FAYETTEVILLE – The top-seeded and fourth-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks finished a clean sweep of the NCAA Fayetteville Regional Sunday night, defeating three-seed Dallas Baptist, 4-3, to reach their seventh NCAA Super Regional in program history.
The Razorbacks (42-18) are back in the super regionals for the first time since 2015, a year they reached the College World Series. It was also the seventh time an Arkansas team made it out of a regional without recording a loss in history.
Arkansas will await to find out its opponent for the Super Regional, but knows it will face either South Carolina or UNC-Wilmington out of the NCAA Greenville Regional. As a top-eight national seed, Arkansas will host the super regional round of the NCAA Tournament, but dates and game times for the Fayetteville Super Regional have not been set. It will be the third time Fayetteville has hosted a super regional in school history.
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In Sunday’s clincher, Arkansas fell behind early to the Patriots (42-21), giving up two runs in the first two innings, but the relief pitching of junior Jake Reindl was what turned the tides for the Hogs. Arkansas responded with four unanswered runs over the remaining six innings, three coming by the fourth inning.
Reindl ended up earning the win tying a career-high with seven innings of one-run relief, getting teammate Isaiah Campbell off the hook, after he only lasted three batters. Reindl scattered five hits and didn’t walk a batter, while striking out four. He moves to 3-1 on the year as Sunday’s appearance was his fourth of four innings or more and second of seven innings or more this year.
Unlike the previous two games of the regional, Arkansas had to manufacture its runs without relying on the home run. With only four runs on seven hits, only first baseman Jared Gates finished with a multi-hit performance.
Gates went 2-for-2 at the plate with two runs scored as his lead-off single in the third led to the Hogs’ first run to start the rally. His other single later in the game also led off an inning as he came around to score the important insurance run in the seventh.
It was the seventh multi-hit game for Gates this year and his second of the regional. Gates has had one of the hottest bats on the team over the last two weeks. He is currently on a six-game hitting streak and is 9-for-20 (.450) during that span with three multi-hit games, four RBIs, and one home run.
In the fourth inning, Arkansas utilized back-to-back singles from Luke Bonfield and Dominic Fletcher to start the go-ahead rally. They were both brought around to score after a Carson Shaddy groundout and an RBI single from Grant Koch. Six different Razorbacks recorded at least one hit in the game, while all but two starters reached base.
One week after having one of his best outings of the year, redshirt sophomore Isaiah Campbell did not have it working against Dallas Baptist Sunday night. Campbell only faced three batters, giving up two walks and one hit, while throwing 13 pitches.
Luckily, Arkansas had not used Jake Reindl, Matt Cronin, or Barrett Loseke earlier in the regional and had all three of their arms available to help clinch Sunday’s win. Loseke wasn’t needed in tonight’s game, but Reindl and Cronin both combined for nine innings of relief, allowing just two runs and striking out four each.
Reindl’s outing was reminiscent of his seven-inning outing of relief against Auburn (April 8) earlier this year where he retired the final 18 batters. Tonight he got out of two bases-loaded jams in the first and fourth innings with only one run allowed and he retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faced.
Cronin closed out the game over the final two innings, locking up his 12th save of the year. He struck out the side in the eighth inning and punched out one more in the ninth, throwing 36 pitches. He now is just one save away from tying the all-time school record for saves in a season (13 – Colby Suggs in 2013). Since coming back from mono, Cronin has recorded saves in three-consecutive appearances out of the bullpen.