By:Jamie Varnell & Carlos Chicas
Dave Van Horn summed it up best when he said postgame, this is probably how it is supposed to be, one game, winner take all.” after the Razorbacks fell just short on Sunday in regional play. It was the first loss in NCAA tournament play for the Hogs, who now must win on Monday to advance Omaha.
In reality, the 8-5 loss came down to one swing in the 5th inning, when LT Taylor hit a grand slam to left field off reliever Jake Reindl. Arkansas made a solid effort to come back, with home runs from Carson Shaddy and Heston Kjerstad. Both teams had 10 hits, but it was the 5th inning, where South Carolina scored 5 runs on only 3 hits that were the difference.
Starter Kacey Murphy was not as sharp as his last performance, going 4.1 innings, and Jake Reindl never recorded an out in the game. The strike zone was hard to find, and as Van Horn made a change, he and the 11, 481 fans on hand let the officiating crew know. Postgame, players nor coaches would address the issue, but it was certainly the elephant in the room.
The good news, Arkansas has several arms that can go in the final game, likely with Isaiah Campbell getting the start. Reindl will be available as will Matt Cronin among others. It will be a late Monday start, with a 6 PM first pitch at Baum as the Hogs look to win one more and advance to the College World Series.