They pulled through again.
It seemed grim. Oh, the mood was plenty dark for Hog fans as the Razorbacks went to bat in the top of the 8th inning. Oklahoma State ace Michael Freeman had enjoyed four straight three-up-three-down innings since the Hogs initially tied the game at 2 in the third inning, and there was no reason to think he was about to crack.
But he did. Carson Shaddy came on to pinch hit to open the 8th and became Arkansas' first base runner in five innings when he drew a full count walk. Joe Serrano followed him up with a single, and then things went goofy. Bobby Wernes laid down a bunt to advance the runners, but Freeman threw the ball over the first baseman's head and into right field, allowing Shaddy to score. Freeman then intentionally walked Andrew Benintendi, but threw away one of the intentional walk pitches and allowed Serrano to score and tie the game (Arkansas is finally redeemed from losing the 2013 Kansas State regional after similarly throwing a wild pitch on an intentional walk).
Oklahoma State then pulled Freeman for Remey Reed, who promptly threw a check to third over the third baseman's head, allowing Bobby Wernes to score and give the Razorbacks the lead. Arkansas then proceeded to add a pair of insurance runs off RBI singles from Rick Nomura and Michael Bernal.
It's hard to fully describe the glory of the top of that 8th inning. Oklahoma State had been rolling pretty much the entire game. They were playing crisp and clean, very worthy of a regional host. And then all of a sudden they appeared completely incompetent. The gave Arkansas some breaks and the Hogs made some of their own and now Arkansas is in the driver's seat to get out of the regional.
Zach Jackson didn't make it easy when he came on to close the game in the bottom of the 8th. He allowed one run to score in the 8th and actually needed four outs in the ninth because Oklahoma State's Corey Hassel struck out swinging but it was a wild pitch and he still made it to first base. Jackson managed to get the outs, however and Arkansas is in the clubhouse with a win.
Arkansas will have a chance to win the regional Sunday night against the winner of the Oklahoma State vs St. John's game in the afternoon. Dave Van Horn said after the game he doesn't know yet which pitcher will start of the Razorbacks. If Arkansas loses that game, they will play a winner-take-all game on Monday. If Arkansas wins the regional, they will host the super regional in Fayetteville next weekend.