Despite a valiant effort by junior Brian Anderson the University of Arkansas baseball team was eliminated from postseason play with a 9-2 loss at Virginia in the Charlottesville Regional Sunday.
The Razorbacks finish the season with a 40-25 overall record after a 1-1 day in Regional action. Arkansas defeated Bucknell in the opener before falling to the host Cavaliers (47-13) in the nightcap.
Anderson had a big day with six hits and was hit by a pitch twice reaching base in eight of his nine plate appearances over the two games. Anderson was 8-for-13 in Regional play and hit .615 for the weekend. Anderson earned Regional All-Tournament Team honors at secondbase for his play this weekend.
Michael Bernal was also selected to the All-Tournament Team at shortstop. Bernal hit .231 with three hits, one double and a sacrifice for the Razorbacks.
The Virginia offense was the first to get started in the top of the third inning. The Cavaliers pounded out three hits and took advantage of two walks and a hit batter putting four runs on the board and forcing an Arkansas pitching change early in the game.
Zach Jackson, in just his second start of the year, was chased after 2.2 innings pitched after allowing four earned runs and getting three strikeouts. Jackson opened the game with back-to-back three-up, three-down innings but ran into trouble in the third frame.
Arkansas had a couple of defensive miscues in the inning and the Virginia offense continued to fire on all cylinders banging out a hit off reliever Landon Simpson as two more runs came home giving the Cavaliers a 6-0 lead in the third inning.
The Razorbacks had men on in the second, third and fourth innings but waited until the seventh frame to push a pair across. With one out, Tyler Spoon reached on a fielder’s choice and was aboard with two gone. As the pitch count stretched over 100 for the Virginia starter Brandon Waddell, Arkansas’ Krisjon Wilkerson was patient and waited on a 3-2 pitch lifting it over the left center fence.
The 370-foot home run was the first time in 21.2 innings that the Virginia starting pitchers had allowed a run. The two-run shot sparked senior Jake Wise who followed up with a double to deep left and Virginia made a pitching change at that point in the game stalling the Arkansas rally.
Virginia would get back on the board in the top of the ninth inning as the Cavaliers touched the Arkansas bullpen for the first runs of the Regional. Arkansas’ bullpen went 18.0 consecutive innings without allowing a run. The Cavs got two hits and two walks and took advantage of a Razorback error, the second of the evening, to plate three runs and take a 9-2 lead into Arkansas’ final at bat.
Anderson singled to deep short to start the final frame but the Cavaliers got a ground ball, fly ball and strikeout to secure the win.
· The Razorbacks finish the season 40-25 overall.
· Arkansas has won 40 or more games 19 times in 48 seasons and five times in the last six seasons. It is the seventh 40-win season under head coach Dave Van Horn.
· The Arkansas bullpen was solid all weekend with 18.0 of the final 19.0 innings allowing no runs and striking out 16 batters.
· Arkansas advanced to its sixth straight NCAA Regional final against Virginia.
· The Razorbacks were making their 13th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and 27th overall.
· Arkansas is 66-58 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
· Arkansas is 48-39 in NCAA Regional action.
· Arkansas is 2-2 in elimination games this season, defeating Ole Miss 8-7 in the SEC Tournament after trailing 6-0, and falling 11-1 to LSU, before the win today over Bucknell and the loss to Virginia.
· Virginia was the 26th ranked opponent Arkansas has played this season, and the 15th ranked inside the top 10.
· Arkansas has won three of its last six NCAA Regionals, and gone on to the College World Series two of those three years. The Razorbacks have posted a 15-7 record in the last six NCAA Regionals, including a pair of perfect 3-0 marks, which came on the road.
· Arkansas’ shutout of Bucknell in game one was the 10th of the season. That mark is tied for second all-time for single-season shutouts.
· Arkansas has only been shutout three times this season. The first, an 0-1 loss at Florida and twice to Virginia this weekend.