Arkansas defeats Florida, advances to CWS finals

By: Matt Jones
Published: Friday, June 22, 2018
Arkansas' Casey Martin, right, high-fives teammate Carson Shaddy (20) after scoring against Florida on an RBI-single in the first inning of an NCAA College World Series baseball game in Omaha, Neb., Friday, June 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Arkansas' Casey Martin, right, high-fives teammate Carson Shaddy (20) after scoring against Florida on an RBI-single in the first inning of an NCAA College World Series baseball game in Omaha, Neb., Friday, June 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Arkansas 5, Florida 2 - FINAL

Arkansas is heading to next week's College World Series finals. The Razorbacks will face the winner of tomorrow's Oregon State-Mississippi State game in a best-of-three series beginning on Monday.

Matt Cronin sat down the Gators in order once again in the ninth and got a little defensive help from right fielder Eric Cole, who jumped up against the outfield railing in foul ground to record the first out of the home ninth.

We'll have much more on later tonight.

Arkansas 5, Florida 2 - Middle 9th Inning

Casey Martin was retired for the first time tonight for the first out of the inning. He finishes his night 4-for-5 at the plate. He was stellar tonight. Heston Kjerstad's tough night continued with a flyout to center. He's 0-for-5.

Luke Bonfield singled to right-center again and Jack Kenley came on to pinch run for the senior. Dominic Fletcher grounded out to the right side to end the top half.

Matt Cronin heads back to the mound for the Razorbacks.

Arkansas 5, Florida 2 - End 8th Inning

Matt Cronin allowed a leadoff single to begin his outing, but retired the heart of the Gators' order in order to send Arkansas to the ninth with a three-run lead.

The Razorbacks are three outs away from advancing to next week's College World Series finals.

Casey Martin, Heston Kjerstad and Luke Bonfield are due up for Arkansas in the top of the ninth.

Arkansas 5, Florida 2 - Middle 8th Inning

Jax Biggers reached on a two-out single but was stranded when Eric Cole grounded out to end the top of the eighth inning.

Matt Cronin is the new Arkansas pitcher. His task is to retire the top of the Florida order.

The attendance tonight is 25,016, which is the largest at this year's College World Series.

Arkansas 5, Florida 2 - End 7th Inning

Jake Reindl worked around a pair of one-out walks in the seventh. He struck out Brady Smith swinging at three straight curves and got Nick Horvath to ground out to Casey Martin at third base. Martin stepped on the bag for the force out.

The top of the Florida order will come to the plate in the eighth. Will Arkansas keep Reindl in or go to Matt Cronin? The left-handed closer has been warming some in the bullpen, but Florida has four right-handers in its first five spots in the batting order.

Arkansas 5, Florida 2 - End 6th Inning

Isaiah Campbell left the game in the sixth after a throwing error by Casey Martin allowed the leadoff hitter to reach. Jake Reindl retired Florida's 3 and 4 hitters, Jonathan India and Will Dalton, on fly outs to end the inning.

Campbell is in line for the win for Arkansas.

Arkansas 5, Florida 2 - Middle 6th Inning

Casey Martin's two-out infield single over the head of pitcher Tommy Mace scored Jared Gates from third base. Gates reached on a single and advanced after an error by second baseman Blake Reese. Heston Kjerstad struck out swinging in three pitches to strand runners on the corners.

Martin is 4-for-4 today and has scored three runs.

Arkansas 4, Florida 2 - End 5th Inning

Isaiah Campbell was perfect through 4 2/3 innings, then followed a familiar script by unraveling a bit. He gave up two hits, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch before striking out Nick Horvath on a 1-2 curve ball to end the inning, stranding a runner at second base.

Campbell has eight strikeouts tonight, which ties his career high. It is also the most by an Arkansas pitcher at the College World Series.

Jake Reindl is hot in the Arkansas bullpen. It's likely he will get the call for the sixth inning. Matt Cronin, who has not pitched much lately, also is in the bullpen but has yet to warm up.

Tommy Mace is the new pitcher for Florida. Brady Singer's final line: 5 innings, 4 runs, 7 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts. In three career starts against Arkansas he has allowed 18 runs (17 earned) on 21 hits and 5 walks in 13 innings.

Arkansas 4, Florida 0 - Middle 5th Inning

The Razorbacks have doubled their lead. Casey Martin doubled to lead off the inning, advanced to third on a fielder's choice and scored on a fielder's choice RBI by Luke Bonfield. Dominic Fletcher followed with a solo home run to right field that cleared the bullpen.

Arkansas has hit 98 home runs this season, a school record.

Brady Singer's pitch count is 89. Freshman right-hander Tommy Mace is warming up in the Gators' bullpen.

Arkansas 2, Florida 0 - End 4th Inning

Isaiah Campbell still hasn't allowed a base runner. He retired the top of the Gators' order in the fourth inning on a line out, a ground out and a foul out.

Brady Singer has thrown 75 pitches going into the fifth inning and he will face Casey Martin, Heston Kjerstad and Luke Bonfield. Martin is 2-for-2 today with two runs scored.

Arkansas 2, Florida 0 - End 3rd Inning

Isaiah Campbell is pitching really well. He has faced the minimum number of batters and has six strikeouts. He is complementing his fastball with a really good breaking pitch. He has thrown 42 pitches, including 28 for strikes.

Arkansas 2, Florida 0 - Middle 3rd Inning

The Razorbacks added another run when Casey Martin singled to lead off the third and scored on a one-out single by Dominic Fletcher. But Arkansas stranded two more in the inning, wasting another good scoring opportunity.

Heston Kjerstad reached on a fielding error by Florida second baseman Blake Reese and went to third with one out. Carson Shaddy struck out and Jared Gates grounded out to end the inning.

Arkansas has stranded five.

Brady Singer threw 16 pitches that inning to bring his game count to 65. There is no action yet in the Florida bullpen.

Arkansas 1, Florida 0 - End 2nd Inning

Isaiah Campbell looks good so far. He has struck out four straight batters, including the side in the second inning. His fastball is consistently hitting 93-94 mph.

On a separate note, Arkansas basketball coach Mike Anderson is at the game, sitting in a suite behind home plate.

Arkansas 1, Florida 0 - Middle 2nd Inning

The Razorbacks missed an opportunity to extend their lead after a two-out walk by Grant Koch and a two-out single by Jax Biggers. Eric Cole swung at the first pitch he saw and grounded out to end the inning.

Arkansas has Brady Singer's pitch count at 49 through two innings. Singer has gone to a full count to at least three batters and the Razorbacks have fouled off several pitches against him.

Florida's bullpen is pretty thin tonight, so the Gators need to hope Singer can have a couple of quick innings, otherwise the odds begin to lean toward Arkansas.

Arkansas 1, Florida 0 - End 1st Inning

Isaiah Campbell worked a 1-2-3 first inning with a pop up, a ground out and a strikeout of three-hole hitter Jonathan India. Campbell threw 13 pitches.

Arkansas 1, Florida 0 - Middle 1st Inning

The Razorbacks probably couldn't have asked for a better start against Brady Singer. The right-hander had to throw 29 pitches in the first inning and gave up a run when Luke Bonfield singled to center field on the 10th pitch of his two-out at-bat. The hit scored Casey Martin, who singled with one-out and advanced to second base with an aggressive base-running move on a Heston Kjerstad fly out down the right field line.


Arkansas and Florida players are on the field on a pleasant, somewhat overcast night in Omaha. The Razorbacks are the road team and wearing their road grays with red caps; the Gators are the home team and wearing white jerseys with blue caps.

In case you have been living under a rock, here is what is at stake tonight: If Arkansas wins, the Razorbacks are going to play in the national championship series beginning Monday night against the winner of tomorrow's game between Oregon State and Mississippi State. If Florida wins, the Gators and Razorbacks will play a winner-take-all game tomorrow night at 7.

The pitching matchup tonight is Arkansas RHP Isaiah Campbell vs. Florida RHP Brady Singer, the 18th overall pick in the MLB Draft this year who won the Dick Howser Trophy as the national player of the year.

Singer and Campbell both were touched up in the Arkansas-Florida regular-season series. Campbell gave up six runs in one inning before leaving with an elbow injury, and Singer allowed six runs in seven innings. Singer also was touched up by Arkansas at the SEC Tournament last season when he allowed eight runs in one inning.

One notable lineup change tonight: Florida is catching freshman Brady Smith in place of junior Jonah Girand. JJ Schwarz, the Gators' All-SEC catcher, is playing first base while he rehabs a broken hand he suffered late in the regular season.

Travis Katzenmeier is the home plate umpire tonight. Katzenmeier is working his third College World Series.

Billy Van Raaphorst is the first base umpire, Barry Chambers is at second and Joe Burleson is at third.


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