One game in and the Arkansas Razorbacks are officially in deep trouble in the 2015 College World Series.
Trey Killian and Andrew Benintendi both performed memorably, but Virginia was able to make a couple more plays late in the game against Zach Jackson and the Cavaliers won 5-3. The Razorbacks are now one loss away from elimination and will have to win four consecutive games to advance in the tournament. A tall task with Arkansas' infamously thin pitching staff.
The game was tied at 3 entering the 8th, and Daniel Pinero was on first when Jackson entered the game, but Pinero was able to steal both second and third to put himself in position to score, which he did.
Trey Killian was great. He started off so hot that when Joe McCarthy hit a solo home run in the 2nd inning it felt like a real shock. He went 7.1 innings, struck out 6, and really kept Virginia mostly in check throughout the day.
Benintendi was the Hogs' star today. He tied the game at one in the third inning on a sac fly, hit a solo home run in the 5th to tie the game at three, saved a run by making a diving catch in center, and stole a base to put him in scoring position with no outs in the 8th inning (although Arkansas couldn't do anything with it).
The only time Killian really got into trouble proved costly. Virginia's 9-hitter, Ernie Clement reached first base after getting hit by a pitch despite making no motion to move whatsoever, but made it around to score on a two-out double by Daniel Pinero. Pinero then scored on a single by Matt Thaiss and the Hoos never trailed again.
Virginia scored two more in the 8th and the 9th for the final margin. When they took the lead in the 8th, Jackson had Kenny Towns down 1-2 in the count with two outs but a couple of close pitches were called balls and Towns hit the full count pitch for the winning hit.
The Razorbacks had their opportunities but couldn't convert on nearly enough of them. They had runners in the corners in the first but Clark Eagan popped up to end the threat. In the 2nd, Arkansas had runners on first and second with no out, but Michael Bernal popped up his bunt attempt to the catcher for the out, and Tucker Pennell hit into a double play. Bernal also grounded into a double play in the 4th and in the 9th.
The Cavs were aggressive running the bases, and it really paid off for them. They stole five total bases against the Hogs, which is what put them in scoring position in both the 8th and 9th innings. Pennell was able to pick off runners three times, but it proved costly for the Razorbacks.
Arkansas will now face the loser of tonight's Florida vs Miami game on Monday afternoon at 2 pm Central.