Arkansas One Win From College World Series

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The rest of the Razorbacks had gone to grab fast food, looking to kill time during the last of Friday's three rain delays. But Mike Bolsinger didn't join them.

Instead, Arkansas' junior right-hander retreated to his hotel room. And while his teammates munched on burgers and fries, Bolsinger sat in his room alone, thinking about Florida State's talented hitters, plotting about his relief effort to come.

"The lights were off, and I was just chilling in my room," Bolsinger said. "I couldn't go eat."

Focus like that has defined Arkansas' recent run through the postseason, and acting accordingly, Bolsinger provided the spark for its 7-2 Super Regional victory at Florida State. Bolsinger spent the 4-hour, 22-minute delay mentally concentrating for his appearance, and his preparation appeared valuable.

Bolsinger tossed five shutout innings, allowing only four hits, striking out six and leading the Razorbacks to within one win of their first College World Series berth since 2004. His effort was part of yet another instance of Arkansas (38-22) "finding a way to win," as coach Dave Van Horn so often has described lately.

Friday's contest took 9 hours, 9 minutes to finish, and the teams will be back at Dick Howser Stadium for an 11 a.m. game today. Arkansas gets two chances — once today, once Sunday — to advance to Omaha.

"It's been a long day," Van Horn said. "I forgot the first four innings of the game. It seemed so long ago. I thought our players did a good job of coming back and finding a way to win. We didn't do a whole lot offensively. We just scored some runs. Mike did a super job of getting out of some jams."

"I'm just proud of our team for hanging in there on the road."

Florida State (45-17) slugged 10 hits; Arkansas smacked only five. The Razorbacks, however, silenced a smaller-than-expected crowd of 3,784 — likely weather-related — buoyed by Bolsinger's dominant pitching and patience at the plate.

After letting one of Dallas Keuchel's runners score in the fifth, tying the game at 2, Bolsinger frustrated the Seminoles with glove-popping fastballs and hard-breaking sliders. He and Keuchel combined to strand 14 runners, further maddening Florida State.

"We couldn't get anything going," FSU outfielder Tyler Holt said. "(Bolsinger) worked his offspeed really well and kept us off balance. He threw it a majority of the time and once you started looking slider, he'd throw a fastball by you."

Florida State coach Mike Martin kept waiting and waiting for a game-changing hit. It never came.

"Funny how the game is," Martin said. "I kept thinking we needed one (clutch hit). We kept looking for someone to give us that lift. But you have to credit Arkansas. Their pitchers didn't give us a chance to get that big hit."

Meanwhile, the Seminoles' pitchers didn't make Arkansas earn its go-ahead runs. The Razorbacks patiently watched FSU reliever Geoff Parker implode in the seventh, and they tallied three runs in the inning without a hit.

Andy Wilkins and Bo Bigham walked. Parker plunked Zack Cox, then walked Brett Eibner to bring in the first run. James McCann's sacrifice fly and Collin Kuhn's squeeze bunt gave Arkansas the last two.

The victory was so reminiscent of other Razorback wins this season, and Van Horn said he hoped his team could maintain the focus that got Arkansas to this point.

"We're not talking about being one win (from Omaha)," Van Horn said. "We're just going to play. It's just another game. That's the way you have to approach it."

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