STILLWATER, Ok. (AF) — In a regional that featured 148 total scored runs, a relatively low-scoring affair advanced the Diamond Hogs to the Super Regional round of the NCAA Tournament with a 7-3 win over Oklahoma State.
A two-run double by Michael Turner in the top of the ninth inning gave the Hogs some much-needed insurance before Hagen Smith, who struck out the Cowboys’ freshman phenom Roc Riggio with the bases loaded the inning before, went three up and three down to close out the game.
It was an abnormal night on the mound, as possible season-ending games typically go. Zach Morris started the game, flirting with disaster a few times by putting runners on base, but strong defensive plays by Cayden Wallace and Robert Moore kept the Cowboys off the board.
Morris finished his outing with one out in the fourth inning, allowing no runs and striking out three.
Senior Kole Ramage took the mound after Morris, and aside from a solo shot and one-run ground-rule double, kept the Cowboys at bay in 2 2⁄3 innings, striking out five batters.
Ramage would allow three straight hits, one of which being that ground-rule double, and his night would come to an end. Vermillion would come into the game with runners at second and third and no outs.
Vermillion would retire the first three batters he faced, and by the end of the inning, Arkansas was clinging to a 5-3 lead after a flyout allowed one run to cross, and the Hogs headed to the top of the eighth inning.
Vermillion allowed a single to start the eighth, and Dave Van Horn turned to freshman Hagen Smith, the left-handed pitcher from Bullard, Texas.
Smith hit the first batter he saw, and a clutch play by Cayden Wallace on a bunt gave Smith one out.
He walked another to load the bases with just one out. The freshman locked in, though, striking out the next two batters he saw, one of them being Roc Riggio, who was on fire all weekend.
Smith would strike out two in the ninth and not allow a single baserunner to close out the game and allow the Hogs to advance to the Super Regionals in Chapel Hill.
North Carolina escaped their regional with a win over VCU on Monday night, so the Hogs will travel to North Carolina to play the Tar Heels on Friday. First pitch times are yet to be announced.