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A Duel We Didn’t Win: Arkansas Drops Game 1 to Florida State

That wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t fun. Now the Hogs have an uphill battle to get back to the final.

Image Courtesy of the University of Arkansas

It’s rare that you can describe a game as a bad day at the office, a really unlucky performance, and a completely flat showing all at once, but that’s really all I can say about that game. It was a pitchers duel for the ages, but despite Isaiah Campbell’s heroics, the Hogs couldn’t get it done. The hitting struggles from last year in Omaha have continued, as the Hogs have now gone some 22 straight scoreless innings at TD Ameritrade. There’s going to be lots of soul-searching after that one.

Parrish Goes the Distance, The Hogs Do Not

I’ll give credit where it’s due, FSU starting pitcher Drew Parrish was incredible. He pitched 8 innings, and only surrendered 5 hits, with obviously no runs given up. Despite that incredible performance, I also feel like the team made him look good. The offense looked anemic. To top off that sickly performance though, there were several instances of just plain bad luck, as several seemingly good hits ended up lining straight into Seminole gloves. The bats have to be better. We need to get back to our Super-Regional form, and fast.

We’re Going to Miss Campbell

Isaiah Campbell is just fantastic. The Razorback starter was blameless, as he turned in what should’ve been a winning performance, going 7 innings, and also only surrendering 5 hits. Mop up duty in the 8th was given to Cody Scroggins, who gave up a run despite not surrendering a hit, and of course Matt Cronin closed. By the time Cronin entered the game though, the Hogs were down one.

Looking Ahead

This is a really hard one to take. It’s an odd situation, because after the excellent year last year, and the loss of talent, you feel like this team over-achieved to make it all the way back to Omaha, but with the heights this team has reached this year, it feels like an underachievement. Fair play to Florida State— Mike Martin is an incredible manager. But the Hogs lost this one, and now it’s going to be a very uphill battle. Dave Van Horn will have to pick one of the freshman pitchers against what is ostensibly the best offensive team in the country in Texas Tech. I don’t expect the team to go down without a fight, but there’s going to be a lot of hard work needed, and more than a little luck. It just feels like a frustrating opportunity lost.

One thing that does need addressing though is one criticism I saw a lot after the game: “They looked like they didn’t want to be there.” I understand the heat of the moment can make us sports fans look dumb— myself included— but this is perhaps the dumbest critique of all time. It’s freaking Omaha in the College World Series— OF COURSE THE TEAM WANTS TO BE THERE. You can want it more than anything in the world and still lose. That’s just the way sports and the world at large are sometimes. You can criticize coaching choices, player choices, luck, or even the weather, but don’t ever doubt that these players want to be there. They do.

We go again Monday. Go Hogs.