Super Hogs! Arkansas Wins Stillwater Regional, Punches Ticket to Chapel Hill Super Regional
STILLWATER, Okla. – Super Hogs!
No. 2 seed Arkansas (41-19) downed host and No. 1 seed Oklahoma State (42-22), 7-3, on Monday night in the NCAA Stillwater Regional final to punch its ticket to its fourth consecutive super regional and for the 10th time in program history.
The Razorbacks will now head to the Chapel Hill Super Regional to play a best-of-three-game series at UNC beginning Friday, June 10, or Saturday, June 11, at Boshamer Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C. Game dates and times for the super regionals will be announced tomorrow.
SUPER HOGS! pic.twitter.com/ndz8J3hn2i
— Arkansas Baseball (@RazorbackBSB) June 7, 2022
The final game of the Stillwater Regional, which set NCAA records for most runs (148) and most home runs (41) at a postseason site, came down to pitching. Arkansas gave the ball to left-hander Zack Morris, and he was superb in his first career start.
The Cabot, Ark., native twirled 3 1/3 scoreless innings with four strikeouts, allowing the Hogs to take the game’s first lead in the top of the fourth. Arkansas put up four runs in the frame, beginning with Brady Slavens’ leadoff home run to left center.
Jalen Battles then delivered a two-run RBI single with two outs before Peyton Stovall came up clutch with an RBI single of his own. In the blink of an eye, the Hogs had opened a 4-0 lead and silenced the crowd at O’Brate Stadium.
Kole Ramage (2.2 IP, 5 SO) and Zebulon Vermillion (1.0 IP) were the first two arms to emerge from the bullpen on Monday night and combined for 3 2/3 innings of three-run ball with five strikeouts, providing valuable innings of relief before Arkansas went to true freshman Hagen Smith in the bottom of the eighth.
With the Hogs ahead by two, Smith was called on to close out the game and preserve the victory. Oklahoma State loaded the bases with one out, but the left-hander bounced back by striking out the next two batters faced to eliminate the threat.
Michael Turner, named the Stillwater Regional’s Most Outstanding Player, delivered yet another clutch base knock in the top of the ninth. His two-out, two-RBI double to right extended the Razorbacks’ lead to 7-3 and gave Smith a comfortable cushion to record the final three outs.
Smith did exactly that, retiring the side in order and striking out the final two batters he faced to earn his first career save and send Arkansas to the super regional round for the fourth time in as many postseasons.
Five Razorbacks made the 2022 NCAA Baseball Stillwater Regional All-Tournament Team, including Turner. He was joined on the all-regional team by Stovall (first base), Cayden Wallace (third base), Battles (shortstop) and Connor Noland (pitcher).
Turner, who went 1-for-4 with a double and two runs batted in on Monday night, slashed .444/.545/.833 with two homers and and team-leading 11 RBI over four games in the Stillwater Regional.