STILLWATER, Okla. — The Razorbacks trailed by five runs on separate occasions Saturday night.
They won by eight.
Arkansas turned a 10-8 deficit into a 16-10 lead in the eighth inning, going on to beat No. 7 Oklahoma State 20-12 and securing a spot in the Stillwater Regional final with two chances to clinch a super regional berth.
Senior designated hitter Brady Slavens hit the first of seven Arkansas home runs in the top of the first inning, a solo blast to right field. The Cowboys quickly responded, punishing freshman left-handed pitcher Hagen Smith for a leadoff walk, but they left the bases loaded and the score tied in a frame in which they made him throw 38 pitches.
Junior second baseman Robert Moore turned on 2-1 pitch for a solo shot to re-establish the Arkansas lead, but again, it did not last long. Another leadoff walk cost Smith another run, but it was senior left-hander Evan Taylor who surrendered the game-tying RBI double to Oklahoma State second baseman Roc Riggio. Smith recorded the same number of outs as he issued walks — four.
The Pokes took it to Taylor in the third inning with a two-run blast by third baseman Nolan McLean, and center fielder Caeden Trinkle chased him from the game with a one-out double. Riggio sent junior lefty Zack Morris’ first pitch deep to right field for a three-run dinger and a 7-2 Cowboy lead.
Arkansas began cutting into the deficit in the fourth with its third solo homer of the evening. Sophomore third baseman Cayden Wallace belted his third of the regional to dead center, making it a four-run contest.
Graduate catcher Michael Turner continued to eat into Oklahoma State’s lead with a two-out, two-run single into short left-center that brought the score to 7-5.
The Cowboys chased Morris and tagged senior right-hander Kole Ramage for three consecutive two-out singles in the sixth. Four knocks turned into three runs and 10-5 advantage.
The Hogs responded with three runs of their own in the seventh. Turner collected his third RBI of the game and sixth of the tournament with a two-out solo home run, the fourth of the night for Arkansas. Graduate right fielder Chris Lanzilli doubled and scored on Moore’s second longball of the night, which made it 10-8.
And then the chaos began.
Freshman first baseman Peyton Stovall got the line moving in the eighth with a leadoff single. Two hit batters later, the Cowboys turned to McLean to pitch, but he had no control on the mound. He issued three walks and hit another batter, and the Razorbacks went from two behind to two ahead.
Right-hander Trevor Martin came in from the bullpen, and senior shortstop Jalen Battles sent his first pitch to left field for a grand slam and a 16-10 lead.
The Cowboys tagged freshman righty Brady Tygart for two runs in the eighth to make it 16-12, but Arkansas roared back with four in the ninth, courtesy of Lanzilli’s three-run dinger, the seventh of the game for the Razorbacks. Moore scored on a throwing error to cap the scoring off, and sophomore right-hander Will McEntire closed the door in the ninth to send the Hogs to the regional final.
Arkansas will meet the winner of Oklahoma State-Missouri State at 6 p.m. Sunday. Starting pitchers and broadcast information have yet to be released. With a win, the Hogs will clinch a spot in the super regional round, but a loss would send them to a winner-take-all game Monday night.