Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll. Murphy was the 2017 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
COLLEGE WORLD SERIES FLORIDA STATE VS. ARKANSAS:
Hogs well aware of 'Noles' upturn
Florida State's Mike Salvatore (16) and Tim Becker (37) celebrate after they scored on Reese Albert's tying three-run home run against LSU in the seventh inning of Game 1 of the NCAA college baseball super regional tournament in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, June 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
FAYETTEVILLE -- The University of Arkansas and Florida State might generate the most sentimental favoritism at this year's College World Series.
The Razorbacks' first national championship hung in the balance for the length of a high foul pop last year before the ball landed uncaught, allowing Oregon State to rally and win the game and eventually the championship series.
Arkansas vs. Florida State
WHEN 6 p.m. Central, Saturday
WHERE TD Ameritrade Park, Omaha, Neb.
RECORDS Arkansas 46-18; Florida State 41-21
STARTING PITCHERS Arkansas RHP Isaiah Campbell (12–1, 2.26 ERA); Florida State LHP Drew Parrish (8-5, 5.11)
SERIES Arkansas leads 5-0.
COACHES Dave Van Horn (690-382 in 17th year at Arkansas, 1,275-622 in 31st year overall); Mike Martin (2,028-734-4 in 40th year at Florida State and overall)
RADIO Razorback Sports Network. Not all games will be carried by all affiliates. Check local listings.
Arkansas RHP Isaiah Campbell was named a second-team All-America choice by D1 Baseball and Perfect Game on Thursday. … Arkansas LHP Matt Cronin was named third-team All-American by D1 Baseball and an honorable mention All-American by Perfect Game. … Arkansas 2B Jack Kenley was named third-team All-American by D1 Baseball, and starting RHP Connor Noland was named second-team Freshman All-American by Perfect Game. … Florida State ranks 118th nationally in team batting average (.272), 108th in team earned-run average (4.55), 205th in team fielding percentage (.964), 41st in scoring (7.0 runs per game) and 19th in home runs per game (1.31). Arkansas is 17th in team batting average (.301), 44th in team ERA (3.92), 97th in fielding percentage (.972), 15th in scoring (7.6 rpg), and 12th in home runs per game (1.36).
Florida State is back in Omaha, Neb., for the 17th time under Coach Mike Martin, who has announced he is retiring at the end of the season after 40 years at FSU. The Seminoles, a national power for most of Martin's tenure, made the 1999 CWS finals before losing to Miami, but they have never grabbed the title.
Sentimentality might be on their sides, but only one team can emerge from Saturday's College World Series opener unscathed.
The No. 5 Razorbacks (46-18) and unranked Seminoles (41-21) will play at 6 p.m. Central in the upper bracket, following the CWS opener between No. 8 seed Texas Tech (44-18) and Michigan (46-20).
The Seminoles look to be on a mission to make Martin's final season magical. They were one of the last four at-large teams selected to the field, giving Martin 40 NCAA appearances, and they were sent to the homes of two SEC powers.
Florida State routed national No. 4 seed Georgia twice and swept LSU last weekend at Alex Box Stadium to become the first CWS participant ever to eliminate back-to-back SEC teams on the road.
The combined scores of the Seminoles' victories over Georgia and LSU was 33-12.
Martin does not want to get caught up in the "win one for Martin" storyline that is sure to accompany the Seminoles' stay in Omaha.
"It's not going to define me because it's about the players," Martin said. "They're the ones that have these memories. That's what I enjoy so much about this."
The Razorbacks understand the power of Florida State's run of success.
"They're playing well and they've beat some really good teams," Arkansas first baseman Trevor Ezell said. "For their coach, it's his last year, so I know they've got some magic going over there. They're really playing for him. They've got a lot to play for from that. They've got a lot going on and they're on a roll. They will be a tough opponent."
Said junior center fielder Dominic Fletcher, "Obviously they're making a great run. I think they were a three seed going into the tournament, squeaked in there, and they've done a great job competing and going out there and winning ball games."
The Seminoles have been on a postseason tear at the plate, hitting .314 (61 of 194) and averaging 9.2 runs per game in five NCAA Tournament games.
Lead-off man Mike Salvatore, the team leader with a .341 average, is 13 of 23 (.565) in the NCAAs, with 10 runs scored. Third baseman Drew Mendoza (.319, 16 HR, 56 RBI) has a .409 average in the NCAAs, and he drove home the winning run in the Seminoles' 5-4 victory in 12 innings that clinched a CWS berth. Designated hitter Robby Martin (.332, 4, 54) is also hitting over .300, though he's 4 for 20 (.200) in the playoffs. Nine-hole batter Tim Becker (.286), the left fielder, is hitting 6 of 17 (.353) in the tournament with 6 runs scored and 8 RBI.
The Seminoles rank sixth in the nation with 373 walks drawn, 109 more bases on balls than their pitchers have allowed.
"It just means I'm going to have to throw strikes and compete," said Arkansas right-hander Isaiah Campbell (12-1, 2.26 ERA), who will start against the Seminoles. "Obviously you get two strikes teams are gonna start chasing a little bit because they have to. But it just means I have to get ahead in the count and not give them free passes."
Florida State has announced left-hander Drew Parrish (8-5, 5.11 ERA) as its starter against the Hogs. The 5-11 junior has led off on the mound each round of the postseason and picked up the victory in a 13-7 victory over Florida Atlantic University to open the NCAA Athens Regional.
"Hes' a great guy, great competitor," said Fletcher, who was a teammate of Parrish's on the Team USA roster last summer. "I think he throws a lot of strikes, kind of mixes it well and he's a good player."
At a glance
NCAA College World SerieS
At TD Ameritrade Park, Omaha, Neb.
All times Central
Double elimination; x-if necessary
Game 1 Michigan (45-20) vs. Texas Tech (44-18), 1 p.m.
Game 2 Florida State (41-21) vs. Arkansas (46-18), 6 p.m.
Game 3 Louisville (49-16) vs. Vanderbilt (54-11), 1 p.m.
Game 4 Mississippi State (51-13) vs. Auburn (38-26), 6:30 p.m.
Game 5 Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 1 p.m.
Game 6 Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 6 p.m.
Game 7 Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 loser, 1 p.m.
Game 8 Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, June 19
Game 9 Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 loser, 1 p.m.
Thursday, June 20
Game 10 Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 loser, 7 p.m.
Friday, June 21
Game 11 Game 6 winner vs. Game 9 winner, 1 p.m.
Game 12 Game 8 winner vs. Game 10 winner, 6 p.m.
Saturday, June 22
x-Game 13 Game 6 winner vs. Game 9 winner, 1 p.m.
x-Game 14 Game 8 winner vs. Game 10 winner, 6 p.m.
Championship Series (Best-of-3)
Monday, June 24 Teams TBD, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, June 25 Teams TBD, 6 p.m.
x-Wednesday, June 26 Teams TBD, 6 p.m.
Sports on 06/14/2019
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