12 Innings, 3 Heart Attacks. HOGS WIN!!!

DID.  YOU.  SEE.  THAT.  GAME!?!?!?!

If you missed last night’s College World Series elimination game between our beloved Arkansas Razorbacks and the Virginia Cavaliers, then you missed a good one. 

The game lasted 12 innings, so to recap the first 8 innings to get you up to speed for when the game really took off, Drew Smyly started for the Hogs and did pretty well, pitching 4.2 innings giving up only two earned on a two run homer in the 5th.  Danny Hultzen started for the Cavaliers and gave the Hogs all they could handle by only giving up one run on a sac fly in the 7th.  Heading into the 9th, it was 3 to 1 Cavaliers after a Virginia homer in the bottom of the 8th.

Then, the game went bonkers.

With 2 outs in the  in the top of the ninth, with the Hogs on the verge of elimination, with the ESPN announcers all but cashing their checks from calling the game, Zach Cox, with a 1-2 count, blasted a single up the middle giving the Hogs life.  Brett Eibner.  Oh man.  Brett Eibner then came up and absolutely rocked a hanging breaking ball into the 20th row of the left field bleachers tying the game at 3.  It seemed like the tables had turned and the Hogs were going to pounce on a scrambling Cavalier team, take the lead, and shut Virginia down in the 9th.  Didn’t happen.

The Hogs were only able to get those 2 runs in the 9th, so Arkansas closer Stephen Richards came in to try and send the game in extra innings.  Richards only faced three batters, gave up two hits and made a painful throwing error to 2nd on what should have been an easy force play.  Enter Dallas Keuchel.  Keuchel came in and eventually had bases loaded with 1 out.  On a 3-0 count, Keuchel threw a pitch to Danny Hultzen that should have ended the game with a Cavaliers win.  That was a total ball!  Seriously.  For all of those that complain about how Hogs don’t get calls or that everyone is always against the Razorbacks, blah, blah, blah, remember this moment.  We should have lost the game right there, but we didn’t, and the next pitch was smashed to the shortstop leading to a heart attack inducing double play. 

The Hog’s bats went flat in the 10th and 11th innings.  Cavalier pitcher Andrew Carraway came in and shut the Hogs down.  The Cavalier halfs of those innings were a different story.  I can’t recall what exactly happened in each inning because they were so similar.  Basically, it was multiple base runners on for Virginia with one or no outs.  Keuchel would pitch himself into trouble, then totally pitch himself out of it.  Timely strikeouts from Keuchel kept the Hogs in it. 

Finally, in the 12th, the Hogs were able to score a run on an Andy Darr RBI double.  But the win wouldn’t come easy.  Virginia lead off the 12th with a double from Steven Proscia, Keuchel then struck a batter out, but Proscia stole third in the process.  So, it was one out with a runner on third, again.  I was exhausted.  Thankfully, Keuchel struck out the next two batters leading to a very unlikely 4-3 Arkansas win.

Rejoice in the win Arkansas fans, because up next are the mighty Tigers.  Arkansas has only won one game in four against the Tigers this year, and now, in order to advance the Hogs will have to win two in a row.  Even worse, Keuchel was the expected starter for the Hogs if they did get to LSU, but after pitching 4 innings last night he will not pitch Friday unless he comes on in relief, and there is no telling how much he has left.  Eibner could start, but the Tigers touched him up early this past Monday in an eventual 9-1 Arkansas loss.  Smyly pitched yesterday.  So, we’ll just have to see how Van Horn wants to play it, but it will be a tough road.

Nevertheless, GO HOGS!!

Arkansas vs LSU,  Friday @ 1 on ESPN

[Photo by TipsterHog via Flicker and Creative Commons 2.0.]