STILLWATER, Oklahoma. – Arkansas scored eight runs at the top of the eighth inning to complete a five-stroke run, and the Razorbacks shocked Oklahoma State with a 20-12 victory Saturday night at Opera Arena.
Arkansas (40-18) is advanced to the NCAA Stillwater Regional Championships, where it plays Oklahoma State or Missouri State on Sunday at 6 p.m., and the Razorbacks have two chances to score one win that would send them to the major regional tour.
Oklahoma State (40-21) will play Missouri State (31-28) in the elimination game Sunday afternoon. Either of these two teams must win three matches in two days to win the regional tournament.
Missouri State saved its season by overcoming a six-game deficit in the last two rounds to defeat the Grand Canyon 8-7 earlier in the day.
Arkansas scored a season-high with seven runs, including a Grand Slam by Galen Battles on first court from loyal Trevor Martin to swing the top of the eighth inning, which saw the Razorback go from a 10-8 delay to a 16-10 lead.
The Battles run at home sent many orange-clad OSU fans to the exits as hundreds in red fired at Hogs.
Before Battles reached the plate, the Arkansas put seven contestants into the base with just one hit, a song from Peyton Stovall.
Zach Gregory and Brydon Webb were both battered by the stadiums before Roman Vansalcar, who was closer to Nolan McClain, captain of the Cowboys III, was replaced. MacLean hit the Brady Slavins for the first time, but marched past Kayden Wallace and Michael Turner in back-to-back strikes to tie the match 10-10.
McClain then fired in Chris Lanzelli to give the Razorbacks an 11-10 lead. Robert Moore also charted a rule-laden rally to force the home run again and another change of pitch, from McClain to Martin.
Arkansas handled four more runs in the ninth inning. Lanzelli hit three home runs – the fiftieth of his career – before Moore scored a foul that followed Peyton Stovall’s singles win.
The Razorbacks have tied 20 times in their second-most NCAA post-season game, one shy of the record 21 innings in a superb regional victory over North Carolina last year.
Arkansas trailed Oklahoma State by five runs on multiple occasions, including 10-5 after the Cowboys scored three runs against Zach Morris and Cole Ramage in the bottom of the sixth inning.
The Razorbacks cut OSU’s lead to 10-8 at the top of seventh place on a pair of out-of-home runs by Turner and Moore.
After Jake Thompson advanced from the bottom of seventh by two goals against Zebulon Vermillion, Arkansas called up nearest Brady Tiggart to keep the match close. Tygart walked a pair of rackets to load the bases, but Chase Adkison walked out to Moore at second base to chop the loaded bases.
The Cowboys scored two goals against Tiggart at the bottom of eighth place. Kayden Trinkle walked and Zach Erhard hit a court before Brett Brown scored both with one stroke.
Will McEntire replaced Tygart and brought about a final exit from David Mendham. McIntyre retired from the four hitters he faced to close out the match.
Arkansas played from behind for most of the game after the Cowboys scored five runs at the bottom of third to lead 7-2.
McClain set up a double at home to a center-left field against loyalist Evan Taylor to give the Cowboys a 4-2 lead. Taylor allowed two primary runners to go before being replaced by Morris with one in the inning. Morris suspended his first pitch to Roc Regio, who drove the broken ball over the right field fence to put Usu ahead with a 7-2 score.
Arkansas made its first attempt at a comeback in the middle roles. Wallace led the fourth inning with the third inning of the game at home by the Razorbacks, and Turner’s second-half single in the fifth inning cut the Cowboys’ lead to 7-5.
Turner, Lanzilli, Moore and Battles all had 4 RBI for the Razorbacks.
And it looked like Arkansas would take a bigger lead in sixth after Battles scored one goal and Stoval hit one on one in a row. With the runners on the corners, Webb drove a two-out liner caught during a running dive by quarterback Trinkle to steal the Razorbacks from at least one run.
Arkansas did well against Ohio State University’s Justin Campbell, which allowed 5 runs and 7 strokes in 5 innings. But the Razorbacks didn’t get a good start from left rookie Hagen Smith, whose start was 1/3 in his shortest time of the year.
Smith worked a 38-court first inning which ended when Marcus Brown bumped into a third base player pick with base loading.
Smith was removed from 46 pitches, 22 of which were on strike.
Slavins and Moore hit singles kicks in the first and second innings to give Arkansas the lead.
OSU answered both at the bottom of the inning. Reggio walked and advanced onto the field and scored a foul by third baseman Wallace to tie the game 1-1 at the bottom of the first.
Reggio doubled against Taylor in the second half to score for Adkison, who advanced with a walk against Smith.