The Razorbacks had such an incredible run over the last two months that it's really hard to end the season with a heartbreaking gut punch like they did, but it happened and the Hogs' run at the College World Series is over after two games.
We all know making it to Omaha was a tremendous success for this team, and nobody will soon forget the magical weekend Arkansas fans were able to experience during the super regional. That will never be taken away from them. It's just unfortunate they won't get an opportunity to play any more games because this is such a memorable team.
And they had a great chance. Arkansas loaded the bases in the ninth inning with the game tied at 3, but Rick Nomura grounded to second and the Hogs were left hoping for extra innings. The free baseball never came, though. Miami led off the bottom of the ninth with a double by Willie Abreu, and the next batter, Jacob Heyward, singled into the outfield to bring him home for the walk off victory.
A rough way for these Razorbacks to go home, for sure.
The game didn't start off memorably, with both teams zipping through the first four innings quickly without particularly any threats. The second half of the game was way more interesting, beginning with Heyward's two-run home run in the fifth right after Dave Van Horn pulled Keaton McKinney for Jackson Lowery.
The Razorbacks never allowed Miami to keep the lead for long. After being burned by stolen bases against Virginia on Saturday, Arkansas saw the benefits of running aggressively against Miami. Tyler Spoon stole second in the sixth inning, but the throw ended up in center field and Spoon was able to take third on the error. Rick Nomura followed that up by hitting a choppy single that Miami's David Thompson was unable to handle, and Arkansas was on the board with their first run of the game.
The Hurricanes nearly broke the game open in the 6th. They loaded the bases after a couple of walks and errors by the Hogs, but facing a full count with the bases loaded, Lowery struck out Brandon Lopez to keep the deficit at just one run.
The Hogs tied the game in the 7th in an inning that lasted as long as it takes to drive to Omaha. Clark Eagan and Michael Bernal were on first and second when Van Horn tried to use Carson Shaddy to pinch bunt but he struck out, leaving Bobby Wernes to save the inning. After fouling off 78 pitches, he singled up the middle to bring home Eagan and tie the game.
Things became really goofy in the bottom of the 7th for Arkansas. Jacob Heyward stole 2nd for Miami, but was unable to advance to third even though Shaddy's throw went to Benintendi in center field. It didn't matter, as on the next play, Bernal fielded a routine grounder at short and decided to get Heyward at third base, but threw the ball to the Miami dugout instead. Shaddy retrieved the ball and tried to throw back to get Heyward at home but missed the pitcher. Ricky Eusebio ended up at third base on his very routine grounder to shortstop. However, he was thrown out at home when the next runner grounded to first base and Eagan threw a strike to Shaddy for the out.
But Arkansas tied it again in the 8th. Tyler Spoon singled and made it to 2nd when Miami was unable to handle a hit up the middle. Brett McAfee showed bunt and drew in the entire infield, but ended up swinging and got what would have been an easy grounder for Miami through the infield and enabled Spoon to score. Bernal then promptly hit into a double play to end the inning and strand a runner on third.
Then the unfortunate 9th inning happened and now we're done. Arkansas is without a doubt losing some true stars off this roster heading into the future, but Van Horn has proven the ability to reload and develop time and again, and many of the names off this team will still be around next spring, and they'll bring some great experience to the field with them.
But for now, it's time to go home.