For the second season in a row, the Razorbacks watched their baseball season come to crashing halt at the hands of the Cowboys on Sunday. And in a case of deja vu, Oklahoma State pulled the trick by the slimmest of margins yet again, holding off an Arkansas rally for a 7-6 win to claim victory at the NCAA Fayetteville Regional at Baum Stadium.
A year ago, it was Oklahoma State which dashed Arkansas' College World Series hopes with a 6-5 heartbreaker at Baum. On Sunday, in front of 8,128 fans, the Cowboys haunted the Diamond Hogs once again, improving to 5-0 all-time against Arkansas in NCAA play.
"First of all, congratulations to Oklahoma State," Razorbacks coach Dave Van Horn said. "They had a solid tournament, had good pitching, solid defense for the most part, and I'm sure they'll do well in the super regional.
"I was proud of our guys. We've been here since 10:30 this morning, we played a good first game and took I thought we played extremely well. We made a few mistakes, gave up a few homers but I told our guys to keep their heads up. I told them I was proud of them, but tip your hats to Oklahoma State. They came over here and got it done."
After cruising past Creighton, 6-0, in the Sunday afternoon elimination game, Arkansas (43-21) was forced to use a bullpen-by-committee pitching staff against the Cowboys. And at first, the plan seemed to be working as senior Chris Rhoads shut down Oklahoma State's potent offense through the first two innings.
But as the Razorbacks have learned, you can't keep the Cowboys' offense down for long. On Sunday, it was the long ball that did Arkansas in as Oklahoma State used a pair of two-out, three-run home runs to power its way past the Diamond Hogs.
The first, a towering shot off the bat of Corey Brown over the Baum Stadium scoreboard, gave the Cowboys (41-19) a 3-2 lead in the top of the third. Then, in the fifth, Ty Wright belted another three-run shot to put Oklahoma State up for good, 6-4.
"That's just baseball," Wright said. "That's just the luck of the draw and sometimes you're going to do things you don't even know you're capable of doing.
"We were just out there competing and trying to get runners over. And once we got runners on, those two out hits were big."
Much like in the past against the Cowboys, Arkansas refused to go quietly. Thanks to an RBI double from Brian Walker and an RBI single from Jacob Julius, the Razorbacks trimmed their deficit to 7-6 in the bottom of the eighth.
Then in the ninth, Casey Coon managed a two-out single to set up one final Jeff Nutt at-bat with the season on the line.
But instead of more heroics, it was more of the same against Oklahoma State as Nutt went down swinging, ending Arkansas' season well short of Omaha for the third year in a row.
"We battled," Van Horn said. "You know, there's no quit in the dugout and we thought we were going to win until the last out when Jeff struck out. It wouldn't have surprised me if he had hit the ball out of the park.
"That's just the way we are. You work hard all fall and get up and lift and you just think it's going to pay off. But that's just the way the game works."
No More Cowboys, Please!
Arkansas continued it's bad luck streak against Oklahoma State in NCAA Regional play. The Razorbacks are now 0-5 all-time against the Cowboys in the NCAA's, including an 0-3 record in the past two years.
May 28, 1988 — L, 13-7 (at Stillwater, Okla.)
May 23, 1996 — L, 6-5 (at Lubbock, Texas)
June 4, 2006 — L, 6-5 (at Fayetteville, Ark.)
June 2, 2007 — L, 14-3 (at Fayetteville, Ark.)
June 3, 2007 — L, 7-6 (at Fayetteville, Ark.)
Razorbacks Done In By Oklahoma State Again
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