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Van Horn relieved; South Carolina awaits Hogs this weekend

by Tom Murphy | June 5, 2018 at 4:30 a.m.
Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn, right, talks with home plate umpire Linus Baker during an NCAA Tournament game against Dallas Baptist on Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- The last team to beat the No. 6 Arkansas Razorbacks at Baum Stadium nearly two months ago is the only team keeping Coach Dave Van Horn's club from turning into Omahogs again.

SEC foe South Carolina earned its way into an NCAA Super Regional in Fayetteville this weekend with an 8-4 victory over North Carolina-Wilmington on Monday afternoon. The teams will play a three-game series on days and times to be determined today with the winner advancing to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., next week.

The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (42-18) swept three games from Oral Roberts, Southern Mississippi and Dallas Baptist by a combined 24-5 to win its home regional, capped by Sunday's 4-3 squeaker against the Patriots.

Van Horn said there was a strong feeling of relief for his national No. 5 seed Razorbacks to survive the upset bid of Dallas Baptist after his team posted back-to-back 10-2 routs earlier in the regional.

"You always have a little bit of relief because there is a little more pressure when you're a seed, you're at home, expectations," Van Horn said. "A lot of it may be more self-inflicted, but I'm just excited that we played well because that's all I tell the guys every week. 'I just want you to play well. If we play well and lose, we can live with it.'

"But if we don't play well and we lose, then you wonder why. We played pretty well, so it was a good weekend. We're going to try to keep this week exactly like the weeks that we've had in league play because now we have a three-game series."

That meant a weight-lifting session Monday and some live pitching and hitting by players who got little or no action over the weekend.

The Gamecocks (36-24) are the only opponent to win the opening game of a weekend series at Baum Stadium this year, winning 3-2 on April 12 in a game in which Arkansas ace Blaine Knight was pulled after 70 pitches through four innings with a 2-1 lead. Carlos Cortes hit a two-run home run against Barrett Loseke in the next inning and the Razorbacks could not score in the final six innings against Logan Chapman, Sawyer Bridges and Eddy Demurias.

Arkansas won the series with seven-inning shutouts two days later by the scores of 2-0 and 3-0 behind Kacey Murphy and Isaiah Campbell.

The Razorbacks also defeated South Carolina 13-8 in the late game of the second round of the SEC Tournament.

South Carolina Coach Mark Kingston spoke about facing the Razorbacks after Monday's regional victory.

"Well, there won't be any mysteries or secrets," Kingston said. "They know us and we know them. It's going to be about playing the best baseball and who makes the most pitches.

"We don't expect it to be easy, but nothing's been easy for us all year. We'll go in there and give it our best shot. Whoever makes the most pitches, gets the most big hits and plays the best defense, that's who will win."

South Carolina swept three games at the Greenville (N.C.) Regional, including a 4-2 victory in Monday's clincher over host and No. 12 national seed East Carolina.

The Razorbacks fought through multiple bouts of adversity and made key plays to fend off Dallas Baptist on Sunday to move to 8-10 in one-run games this season. Arkansas won its first game without the aid of a home run since a 3-1 victory over Texas A&M on May 12, eight victories ago.

The Razorbacks will enter the super regional with 90 home runs, two shy of the school record of 92 hit in 2010.

Six Razorbacks were named to the all-regional team, which was headlined by Dallas Baptist's Devlin Granberg, who batted .667 (12 of 18) in the regional.

Pitcher Kacey Murphy joined first-team All-America Nick Sandlin of Southern Miss as the only pitchers on the team. First baseman Jared Gates (.455, 5 runs, 1 double), second baseman Carson Shaddy (.400, 1 HR, 5 RBI), third baseman Casey Martin (.231, 1 double), and outfielders Kjerstad (.500, 1 HR, 5 RBI) and Dominic Fletcher (.385, 1 double) were voted to the 11-member team.

Sports on 06/05/2018

NCAA Fayetteville Regional results

Game 1: Arkansas 10, Oral Roberts 2

Game 2: Southern Miss 9, Dallas Baptist 0

Game 3: Dallas Baptist 18, Oral Roberts 9

Game 4: Arkansas 10, Southern Miss 2

Game 5: Dallas Baptist 9, Southern Miss 4

Game 6: Arkansas 4, Dallas Baptist 3

NCAA Fayetteville All-Regional team

Pitcher Kacey Murphy, Arkansas

Pitcher Nick Sandlin, Southern Mississippi

Catcher Riley Keizor, Oral Roberts

First Base Jared Gates, Arkansas

Second Base Carson Shaddy, Arkansas

Third Base Casey Martin, Arkansas

Shortstop Jimmy Glowenke, Dallas Baptist

Outfield Devlin Granberg, Dallas Baptist

Outfield Heston Kjerstad, Arkansas

Outfield Dominic Fletcher, Arkansas

Designated Hitter Daniel Keating, Southern Mississippi


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