Most athletes can only dream of hearing their name called during the draft. However, when Blaine Knight heard his in 2017, it just wasn't the right time.
The Arkansas Ace was drafted last year but chose to return for his junior season on The Hill. He says he knew this 2018 team had what is takes to get to the College World Series.
"I told y'all early on," says Knight. "I knew what this team had and I knew, if we played well, what we could do. Here it is, I mean hard work paid of. This is what I came back for."
He was right. The Razorbacks punched their ticket to Omaha on Monday with a 14-4 win over South Carolina. Even though Knight didn't play in that game, everyone is aware that they wouldn't be in this position without him.
"We're not here without Blaine Knight. Let's be honest," says pitching coach Wes Johnson. "The guy's 12-0 and won just about every Friday night he went out on. Just for him to come back, it shows what he means to this state and this university."
His impact isn't lost on fellow pitcher Barrett Loseke either. "Obviously Blaine coming back, he made the right decision now that we're going to Omaha," says Loseke. "I mean it was unbelievable. Words can't describe how well Carson (Shaddy) and Blaine and Luke (Bonfield) and guys like that have lead our team this year."
The Hogs missed out on Omaha last year when they lost to Missouri State in the Fayetteville Regional. Which is one reason why Knight decided to come back. After falling short in 2017, the Bryant native says he's ready to return home with some hardware for Razorback fans.
"We got heartbroken last year," says Knight. "It's just a wave of emotions right now. I don't really know what to say about it. I'm trying to keep from getting emotional and everything else. I'm super excited for this state."
Knight was also recently drafted by the Baltimore Orioles with the 87th pick in the third round of the 2018 MLB Draft.
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