Do or die: Ole Miss vs Arkansas
In the most dramatic game yet in the 2022 College World Series, the Arkansas Razorbacks live to fight another day, in a 3-2 defeat of the Ole Miss Rebels
Just call him the fireman. Arkansas Razorbacks sophomore Zack Morris came into the game with the house on fire, and he stomped it out.
The Hogs were cruising with a 3-1 lead coming into ninth inning, but things are never so simple when you are facing the Ole Miss Rebels.
After being the last team to get into the NCAA tournament, the Rebels have shown why their national number one ranking earlier in the season was no fluke. They have steamed through all competition, coming into the second game against the Razorbacks as the only undefeated team left in the tournament.
Through a combination of solid pitching by Hagen Smith, who gave up only one run on two hits through five innings pitched, striking out eight Rebels in the process, and a sterling job on the infield dirt by the Razorbacks, which was as tight a ship as any in baseball, the Rebels were stymied at the plate.
Until the ninth. With only three outs to go in the game, Ole Miss made one last push for the win. With Kemp Alderman singling to lead off the inning, Evan Taylor was pulled and Brady Tygart went to work for Arkansas. His outing was abysmal, hitting the two batters that he faced to load the bases up.
Zack Morris came on to get the Hogs out of a jam and was looking for redemption. Just two days ago, he had the start against the Rebels and was knocked off the mound after giving up two runs in only two-thirds of an inning.
He managed to get two quick outs, but when Justin Bench slapped a hard shot between third and short, Jalen Battles made a great grab, covering tons of real-estate, but with no throw available to him, he did the smart thing and ate it, scoring Alderman from third. The Razorbacks were left with only a one run lead, a dangerous spot to be in for Arkansas, clinging on to the College World Series for dear life.
With the bases still loaded, any single through the infield scores two and the Rebels head into the final series against Oklahoma as the only undefeated team in the tournament.
Morris threw Jacob Gonzalez a fastball low and away and the Rebel infielder slapped it to left. It was on a line and Arkansas left fielder Jace Bohrofen took the catch for the final out. Arkansas have forced the third game, handing Ole Miss their first loss in this College World Series.
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn was effusive in his praise of Morris, saying, “He had a little different look to him tonight than he looked like (Monday), so I was proud of him. Sometimes, you don’t know until you experience it, and you have to get knocked down a little bit to have success. I think he really, genuinely wanted the ball tonight.”
This has, without question, been the most dramatic game in the College World Series so far, and we still have game three to go through. And all of this before we even get to the final.
The Razorbacks will now face the Rebels in the decisive game at 4 p.m. ET with the winner advancing to the final series against the Oklahoma Sooners. The Sooners got to the final by way of Texas A&M, who they eliminated 5-1 earlier in the day.
Connor Noland will start on the mound for the Razorbacks while the Rebels will throw Dylan DeLucia.