NCAA COLLEGE WORLD SERIES ARKANSAS VS. FLORIDA:

Campbell excited to get opportunity

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Friday, June 22, 2018
Isaiah Campbell, Arkansas pitcher, Thursday, June 21, 2018, during Arkansas practice at the Creighton pracrice field in Omaha, Neb.
Photo by Ben Goff
Isaiah Campbell, Arkansas pitcher, Thursday, June 21, 2018, during Arkansas practice at the Creighton pracrice field in Omaha, Neb.

OMAHA, Neb. -- Isaiah Campbell delivered one of his finest starts as a collegian June 11, holding down South Carolina for four innings to key a 14-4 victory that sent the Arkansas Razorbacks to their ninth College World Series.

He hopes to top that outing in today's 7 p.m. game in the Bracket 2 finals at TD Ameritrade Park.

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"It's going to be an awesome experience," Campbell said Thursday after the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville's practice at Creighton University. "I've been waiting for this since I got to Arkansas. It's what I came here for, to pitch in a College World Series.

"I'm not going to put any added pressure on myself. Just go out there, be myself and let the results take care of themselves."

Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said he and pitching coach Wes Johnson encouraged Campbell to attack like he was a closer in his last start in Game 3 of the NCAA Fayetteville Super Regional against South Carolina.

"We'll probably talk to him about having the same mentality he had in the super regionals," Van Horn said. "Don't save anything. Just give us what you've got. If it's two or three [innings], that's fine. If it's five, that's even better. But don't hold anything back because you're thinking 'I've got to last X amount of innings.' "

Campbell (4-6, 4.19 ERA) was staked to a 7-0 lead by his teammates through two innings in the super regional. He shut the Gamecocks out for three innings before allowing two runs on a wild pitch in the fourth. He was pulled after walking the leadoff man in the fifth inning and did not record the victory.

"It's always nice having the run support," Campbell said. "When you're pitching with the lead, you just have a lot off your shoulders. You just know you have to throw strikes, compete and let your defense do the work."

Campbell did not record an out in his June 3 start against Dallas Baptist, a game in which Jake Reindl threw seven innings behind him in a 4-3 Arkansas victory. His outing against South Carolina was a positive sign to his teammates.

"I saw a guy that got on the mound and had a plan and a mission and he fulfilled that mission," second baseman Carson Shaddy said. "He's a great guy on the mound. He's had his struggles this year, just like everybody else. It's part of baseball. But yeah, I see a guy that's going to come out and be a warrior for us."

Center fielder Dominic Fletcher would like to see Campbell pitch into the second half of the game.

"I mean, we expect him to go out there and give us five or six good innings and pound the zone and keep the ball down, so that's probably what we're gonna get," Fletcher said.

Campbell has allowed 2 runs or less in each of his last 5 outings since giving up 5 earned runs in a loss at LSU on May 26. He has pitched 5 or more innings in 7 of 16 appearances and plans to do it again tonight by executing the plan outlined by Johnson.

"I know for me, just getting five, six innings and hand it over to the bullpen, we'll be good," Campbell said. "I know coach Johnson will have a good plan for us and how to compete and attack them."

Sports on 06/22/2018

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