Arkansas Baseball photo

Razorback sophomore third baseman Cayden Wallace (7) from Greenbrier makes an off-balance running throw to first to end the inning against OSU on Monday at O’Brate Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Arkansas led from start to finish Monday to defeat Oklahoma State, 7-3, and capture the Stillwater Regional championship.

Dave Van Horn’s Hogs were able to beat Oklahoma State twice having also defeated the Cowboys, 20-14, on Saturday. The Cowboys rallied late Sunday night to defeat Arkansas, 14-10, in one extra inning.

“What a game,” Van Horn said Monday. “The two teams just got after it. We as coaches from Arkansas made the comment the other day that after playing Oklahoma State on Saturday that this is one of the best teams we’ve played all year. One of the top two or three.”

Van Horn used four pitchers and pushed every button right to get the win. Van Horn surprised many by starting Zack Morris. He then went to Kole Ramage (3-2) who picked up the win with relief help from Zebulon Vermillion and Hagen Smith who got his first collegiate save.

“Our pitching was outstanding,” Van Horn said. “It started with Zack Morris, tremendous job. Kole Ramage came in and gave us everything he had, and it was his third time to throw this weekend. Zebulon came in and got us a couple out, and then Hagen came in and he just flat out was not going to be denied. I think after we got the force out at second on the bunt play, I think that kind of shocked them a little bit, because we threw to second and that was all on (Cayden) Wallace. He charged hard, the bunt was to him, he fielded it clean, made a perfect throw, and he was out.

“That took a little bit of steam out of him. Then he hits the next guy in the knee. Then after that, he went to work. Just an amazing, amazing job by Hagen in that tough situation with all that was on the line for our team.”

All day Monday the biggest question surrounding Arkansas was who would be the starting pitcher. Much of the speculation centered on Ramage. But Morris worked 3.1 innings.

He allowed four hits, no runs, walked three and struck out the same. Ramage pitched 2.2 innings, allowed four hits, three runs and struck out five.

Vermillion worked one inning allowing only a hit. Smith came up huge after a very disappointing start against the same Cowboys on Saturday. On Monday, Smith faced eight batters working the final two innings. Smith allowed no hits, struck out four and then both walked one hitter and hit another.

Arkansas led 5-3 when Oklahoma State loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth with one out. But Smith struck out Chase Adkison and Roc Riggio to get out of the jam.

In the top of the ninth, Braydon Webb led off with a double to left field. After Brady Slavens struck out, Wallace walked. That brought Michael Turner to the plate and he once again delivered with a double to right field that allowed both Webb and Wallace to score. That gave Smith a four-run cushion in the ninth as opposed to only two runs.

Arkansas took control of the game in the top of the fourth. Slavens left off the inning with a solo blast over the fence. Wallace then grounded out for the first out. Turner walked and Chris Lanzilli was hit by a pitch.

Robert Moore grounded out to first, but that allowed Turner and Lanzilli to advance a base. Jalen Battles singled to allow both Turner and Lanzilli to score. He went to second on the throw home trying to get Lanzilli. Peyton Stovall then singled to center field to plate Battles for a 4-0 lead.

The Hogs added another run in the top of the sixth when Battles walked and then went to second on an error. Stovall once again singled to center to allow Battles to cross the plate for a 5-0 lead. Turner was named the Stillwater Regional MVP.

“It’s unbelievable,” Turner said. “Man, I mean, that’s a tough position back there in the heat – catching, throwing and sweating and grinding and calling pitches. It can be a little stressful. And then trying to hit. That takes a tough individual to do what he does. I’ve always said catching is the best position on the field. You’re the only one facing the whole field and you’re involved in every play. You’ve got to have special people back there if you’re going to have a good team.”

Battles and Stovall each had two hits which was exactly half of the eight total. Battles, Stovall and Turner each had a pair of RBI while Slavens had one. The Razorbacks stranded seven runners.

David Mendham got the Cowboys on the scoreboard for the first time in the bottom of the sixth with a solo home run. The Cowboys added two more runs in the bottom of the seventh.

The Cowboys also used four pitchers with starter Ryan Bogusz (3-1) taking the loss. He worked 3.2 innings. Bogusz allowed three hits, four runs, all earned, walked two, struck out five and hit one batter. On offense, the Cowboys had nine hits and stranded 10.

Van Horn is set to lead Arkansas to his 13th super regional.

“I didn’t know it was that many,” Van Horn said. “It’s amazing. I mean, if you get to a super, you’ve got a chance. And it’s hard to get to a regional. It’s super hard to get to a super. No pun intended, okay? But I’m excited for the team because, you know, we get to keep playing together. I feel like in the last two weeks, the team’s gotten closer than it’s been all year. You can feel it, you can see it, and they don’t want to lose. They want to keep playing. So we’ll go back, get some rest, and get everything set up. Find out when we play. We’re playing Friday or Saturday, and we’ll head east. I’m looking forward to it again.”

Arkansas (41-19) will now head to North Carolina to play in the Chapel Hill Super Regional. The Tar Heels (41-20) defeated VCU, 7-3, on Monday to win their own regional. North Carolina is the No. 10 seed. Oklahoma State was the No. 7 and would have hosted the Tar Heels had they been able to beat the Hogs. Van Horn offered up some early news of the Tar Heels.

“Yeah, I mean, preseason they were up there pretty good,” Van Horn said. “Like all of us, they had a little rough patch in there and then they fought back out of it. They’re just really solid. I don’t know their names. They have a beautiful ballpark. It’s about 10 years old, new and really nice setting. Beautiful campus. I’ve been on the campus. I’ve never played a game there. I’ve never played North Carolina in all my years, believe it or not. I can’t remember ever playing them.”

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