Texas-Sized Blowout

AUSTIN, Texas — Don't make plans for Oxford, Miss., just yet.

Top-seeded Texas hammered No. 2 Arkansas 19-8 Sunday to force a winner-take-all championship game of the NCAA Austin Regional at 1 p.m. today at Disch-Falk Field.

Today's winner will advance to the Super Regionals and face Ole Miss in Oxford for a best-of-three series beginning on Friday. The Rebels took care of business Sunday by beating Oklahoma in their regional championship.

The Razorbacks (39-21) entered Sunday in the driver's seat for a trip to Oxford since they had yet to lose in the double-elimination regional.

"We were getting whipped pretty good after about three innings, but we kept playing hard," said Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn. "I know in our players minds, they probably knew pretty early that we weren't going to win the game, but you couldn't tell it by looking around the dugout or the way the acted on the field or at the plate.

"We kept competing and that makes me feel pretty good about (today's) game."

Texas (48-15) entered the day needing three straight wins to stay alive and took the first two steps in that direction with the win against Arkansas and a 12-5 win earlier Sunday to eliminate Miami (Ohio).

Texas coach Augie Garrido pointed out Saturday night that there's always a few teams that come out of the loser's bracket to win regionals and said during the postgame press conference that, "It might as well be us."

Apparently, he got the point across to his team as well as the 4,881 fans in attendance had plenty to cheer about since Texas put up more runs (19) and more hits (21) than any other Razorbacks' opponent this season.

It was the most runs Arkansas has allowed since 2000. "When you're facing elimination like that, if you think about losing and being eliminated, you're not going to play well," said Texas shortstop Scott Johnston, who was 3-for-6 with 6 runs batted in. "You also can't think about the next game or the game after that ... But when you get those early runs, it really helps out."

The Longhorns' took a Texas-sized lead (9-1 after three innings) by lighting up Hogs starting pitcher Shaun Seibert, a freshman making his first appearance in three weeks since suffering an elbow injury.

After giving up an RBI single to Chance Wheeless in the first, Seibert (5-3) lost command of his breaking ball and it turned into a six-run inning (it lasted 27 minutes) for the Longhorns. The big hit was a three-run triple by Johnston off James Gilbert, who relieved Seibert with two outs in the inning.

"(Seibert) was out there pitching kind of intimidated," said Arkansas pitching coach Dave Jorn. "He was trying to guide his pitches up there and wasn't being aggressive.

"You can't pitch like that."

Texas received a gallant effort from starter Randy Boone, a right-hander who needed IVs to replenish his body's fluids after suffering from a stomach illness Saturday night. He lasted 6 1/3 innings and allowed seven earned runs on nine hits while striking out six.

"I take my hat off to Arkansas," Boone said. "When I made mistakes, they hit them, but our defense played well and our offense came out and threw up so many runs early that it took the pressure off of me."

Arkansas finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second when Jake Dugger doubled off the left-field wall to start the inning. Two batters later, Clay Goodwin hit a sacrifice fly to left to make it 7-1.

But Texas added two more runs in the third to extend the lead before the Razorbacks combined for three runs in the fourth and fifth innings (Dugger hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth while Brian Walker hit solo homer and Ben Tschepikow hit an RBI double in the fifth) to cut the deficit to 9-3.

The six-run deficit was as close as the Hogs would get as Texas continued its offensive onslaught late. It put up four runs in the sixth, two more in the seventh and four in the eighth to take a commanding 19-7 lead.

Arkansas did push a run across with two outs in the sixth when Brock Bond lined an RBI single up the middle. Seniors Clay Goodwin and Scott Hode each drove in a run in the seventh and Tschepikow plated another run in the eighth.

It was the third straight game the Hogs have put up eight runs or more as all nine starters recorded at least one hit.

"I felt that offensively, we did a good job," Van Horn said. "We did a good job swinging the bats and we hit the ball right at them several times pretty hard.

"We put together some decent innings and maybe in a normal game, we're right there in it."

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