The Razorbacks' 2014 season ended Sunday night at the hands of No. 3 national seed Virginia in the Charlottesville regional final. Arkansas was victim of yet another stellar performance from the Hoos pitching staff, which held the Razorback offense to just two runs in two games.
Arkansas earned their way to the regional final against the Cavaliers with a blowout victory over Bucknell, and a tremendous outing from Jalen Beeks in his first work since early May. And the Hogs got more of that from Zach Jackson until the third inning rolled around.
Jackson worked scoreless frames in the first and second innings, but once the third rolled around, the freshman found himself in some major trouble. Jackson walked in the first run of the game with the bases loaded, then surrendered an infield single to make it 2-0 Virginia. But the Hoos weren't done.
Virginia then added a two-run single to push their lead to 4-0, forcing Dave Van Horn to go to his bullpen and Landon Simpson. Simpson then gave up two more runs, both unearned, and the Cavaliers led 6-0 after 2.5 innings.
The one bright spot early on was Michael Bernal's #SCTop10 worthy diving play in the hole at shortstop to get the Cav baserunner at first throwing from his knees. It was a terrific play, but it wasn't before his misplay at short in the third inning that led to a couple of runs. If it could go bad for the Hogs, it did. It was just that kind of night.
Arkansas' bats finally got going a bit in the seventh inning when Krisjon Wilkerson knocked a two-run homer into the stands to pull the Hogs back within striking distance at 6-2 with still a few innings to play. But the two runs was all Arkansas would get in the inning.
The teams would trade zeros until the top of the ninth (Virginia was the visiting team in this one for whatever reason) when the Cavs would add three insurance runs. UVA took a 9-2 lead into the bottom half of the ninth and held up as the final score.
Brian Anderson was truly about the only bright spot for Arkansas in the regional. The junior had a tremendous Sunday, and led the team with eight hits in the tournament. He came to the plate with the bases empty all four trips vs Virginia because the 1-2-3 hitters in the lineup went a combined 0-12 in the game. Not good.
The Razorbacks end the season with a 40-25 overall record. It's the most losses in a season for Arkansas in the DVH era, according to Derek Oxford. But you must give credit where it is due, and DVH did a terrific job with this club. Most predicted the Hogs to finish towards the bottom of the SEC, only to make a run to the SEC Tournament semifinals and 13th straight regional appearance.
Virginia's pitching staff also deserves credit. The Arkansas offense isn't one that is exactly feared, but the Hoos staff didn't care. They flat out dominated the Hogs for two straight games. Virginia's offense was also sharp. Their outs were even loud, and they put a lot of runs up on a couple of very good Arkansas arms.
Another season is in the books, and while most are disappointed in another loss in a regional final, Arkansas fans have a lot to look forward to with this ball club. 40 wins for a young team like this is uplifting.
And until next year, you guys, Go Hogs.