Texas up first for Arkansas at CWS

By: Matt Jones
Published: Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Arkansas pitcher Matt Cronin flashes the downward horns sign after recording the final out during a game against Texas on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas pitcher Matt Cronin flashes the downward horns sign after recording the final out during a game against Texas on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, in Fayetteville.

— Arkansas' oldest rival awaits at the College World Series.

The Razorbacks will play Texas on Sunday at 1 p.m. at TD Ameritrade Park in downtown Omaha, Neb. The game will be televised by ESPN.

It will be the third meeting this season between the former Southwest Conference rivals. Arkansas defeated Texas 13-4 and 7-5 on March 13-14 during a two-game series at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.

"We were fired up to play Texas because we hadn't in a while and there is history there," Arkansas catcher Grant Koch said. "Just the history and the tradition between the two programs, it's going to be cool to play them again."

The Longhorns are in the College World Series for the 36th time, a NCAA record, while the Razorbacks are there for the ninth time. Both programs last made it in 2015.

Arkansas trails the all-time series against Texas 54-30, but has won all three meetings between the teams since 2012.

Texas defeated Tennessee Tech 5-2 Monday to clinch the Austin Super Regional. The Longhorns won the final two games against the Golden Eagles after losing Game 1 of the super regional.

Texas (42-21) has won 33 of its 45 games since losing to the Razorbacks in March. The Longhorns left Fayetteville on a five-game losing streak and with a 9-9 overall record, but turned things around when Big 12 play began the following weekend. Texas was the regular-season champion in its conference with a 17-7 record.

The Longhorns are led by junior second baseman Kody Clemens, a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Trophy, and who is batting .356 with 24 home runs and 72 RBI. In six postseason games, Clemens is 12-for-22 with 10 RBI and five home runs.

Clemens, the son of seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens, was 2-for-8 with an RBI during his two previous games against the Razorbacks.

"When we played them, we knew they were a good team," said Kacey Murphy, a junior left-hander who allowed two runs in six innings against Texas on March 13. "We won both, but you could see the athletes on their team and the talent they have.

"They're a great team and we know what we have on our hands."

Arkansas and Texas are tentatively scheduled to play next March at Disch-Falk Field in Austin, and Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said earlier this year that he and Longhorns coach David Pierce have discussed the possibility of extending the series two more seasons through 2021.

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