Razorback Rally

Arkansas freshman second baseman James Ewing breaks up a no-hitter with a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double that lifts the Razorbacks over Princeton 6-2 Saturday afternoon in an NCAA Regional loser's bracket game and into a Sunday 2 p.m. game with Oklahoma State.

Both Arkansas' bats and fans were very quiet at Baum Stadium for the first seven innings of Saturday's elimination game against Princeton.

Having a no-hitter thrown at you will tend to do that.

But James Ewing's bases-loaded, bases-clearing double in the top of the eighth changed all that and sparked the Razorbacks to a 6-2 NCAA Regional Tournament win over the Tigers before 5,714 fans to allow the host school to live another day.

"I was just trying to sit back, relax and put the ball in play and score some runs," Ewing said of his hit for the Razorbacks, who were actually the visitors on the scoreboard. "I wasn't trying to put pressure on myself and I just tried to put a good swing on the ball and I ended up coming up with the big hit."

Ewing's hit was the first and only hit allowed on the day by Princeton starter Christian Staehley (5-2), who was done in by issuing two of his five walks in the eighth, a misplayed sacrifice bunt and Ewing's rope up the gap.

"I was tired," said Staehley, who had not pitched before a crowd of over 700 this season. "Playing in this atmosphere is different for me. I let the crowd get to me a little bit. I was disappointed in that. Until the eighth inning I felt really good. I felt like I had my best stuff today. This was a great learning experience for me."

It was atonement for Ewing, whose 11th-inning error on Friday night led to the eventual winning run for ORU in its 4-3 win over Arkansas.

"What a great job by the kid of just hanging in there and making a play and coming up with a big hit," Van Horn said.

The Razorbacks (39-20) would add runs later in the eighth on Brian Walker's double and Chris Hollensworth's single off reliever Brad Gremberling and then Ewing doubled and scored on an error in the ninth.

"I thought it was just a well-played game and we just found a way to get through it and win it," Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. "We were just trying to stay calm when we were down and were just trying to win the game."

Arkansas will play Oklahoma State in a 2 p.m. contest Sunday and wil have to win two games on Sunday and another on Monday night at 7 p.m. to be able to win the regional and advance on to the Super Regionals.

The one thing the Razorbacks can count on is having a large crowd, albeit Saturday's crowd was not as big as Friday's.

"We just tried to stay positive and we think our crowd kind of got our players motivated," Van Horn said.

The Razorbacks got a tremendous outing from Sean Seibert, who kept it a scoreless tie into the seventh before allowing Spencer Lucian's two-run blast and leaving to a standing ovation from the Arkansas crowd.

"I knew I hit it hard," said Lucian, whose blast just eluded the grasp of leaping left fielder Jake Duggar. "I thought it had a chance or would at least hit the wall. When the crowd got quiet, that's when it registered for me that it was gone. At the time, those two runs looked pretty huge."

Brian McClelland (4-1) relieved at that point, finished up by pitching hitless ball over the last three innings and got the win by retiring eight of the 11 batters while throwing in a double play and a walk and one runner reaching on an error.

Arkansas then rallied when Stahley walked ninth-place hitter Matt Willard and leadoff man Craig Gentry to open the eighth inning and the bases suddenly were loaded when Duggar's sacrifice bunt was misplayed.

Ewing then drilled an 0-1 pitch up the right center field gap plating Willard, Gentry and Duggar who was right behind Gentry as they circled the bases and came in to score.

Seibert gave up seven hits in the start, fanned six and walked one

"I don't think I had my best command of the season," Seibert said. "...But I just tried to go out there and compete hard." Princeton (19-27-1), who had a stretch where it went 1-15-1 before closing strong, saw its season end despite out-hitting Arkansas 7-5 in the contest.

Princeton head coach Scott Bradley, the former major league who caught a no-hitter by Randy Johnson when both were with Seattle, was understandably disappointed with the turn of events.

"Obviously we we're very disappointed, but also very proud of where we are," Bradley said. "This is our kids' dream to come to a place like this and play before 7,000 people. I'm so proud of our guys."



UA catcher Brian Walker surveys the scene.



Razorback second baseman James Ewing makes a play in short right.



Matt Willard is hit by a pitch that started the eighth-inning Arkansas rally.



Arkansas players celebrate after the final out of their 6-2 win over Princeton on Saturday afternoon.


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