WACO, Texas - In the Texas heat, Baylor's dreams of a College World Series melted Sunday with a ninth inning collapse that kept Arkansas' season alive for another day.
The Razorbacks scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning when Jimmy Bosco and John Clay Reeves were hit by pitches in consecutive at-bats, and Arkansas overcame another brilliant starting pitching performance to beat the Bears 5-4 at Baylor Ballpark.
The two teams will meet in a winner-take-all Game 3 of the NCAA Waco Super Regional on Monday at 6 p.m.
"We're still here," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "Who would have thought it about three weeks ago when we weren't playing very well?
"It has been a little bit of a roller coaster, and they have weathered it. Like the guys said, they weren't ready to go home...They have been working hard from the day they walked in here and they are not ready to quit yet."
Arkansas (43-20) got plenty of help from the opposition in its rally, deflating the home crowd of 5,038 on-hand hoping to see the Bears punch their first trip to Omaha since 2005.
It started when Baylor shortstop Jake Miller misplayed what likely would have been a game-ending double play ball to load the bases.
"I knew it was hit hard," Van Horn said. "Once he got to it, I thought the game was over."
The error set the table for Bosco and Reeves - a pinch-hitter and a catcher playing with a cut hand, starting his first game in weeks.
Bosco looked to have struck out on a 1-2 fastball in his at-bat, but fouled it off Baylor catcher Josh Ludy. He was hit by reliever Max Garner two pitches later to tie the game, and Reeves, who was almost pinch-hit for, was hit in the first pitch from reliever Crayton Bare to win it.
Matt Reynolds led off the inning with a full-count walk and Brian Anderson delivered a 1-2 single with one out in the frame.
"In my mind it's not about one inning," Baylor coach Steve Smith said. "It's about the whole game. They played a little better than we did today.
"It is sometimes a shame in our game that a mistake made at a certain time gets more attention than others that are made throughout the ballgame, and clearly that is the case today."
The meltdown took away from a terrific pitching performance from Bears starter Josh Turley, who overcame a rough start to retire 13 consecutive Arkansas batters before taking a seat after seven innings.
Baylor (49-16) had a chance to give its pitcher added run support in the top of the eighth, loading the bases with no outs in the inning. But Arkansas reliever Barrett Astin struck out Cal Towey before Tim Carver and Bo Bigham turned a double play on a grounder from Lawton Langford to get out of the jam.
"We just felt like when we turned that double play we were going to win the game," Van Horn said. "That was two seniors who had been there before and they made a big play."
The Bears stranded another runner in scoring position in the top of the ninth when Trent Daniel struck out Logan Vick on a 3-2 fastball. Daniel, who faced only one batter, picked up the win for the Razorbacks.
Arkansas started off well, taking a 1-0 lead on Reynolds' sacrifice fly to score Joe Serrano in the first inning. Serrano tripled in the previous at-bat.
Serrano, Reynolds and Dominic Ficociello combined to go 4-for-10 in Arkansas' 2-3-4 holes in the lineup, finishing with three RBIs and four runs scored.
"We came into today with our backs against the wall," Reynolds said. "We had to lay it on the line.
"We've got that same mentality tomorrow."
Arkansas looked to keep the lead at 1-0 when Matt Vinson threw out a Baylor runner at home plate for the second out of the third, but Max Muncy responded with a two-out single to score Vick and tie the game, 1-1.
The Razorbacks took the lead again in the bottom of the third with three consecutive two-out hits. Serrano and Reynolds scored on Ficociello's two-out double to give Arkansas a 3-1 lead.
But true to its reputation throughout the season, the Bears battled back with hot bats. Baylor chased Arkansas starter Ryne Stanek in the top of the fifth inning after a leadoff walk by Adam Toth.
Vick, Ludy and Muncy all had RBIs in the inning after Baylor eventually loaded the bases against Arkansas reliever Brandon Moore.
Like DJ Baxendale in a Game 1 loss Saturday, Stanek only lasted four innings on the mound for the Razorbacks. He finished the game allowing two runs, striking out four and walking four.
Arkansas didn't put a runner on base from the third inning until the eighth, when Carver reached on a single, but the Razorbacks fell victim to an inning-ending double play when Serrano struck out and Carver was caught stealing at second.
The win was the sixth this season for Arkansas in the final at-bat and first since a 6-5 win over Louisiana Tech in North Little Rock on May 15.
Arkansas 5, Baylor 4
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