FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Well, this was not the ending most Arkansas fans were expecting. Especially the dominating aspect of two whippings by TCU, the final one being a 12-4 blistering Monday afternoon at Baum-Walker Stadium.
To add insult to injury, the Horned Frogs’ Tre Richardson hit his fourth homer in two days, but at least it was just one. After 11 RBI on Sunday, the Razorbacks held him to just three … and Hagen Smith didn’t give up that one. Smith did come in after starter Cody Adcock pitched 1.1 innings and gave up two runs.
Smith was the strongest of the five pitchers Dave Van Horn put on the mound, trying anything he could think of to hold TCU, probably the hottest team in college baseball towards the end of the season. They have steamrolled their way to 19 wins in the last 21 games and now advance to a Super Regional against Indiana State and may be hosting if reports the Sycamores can’t host prove to hold up.
Most people thought the Hogs would be hosting one next week at Baum-Walker, but now everybody has some extra time off and there won’t be a trip to Omaha for the College World Series.
Van Horn knew he was a little short-handed coming into the regional. He was going to need a lot of luck to win this one, but nobody seemed to notice. There is a track record for that. That stroke of luck some thought was when Saturday’s game against TCU got pushed to Sunday, but that blew up pretty fast, Smith gave up a grand slam to Richardson and it fell apart completely by the second inning.
“We were either going to really have to hit or our starters were going to have to give us a lot of innings,” Van Horn said. “Unfortunately the teams we played didn’t give us that opportunity.”
He’s been putting together pitching all season after No. 1 starter Jaxon Wiggins went down for the season before it even got started. That wasn’t the only injury and just getting to a regional and hosting probably was better than should have been expected.”
Four runs weren’t going to be enough against the Horned Frogs and you knew it all along.
Tavian Josenberger led off the game getting hit by a pitch and scored later on a sacrifice fly for a 1-0 lead that lasted until the bottom of the second when TCU got a pair of runs and Adcock to the dressing room.
The Hogs got Josenberger on base with a walk to start the fifth and Jace Bohrofen delivered a two-run homer immediately followed by Jared Wegner’s solo shot that made it 4-2. That was it for the game.
TCU added a run in the bottom in the bottom of the inning, three more in the sixth, a solo run in the seventh and five in the eighth for good measure.
“Offensively, there was a few of our guys that just didn’t have a good tournament,” Van Horn said. “Maybe they’re tired. I don’t know. Some of them are first-year guys at this level and it just didn’t happen. Again, you can also give credit to some really good pitching we faced.”
He wasn’t quite ready to let his team off quite that easy, though.
“We’re a better hitting team than that,” Van Horn said. “It was just a combination of everything. Today, honestly, just a little tired from yesterday. Swings were a little slower. Just not quite there.”
The Hogs finish their season 43-18 overall and 0-3 against the Horned Frogs, who improve to 40-22 and advance to a Super Regional against No. 14 Indiana State.