The Razorbacks (44-20) will begin play at the 2012 College World Series this weekend against Kent State after a dramatic finale against No. 4 Baylor to end the NCAA Waco Super Regional.
The Hogs dropped the first game against No. 4 Baylor 8-1 on Saturday, but bounced back Sunday with a 5-4 walk off win to force Monday’s series tiebreaker.
Sophomore catcher Jake Wise entered the scoreless finale in the eighth inning, and his only hit in the 10th inning advanced freshman Brian Anderson home, giving the Hogs the only run they needed to clench the win and advance to Omaha.
The trip to Omaha will be the Razorback’s seventh College World Series appearance and first since 2009.
The Razorbacks weren’t the only ones with a nail-biting Super Regional closer.
A single by senior infielder Jimmy Rider sent sophomore Derek Toadvine home, allowing Kent State to break the tie in the bottom of the ninth and take a 3-2 victory over Oregon in the NCAA Super Regional.
Toadvine led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on Evan Campbell’s bunt. Rider’s fly ball landed near the left field line and paved Toadvine’s path to home plate.
The trip to Omaha is Kent State’s first in program history.
Continuing into the post-season, Arkansas is led by junior third baseman Matt Reynolds with a .338 hitting average on 75 hits. He has hit seven home runs this season and has 43 RBI.
Sophomore first baseman Dominic Ficociello falls right next to Reynolds, swinging a .301 average with 72 hits, including six home runs and 40 RBI.
The Golden Flashes have five players hitting above a .300 average, including junior infielder George Roberts and Rider.
Roberts is leading the Golden Flashes so far this season with a .368 batting average and 93 hits. He has hit eight home runs and has 64 RBI.
Rider is hitting .364 with 103 hits and 5 home runs with 56 RBI.
Neither team has announced starting pitchers, but Arkansas opened with junior right-hander DJ Baxendale in the Super Regional series opener, right-handed sophomore Ryne Stanek in game two and left-handed junior Randall Fant in the finale.
Senior left-hander David Starn (11-3), right-handed junior Ryan Bores (9-3) and sophomore right-hander Tyler Skulina began each game, respectively, for Kent State last weekend in the Golden Flashes’ Super Regional series against Oregon.
The College World Series will be played June 15-26 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.
Arkansas and Kent State will begin play at the College World Series on Saturday, June 16, at 4 p.m.
- Aaron Pryor