was just looking for a fastball over the plate,” Slavens said. “Luckily I got it. It might be the farthest home run I’ve ever hit. I don’t know. Not sure.”

In the deciding game, Ole Miss is expected to start ace Dylan DeLucia, who beat Auburn on the second day of the tournament last Saturday.

“We’re going to have to really fight,” Slavens said. “It’s going to take all of us to win.”

Oklahoma wins 5-1 to oust Texas A&M from the College World Series

The Oklahoma Sooners advanced to the championship round of the College World Series Wednesday afternoon with a 5-1 victory over the Texas A&M Aggies in Omaha, Neb.

Jimmy Crooks helped the Sooners start fast by belting a three-run homer in the first inning. After that, right-handed pitcher David Sandlin dominated the Aggies, ousting them from the CWS with a powerful seven-inning performance.

Sandlin yielded only a run on five hits and struck out 12. The only run for A&M came in the sixth on a solo homer by former UTSA standout Dylan Rock.

It wasn’t nearly enough for the Aggies, as the Sooners moved on to the title round. Oklahoma will play either Ole Miss or Arkansas on Sunday to open a best-of-three set for the national title.

A&M will transition into the offseason coming off perhaps the best season in school history. In coach Jim Schlossnagle’s first year as coach, A&M finished 44-20.

The Aggies picked up momentum during Southeastern Conference play, claiming consecutive series victories over Kentucky, Georgia, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Mississippi State and Ole Miss.

Entering the NCAA tournament as the No. 5 overall seed, the Aggies won the College Station regional when they swept to three straight victories, knocking off Oral Roberts, Louisiana and TCU.

In the Super Regionals, also played in College Station, A&M claimed a pair of one-run victories over the Louisville Cardinals to take a five-game winning streak into the CWS.

The streak ended last Friday on opening day in Omaha, as the Sooners knocked out Aggies’ starter Nathan Dettmer early in a 13-8 victory.

Undeterred, A&M moved into the losers bracket and domintated Texas 10-2 before beating Notre Dame 5-1.

Against the Irish, Dettmer, from San Antonio’s Johnson High School, pitched seven shutout innings in the historic win, as it was the first time in school history that the Aggies had won two games in one CWS.

The win sent them to the semifinals, where they needed two straight victories over the Sooners to advance. Sandlin and the OU bullpen just didn’t let it happen. The Sooners limited the Aggies to only six hits.

A&M outfielder Jordan Thompson, a junior from Boerne Champion, enjoyed a standout CWS. In four games, he finished four for 10 at the plate with five RBIs. He also walked four times and stole two bases.

The Sooners didn’t let Thompson get going on Wednesday, though, as they held him hitless in three at bats.

Dettmer pitches Texas A&M into the semifinals at the College World Series

The Texas A&M Aggies will play another day in Omaha at the College World Series, thanks in large part to San Antonio’s Nathan Dettmer.

Dettmer started and pitched seven scoreless innings Tuesday as A&M eliminated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 5-1.

As a result, the Aggies will move into the semifinals of the CWS to meet the Oklahoma Sooners. The Sooners and Aggies will play at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

OU can advance to the championship round with a victory. The Aggies will need to win twice against the Sooners to play for the national title.

The Sooners (2-0 in the CWS) beat the Aggies (2-1) by a 13-8 score last Friday in the tournament opener.

Against OU, Dettmer started but didn’t make it through the second inning.

Even though he has struggled over the past five weeks, he settled down and pitched his best game of the season against the Irish.

The 6-foot-4, righthander, who played in high school at San Antonio Johnson, allowed only three hits, did not walk a batter and struck out six.

“I’m feeling great right now,” Dettmer told Michella Chester, a reporter for NCAA Digital. “It’s a great relief to have such success on … one of the greatest baseball stages in the world. It felt great.”

For Dettmer, it was quite a change of fortune. Over his last seven starts, he had pitched 20 innnings, yielding 33 hits and 28 earned runs.

Against OU, Dettmer was pulled after 1 and 2/3 innings. The Sooners had roughed him up badly. He was charged with giving up seven earned runs.

Chester asked Dettmer, “What turned it around?”

“I trusted myself,” he said. “All I had to do was believe in myself. My teammates believed in me. My coaches believed in me. I just had to believe in myself.

“It was all up here,” he added, pointing to his head.

“I just did it today. It was me and (catcher) Troy (Claunch) working the whole time. It felt great.”

What was working for him?

“Honestly, everything. I don’t want to seem cocky. But I felt like I could throw any pitch in any count. Just to have that confidence and to have my catcher working with me, it felt amazing.”

Dettmer said it felt good that coach Jim Schlossnagle would turn to him at such an important juncture in the season.

“To feel that confidence — I really felt it,” he said. “It showed up. It worked.”

Chester asked Dettmer about the days in the aftermath of his last start and what he was experiencing.

“It felt like forever,” he said. “That one game, when I got pulled, it felt like a 20-inning game. I felt so small. But (for the coach) to have that confidence (in me) it felt amazing.”

Notable

The Aggies have won multiple games at a College World Series for the first time in seven trips, according to the school’s website. Their two victories (over Texas and Notre Dame) matches their total from the program’s previous six trips to Omaha.

A&M capitalized on Notre Dame mistakes, including a balk and a throwing error, to take a 3-0 lead in the third inning. In the fifth inning, a Trevor Werner leadoff homer highlighted a two-run rally as the Aggies opened a 5-0 lead.

Jordan Thompson, a Texas A&M junior from Boerne Champion, reached base twice on a walk and a hit against the Irish, increasing his on-base total in three CWS games to nine.

Against Notre Dame, he went 1 for 3 and scored a run. He was 2 for 2 and scored twice and drove in two runs in a 10-2 victory over Texas on Sunday. Thompson was 1 for 2 and clubbed a three-run homer in the Aggies’ 13-8 loss to OU last Friday.

Coming up

Wednesday — (CWS semifinals) Texas A&M (2-1) vs. Oklahoma (2-0). Also, Arkansas (2-1) vs. Ole Miss (2-0). To advance to the title round, both Oklahoma and Ole Miss can advance with a single victory, while both A&M and Arkansas need to win twice.

San Antonio’s Stanley Umude paces OT victory for Arkansas

A few weeks ago, the Arkansas Razorbacks were reeling, having lost three in a row and five of six.

In response, Stanley Umude and his friends have put the losing skid in their rear view mirror with a four-game winning streak.

The latest victory came Saturday night in Fayetteville, Ark., as the Razorbacks turned back the Texas A&M Aggies 76-73 in overtime.

Umude emerged as one of the key players for Arkansas.

The senior transfer from South Dakota, who played in high school at San Antonio Warren, scored 15 points and pulled down seven boards against A&M.

His break-away dunk with 1.2 seconds remaining sealed the win.

Meanwhile, in other highlights involving San Antonio-area athletes in NCAA Division I:

Kevin McCullar Jr., a 6-foot-6 Texas Tech junior from Wagner, didn’t have a great day shooting the ball. He hit only 1 of 7 from the field. But he produced seven points, five rebounds and four assists. More importantly, the 18th-ranked Red Raiders won at home, defeating the West Virginia Mountaineers, 78-65.

Brendan Wenzel, a 6-7 University of Wyoming sophomore from O’Connor, hit four 3-point shots for the Cowboys. He made 4 of 8 from the field and scored 13 points in the Cowboys’ 93-91 victory at home over the New Mexico Lobos. The victory lifted Wyoming to 15-2 on the season and to 4-0 in the Mountain West Conference.

Indiana eliminates Texas A&M from the NCAA playoffs

Trailing by nine runs early, the Texas A&M Aggies stayed patient.

They kept chipping away, inning by inning, until they pulled to within two runs with two runners on base in the ninth.

In the end, A&M’s comeback bid wilted in the 100-degree heat.

Indiana turned a double play to close it, claiming a 9-7 victory in the NCAA Austin Regional.

As a result, the Aggies’ season is over after a second straight loss in the tournament, while the Hoosiers earned a chance to take down Texas for the championship.

Texas can win the regional tournament with a victory tonight. Indiana hopes to win to force a deciding game Monday.

Indiana stunned Texas A&M by exploding for nine runs in the first inning.

The big blows came on a two-run home run by Scotty Bradley and a three-run shot by Matt Lloyd.

Lloyd, who started the game at first base, led Indiana with two runs scored, three hits and three RBI.

He also figured into the game as a pitcher, working part of the eighth and closing out the ninth.

For Texas A&M, Logan Foster produced three hits. Chris Andritsos had two hits and three RBI.

Relievers Cason Sherrod and Nolan Hoffman held the Hoosiers scoreless from the second through the ninth inning.

The loss sent Texas A&M home from the NCAA tournament shy of the Super Regional round for the first time since 2014.

Records

Texas A&M 40-22
Indiana 40-18

Texas A&M coach shrugs off Clemens’ theatrics

Texas A&M coach Rob Childress is trying to get his team ready to play the Indiana Hoosiers this afternoon at the NCAA’s Austin Regional.

The Aggies and Hoosiers are both 1-1 in the regional and facing elimination.

The winner would advance to play Texas tonight in the championship round.

Texas A&M fans would like nothing more than another shot at the Longhorns after what happened Saturday night.

Not only did the Longhorns beat the Aggies 8-3, but UT star Kody Clemens stirred it up with some theatrics.

After a first-inning, three-run homer, Clemens rounded third and stared briefly into the Aggies’ dugout.

During media interviews later, Childress brushed off a question about the incident.

“We are all competitors, and it’s the biggest moment, Saturday night in a regional, and he is in the moment and if you don’t like it, make a better pitch is the way I look at it,” Childress told reporters.

Added Childress: “They feed off him, and he is an incredible player, very competitive, very good approach as a baseball player and he loves the moment.

“He did a great job for them tonight, certainly the difference in the game.”

Clemens hit two home runs and produced four RBI in a three-hit performance.

As a result, the Longhorns improved to 2-0 in the regional, needing only a win tonight to advance.

For a full story on Texas A&M’s reaction to its loss to Texas, please see Richard Croome’s story in the Bryan Eagle.

Six teams in the state alive in NCAA baseball playoffs

Six of the seven Texas-based teams in the NCAA baseball tournament remain alive through three days of regional play. Texas and Texas Tech are 2-0 in their regions. Here’s the breakdown leading into Sunday afternoon competition:

Texas — In the drivers’ seat in the Austin Regional. The No. 13 overall seed in the NCAA tournament is 2-0 and will play at home tonight against either Indiana or Texas A&M. This is a hot team. Might be tough to beat them two straight in Austin. So far, Texas has hammered Texas Southern 10-0 and beat up A&M 8-3.

Texas A&M — The Aggies are 1-1 in the Austin Regional and will play this afternoon to stay alive against the Indiana Hoosiers. A&M needs a quality start to steady the team. Will it be freshman lefthander Asa Lacy from Kerrville Tivy?

Texas Southern — The Tigers were swept out of the tournament in Austin, losing 10-0 to Texas 6-0 to Indiana. Texas Southern is a program on the rise, having played in NCAA regionals at College Station in 2015, at Baton Rouge in 2017 and now in Austin, all under coach Michael Robertson.

Texas Tech — The Red Raiders are 2-0 and playing for the regional title tonight in their own Lubbock Regional. Kent State and Louisville will meet this afternoon to determine Tech’s opponent. Either way, the No. 9 national seeded Red Raiders appear to be in good shape after beating New Mexico State 9-2 on Friday and Louisville 10-4 on Saturday.

Baylor — The Big 12 tournament champions are 1-1 and facing long odds in the losers’ bracket at the Stanford Regional. They’ll play the host and No. 2 overall seed Cardinal this afternoon in an effort to stay alive. Baylor needs to beat Stanford and Cal State Fullerton twice to win the regional. The Bears lost to surprising Fullerton 6-2 on Friday and then bounced back to defeat Wright State, 11-5, on Saturday.

Houston — The Cougars are 1-1 and facing elimination Sunday afternoon against Purdue in the Chapel Hill Regional. Houston must win three straight to advance. It must beat the Boilermakers and the host North Carolina Tar Heels twice. Houston started fast in the regional, knocking off Purdue 9-2 on Friday. The Cougars hit two home runs in their second game but fell to the Tar Heels 4-3 on Saturday.

Dallas Baptist –The hard-hitting Patriots slammed Oral Roberts 18-9 on Saturday to even their record to 1-1 in the Fayetteville Regional. They’ll take on Southern Miss, the Conference USA champions, on Sunday afternoon. If Dallas Baptist can win, it would move into the championship round against host Arkansas Sunday night. One of the hidden gems in NCAA sports in Texas, Dallas Baptist has played in four NCAA regionals since 2011.

Clemens powers Texas past Texas A&M in NCAA regional

Kody Clemens set the tone with a three-run homer in the first inning, powering the Texas Longhorns past the in-state rival Texas A&M Aggies 8-3 Saturday night at the NCAA Austin Regional.

Clemens, the Big 12 Player of the Year, hit two homers on the day and produced four RBI.

With the victory, the Longhorns moved into Sunday night’s regional championship game at Disch-Falk Field against either Indiana or Texas A&M.

Indiana and A&M will play Sunday afternoon, with the winner earning a shot against Texas Sunday night. If either Indiana or A&M beat Texas, a deciding game would be played Monday at Disch-Falk.

Regardless of the opponent, the Longhorns appear to have a good shot at winning the tournament and advancing to the NCAA Super Regional round for the first time since 2014.

UT fans were into the game from the beginning as Clemens, a left-handed hitter, greeted A&M righty and starter Mitchell Kilkenny with a three-run homer over the right field wall in the first.

In the third, the Aggies of the Southeastern Conference rallied against UT pitcher Nolan Kingham to pull within 3-1 on an RBI bunt single from Michael Helman.

But the Big 12 regular-season champions would explode for two runs each in the fourth and the fifth innings and another in the sixth for an 8-1 lead.

DJ Petrinski hit a solo homer in the fourth and Clemens added a solo shot in the sixth.

It was Petrinski’s second home run in two nights and his eighth on the season. For Clemens, the son of former UT and major league star Roger Clemens, he increased his team-leading total to 21.

Pitching against a team with a .285 batting average, Kingham (8-3) worked effectively through 7 and 2/3 innings. He struck out eight and walked one. Kingham yielded nine hits and three runs, two of them earned.

Zach DeLoach and Logan Foster, who both had three hits in Texas A&M’s 10-3 victory Friday over Indiana, produced only one hit between them. Helman, Chris Andritsos and Will Frizzell had two hits apiece.

Kilkenny, the first of five A&M pitchers, lasted only four innings. Even though he worked out of trouble a few times, he gave up five runs on seven hits.

Records

Texas 39-20
Texas A&M 40-21

Notes

Officials announced a sellout crowd of 7,046 for UT and A&M, longtime intra-conference rivals in the Southwest Conference and the Big 12. A&M left the Big 12 and joined the SEC for the 2012-13 season.

Kilkenny (8-5) took the loss. Kingham (8-3) was credited with the win.

Earlier in the day Saturday, Indiana of the Big Ten stayed alive in the tournament with a 6-0 victory over Texas Southern. The loss eliminates the Tigers of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

UT’s NCAA Regional includes an old rival — Texas A&M

The possibility of a playoff game — or games — between the rival Texas Longhorns and Texas A&M Aggies loomed Monday as the NCAA baseball tournament’s 64-team bracket was unveiled.

Texas will host a regional starting Friday that will include A&M, Indiana and Texas Southern University.

On opening night in the double-elimination format, No. 2 seed Indiana will play third-seeded A&M at 4 p.m. and top-seeded Texas will play No. 4 Texas Southern at 8.

If the Longhorns and Aggies both win — or, if they both lose — they would play Saturday.

The tournament games will be held in Austin on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and, if necessary, also Monday, at the UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

Other teams from the state that made the tournament include Texas Tech, Baylor, Houston and Dallas Baptist.

Texas Tech is the only other program in the state that will host on opening weekend.

The TCU Horned Frogs, who have played in the past four College World Series, were left out of the 64-team field after they made it to the Big 12 tournament title game and lost to Baylor.

Sam Houston State and Rice were among other notable programs missing from the national bracket.

Last year, the Bearkats made a surprise run to the NCAA Lubbock Regional title and advanced to play Florida State in the Tallahassee Super Regional.

This year, they won the Southland Conference regular-season title but failed to win the SLC tournament.

Rice, under outgoing coach Wayne Graham, posted a losing record in the regular season and failed to win the Conference USA tournament title for the automatic bid.

Thus, Rice had its streak of 23 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances snapped. It was the third-longest streak in the nation.

In Austin, fans will get to see NCAA tournament baseball live for the first time since the Longhorns hosted a Super Regional in 2014.

It’s the first time Texas has hosted on the first weekend of the tournament since 2011.

Tournament time in Texas

Regional openers are set for Friday

Texas — No. 13 national seed, No. 1 regional seed, hosts in Austin and opens against Texas Southern

Texas Tech — No. 9 national seed, No. 1 regional seed, hosts in Lubbock and opens against New Mexico State

Baylor — No. 2 regional seed at Palo Alto, Calif., plays opening day against Cal State Fullerton

Texas A&M — No. 3 regional seed at Austin, opens with Indiana

Houston — No. 3 regional seed at Chapel Hill, N.C., opens with Purdue

Dallas Baptist — No. 3 regional seed at Fayetteville, Ark., opens with Southern Miss

Texas Southern — No. 4 regional seed at Austin, opens with Texas

Texas A&M pitching dominant again in 4-2 victory over Auburn

Texas A&M held on Thursday night for a 4-2 victory over the Auburn Tigers to remain undefeated at the Southeastern Conference tournament.

The Tigers scored once in the ninth against A&M closer Nolan Hoffman to pull within the eventual final score.

But with two runners on base, Hoffman got Luke Jarvis on a ground ball to end the game.

A&M starter John Doxakis (7-5) outdueled Auburn star Casey Mize (9-5) for the victory.

Doxakis, a lefty, carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning before yielding a couple of hits and a run.

Armed with a big curve ball, he struck out 10 and walked none.

Mize, projected as a possible No. 1 overall pick in the amateur draft next month, also worked into the eighth.

But he left the game after giving up four runs on eight hits.

Hoffman, a side-winding, righthander, pitched the final 1 and 2/3 and earned his 14th save.

Texas A&M is now 3-0 in Hoover with victories over Vanderbilt (3-1), Georgia (7-0) and Auburn in the past three days.

In an interview with the SEC Network, Doxakis shrugged off the feeling of coming so close and then falling short of the no hitter.

“All good things come to an end,” he told the SEC Network. “Everybody wants to throw a no-hitter but you know how hard it is.”

With the win, A&M advances to the tournament semifinals. The Aggies will play Saturday against either Auburn or Ole Miss.

The Aggies won the SEC tournament in 2016, and coach Rob Childress likes his team’s competitiveness this time around.

“I’m just proud of the way we play when we come to Hoover, for the most part,” Childress “You know, there’s a ring and a trophy on the line, and everybody’s being competitive.

“I know there’s an (NCAA) regional next week, but to stay in the moment and try to play our best this week is awfully important.”

Records

Texas A&M 39-19
Auburn 39-20

SEC baseball tournament

Thursday’s scores

Ole Miss 5, Georgia 4 (10 innings)
LSU 6, South Carolina 4 (12 innings)
Texas A&M 4, Auburn 2

Friday’s schedule

Florida vs. Arkansas, 10 a.m. (winners bracket)
Ole Miss vs. Auburn, 3 p.m. (elimination)
LSU vs. Florida-Arkansas loser, to follow (elimination)

Saturday’s schedule

(Semifinals)
Texas A&M vs. Auburn or Ole Miss, 2 p.m.
TBD, to follow


(Texas A&M right fielder Allonte Wingate robs Auburn of extra bases and possibly a home run with a leaping catch at the wall in the third inning.)