Do we still call it dancing in the NCAA baseball tournament? Might as well. At least the Hogs feel like dancing, anyway. The Razorbacks are headed back to the super regionals with a 4-3 victory over Big East champ St. John's in the Stillwater regional.
The Hogs will face Missouri State in the next round. It's not official yet, but Arkansas is expected to host the super regional due to the occupation of Missouri State's stadium by the Springfield Cardinals. No complaining from us.
It didn't feel like the game should have been that close, but the Hogs needed a run in the 9th inning to take the lead for good. Arkansas outhit the Red Storm 11-5, but couldn't capitalize on a couple of opportunities early in the game, leaving runners in scoring position in the 2nd and 3rd innings, and ending two innings on double plays. Clark Eagan also had a home run taken away when Anthony Bracato jumped and grabbed the ball in the air as it was about to fall over the wall.
For much of the game, Jackson Lowery kept things pretty comfortable for Arkansas. Normally a relief pitcher, Lowery started and was perfect through the first three innings. He ended up completing five innings and only allowed one hit and three walks. So when Arkansas went up 3-0 after Tyler Spoon hit a home run, things were feeling pretty good.
That was silly. As much as the Hogs have rallied in spectacular fashion, they've also totally blown a few games this year. St. John's scored their first run in the 6th on a throwing error by Michael Bernal, but the Hogs got out of the inning still with a one-run lead, which they lost in the next inning.
Bernal made up for it in the ninth when he singled and put Brett McAfee in scoring position, who eventually scored the game winner on a groundout RBI by Joe Serrano. Zach Jackson came in and closed the game with three strikeouts in the 9th.
Remarkably, this is the fourth time the Razorbacks have won a regional on the road under Dave Van Horn. Three of those wins have come since 2009.
This is the sixth time Arkansas has advanced to the super regionals under Dave Van Horn. The Hogs are 3-2 in those series.