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Texas received no relief when rain let up

By: Wally Hall
Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Ryan Reynolds of Texas walks off after striking out in the 7th inning against Arkansas Sunday, June 17, 2018, during game three of the NCAA Men's College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha.
Photo by Ben Goff
Ryan Reynolds of Texas walks off after striking out in the 7th inning against Arkansas Sunday, June 17, 2018, during game three of the NCAA Men's College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha.

The bottom of the sixth inning was long, but it had to seem like a lifetime to the burnt orange of Texas.

The score was 3-2 in favor of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and the Longhorn faithful seemed, as usual, confident. For days, they claimed Arkansas had never been a big game for them. That Oklahoma and Texas A&M were all the rivals they needed.

That the game was just big for the Razorbacks.

By the time the sixth inning ended the Longhorns had to feel a bit overwhelmed, ready to get the game over with and wishing they had never heard of the Razorbacks.

Heck, in the fifth inning the Hogs got the better of the closest thing to a football play when Razorback freshman Heston Kjerstad and Longhorn Jake McKenzie both tried to own first base.

Tie goes to the runner, especially when the runner knocks the Texas first baseman on his behind. That may have gotten more views on Twitter than anything else. It was like Kjerstad was a linebacker and McKenzie, who was giving up 36 pounds, was an off-balance running back.

Luke Bonfield cooled everyone's jets in the next at-bat when he homered to give the Hogs that 3-2 lead.

Then came the bottom of the sixth.

In the horizon, dark clouds were closing in on Omaha. A storm that would be felt all the way to Austin, Texas, was approaching.

Carson Shaddy and Jared Gates singled, and Texas starter Nolan Kingham was finished. In came Texas ace reliever Parker Joe Robinson, who hadn't walked consecutive batters all season before walking Grant Koch and Jax Biggers. He was done, but another walk put the Hogs up 5-2 with the bases loaded and nobody out as the game was delayed.

As soon as the tarps were unrolled, your trusty scribe and his wife headed to Kroger. It was Father's Day, but grocery shopping is something we do together, especially since someone way up the food chain came in and rearranged most of the store.

We divide and conquer.

On the way home, Phil Elson was broadcasting the game on 103.7-FM, The Buzz so it was assumed it had been a very short delay. When you assume, well, you get it.

The game was previously taped. At home, ESPN had bailed, but the words of the announcers were bouncing around in the old memory bank.

The rain delay could be good for Texas, and at that point it seemed it sure couldn't hurt Longhorns. Their pitchers couldn't find the strike zone.

Well, 169 minutes later, the game was moved to ESPN2, but nothing else changed.

The Hogs were hot, and by the time the inning ended they had put 10 players on base, scored 8 runs and led 11-2.

The Longhorns used six pitchers in that inning and seven for the game while allowing 15 total hits. Arkansas scattered nine hits and won 11-5, advancing to play Texas Tech tonight. If Tech hadn't beaten Florida 6-3, the SEC would have had three of the four first-round winners after Mississippi State beat Washington.

One of the best things about the 11-5 win over the Longhorns -- and there are too many to list here -- was Arkansas' two freshmen showed no signs of inexperience.

Lonoke's Casey Martin led the team in hitting entering the game with a .344 batting average. Kjerstad stood at .340. Against the Longhorns, Martin was 2 of 4 and Kjerstad was 3 of 5.

Dave Van Horn did a masterful job this season of blending the old with the new, and now the OmaHogs face Texas Tech tonight, a team they beat 5-1 on April 24. A second game with the Red Raiders on April 25 was rained out, sort of like the Texas Longhorns were Sunday.

Sports on 06/19/2018


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