Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a member and past president of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year 10 times and has been inducted to the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Like It Is:
Arkansas couldn’t slow TCU’s red-hot offense
Arkansas Monday, June 5, 2023, during the inning of the Razorbacks’ 12-4 loss to Texas Christian in the championship series of the NCAA Fayetteville Regional at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville.
A week ago everything seemed right in the world of college baseball.
The Arkansas Razorbacks had gotten knocked out of the SEC Tournament by Texas A&M, 5-4, a team they were 4-0 against on the season heading into that semifinal game.
What it meant was the No. 3-ranked Hogs would get an extra day of rest before hosting a regional, and everyone wants a extra day off going into the NCAA Tournament.
The SEC got 10 of its 14 teams into the 64-team tournament and hosted eight regionals — that’s exactly half.
When the dust settled Monday night six SEC teams advanced to the Super Regionals. But Arkansas, winner of the SEC West, and fellow regional host Vanderbilt, who finished second in the East and won the SEC Tournament, had their seasons end along with Georgia and Texas A&M.
At least two SEC teams have no chance to advance to the College World Series because Kentucky plays LSU and South Carolina faces Florida.
The Razorbacks run of five consecutive Super Regional appearances ended with another ugly loss to TCU.
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Maybe it was just a bad matchup for Arkansas or the Horned Frogs were able to pick up on something — not accusing them of stealing signals but of noticing something that gave pitches away — but in three games this season they owned the Razorbacks.
In the February 17-19 College Baseball Showdown in Arlington, Texas, Arkansas beat Texas and Oklahoma State, but lost to TCU 18-6 when the Frogs got 19 hits to the Hogs’ six. That game was tied at 4-4 after the second inning and the Razorbacks would need eight pitchers to finally finish the four-hour ordeal.
It would be 55 days before they met again, but it was like picking up where they left off.
TCU had 21 hits last Saturday in Fayettevile enroute to a 20-5 win, while Arkansas was held to 10 hits and used only four pitchers.
After beating South Clara for another shot at the Frogs on Monday it was another one-sided game, but there was an early indication it was not going to be the Razorbacks’ day.
In the first inning they loaded the bases on two walks and a hit-by-pitch with none out and managed to get just one run.
Arkansas did take a 4-3 lead in the fifth, but TCU became TCU again and won 12-4 with 12 hits and holding the Hogs to three.
In three games TCU outhit Arkansas 52-19 and outscored them 50-15.
It was very reminiscent of Ole Miss last season who had struggled much of the season but got hot in the NCAA Tournament.
After losing three of the last five games they got invited to Coral Gables, Fla., for the regional and beat Arizona twice and host Miami to move on to Hattisburgh, Miss., to face Southern Miss in the Super Regional, where they shutout the Golden Eagles twice to advance to the College World Series.
Ole Miss beat Auburn, took two of three from the Razorbacks and then swept Oklahoma for the National Championship.
TCU may not be on that magic carpet ride, but the Horned Frogs have won nine consecutive games by a combined score of 107-32.
So the Razorbacks ran into a red-hot buzzsaw and even with great crowds and support couldn’t get TCU on defense enough.
The Horned Frogs placed eight players on the 14 man All-tournament team, including second baseman Tre Richardson, who was also named MVP.
A week ago hopes were high for the Hogs and all things seemed right in the world of college baseball, but sometimes you run into a better team, and it would hard to argue that the Horned Frogs weren’t better in all three meetings.
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