In Omaha, Neb., three wins is all it takes to make the national title game. Two losses is all it takes to go back home.
The Arkansas baseball team has one of the former and none of the latter thus far. In other words, the Diamond Hogs are sitting pretty heading into Tuesday night. Arkansas will get Texas Tech for a second time this year at 6 p.m. CT in the second round of the College World Series.
If you’re nervous as an Arkansas fan, you’re about the only one. The Razorbacks have looked like the best team in Omaha since they arrived. Even dating back to the super regionals, it’s hard to say a single other squad is playing as well as Arkansas. Combine that with the fact that talent-wise, the Diamond Hogs are no worse than third-best at the CWS, and they have all the confidence in the world.
There’s no reason not to, either, especially considering Arkansas has already beaten the Red Raiders 5-1 in an April nonconference game. Granted, it was a midweek contest, so Tech wasn’t throwing its best batch of pitchers. But Arkansas used a wholesome bullpen effort to keep a national seed to just a single run. And that wasn’t catching Texas Tech in a rough patch, either.
Dave Van Horn is going with left-hander Kacey Murphy on Tuesday night. The control specialist is more than a simple innings-eater. Murphy may have been the best pitcher on the roster during SEC play this year. A single bad start — last time out, coincidentally — is the only blemish on his docket the whole year. If Murphy throws his usual stuff, figure a 7-inning, 4-strikeout, 5-hit, 1-walk type night.
In theory, that should be enough for Arkansas’ lineup, which sent 10 guys to the plate before recording a single out in the sixth inning in its CWS opener against Texas on Sunday. That, however, is rare. Expecting that precise performance again is folly. Still, Arkansas’ lineup is one with few holes. Texas Tech will be hard-pressed to keep it down.
If the Diamond Hogs pull out the win, they can sit back and watch until Friday, awaiting the losers’ bracket winner which would emerge out of Texas, Florida and Texas Tech. If Arkansas loses to Tech on Tuesday, though, then the Razorbacks have to fight through that bottom half. They would get the winner Texas-Florida in an elimination game Thursday.
Arkansas baseball vs. Texas Tech game information
Date/time: Tuesday, June 18 — 6 p.m. CT
How can I watch?
The game will be televised on ESPN.
Who is calling the Arkansas games?
Phil Elson and Bubba Carpenter will provide the radio broadcasts on the Razorback Sports Network from IMG.
If Arkansas wins, the Razorbacks are just one more win shy of a spot in the College World Series championship. They would meet the winner of Texas Tech versus Florida/Texas winner later in the week. If Arkansas loses, the Razorbacks are a loss away from elimination. They would face the winner of the Florida/Texas game later in the week.