For the second time in their history, and that was 1979 for retired Coach Norm DeBriyn’s national runner-ups,, the Arkansas Razorbacks will play for the national championship at the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
On the arms of winning starter Isaiah Campbell and relievers Jake Reindl and Matt Cronin and the 4 for 5 bat of Casey Martin and Dominic Fletcher’s two RBI including a home run, Coach Dave Van Horn’s Razorbacks defeated, 5-2 the 2017 national champion and 2018 SEC champion Florida Gators Friday night at TD Ameritrade Park following victories over Texas last Sunday and Texas Tech Wednesday to win their bracket and advance to the best of 2 of 3 series for the national championship starting Monday. Arkansas will play today’s winner take all game of the other double-elimination bracket between Mississippi State and Oregon State.
Freshman flash third baseman Martin of Lonoke scored Arkansas’ first three runs and knocked in one. He singled with one out in the first, tagged to second on Heston Kjerstad’s fly to right and scored the first run off losing Florida All-America starter Brady Singer on Luke Bonfield’s single.
Martin singled leading off the third and thanks to second baseman Blake Reese muffing a potential doubleplay grounder, eventually scored on Fletcher’s single.
Martin doubled leading off the fifth and eventually scored on Bonfield’s infield out before Fletcher’s solo home run.
Martin beat out a 2 -out infield single scoring Jared Gates, leadoff single, for Arkansas’ lone run off reliever Tommy Mace who pitched from the sixth through the ninth.
Third-year sophomore Campbell consecutively retired the first 14 Gators before Florida, by then trailing 4-0, scored two in the fifth. Austin Langworthy’s 2-out single broke up Campbell’s no-hitter followed by a hit batsman, Brady Smith’s RBI single and a run-scoring wild pitch before Campbell struck out Nick Horvath.
Arkansas’ lone errant, Martin’s wild throw opened, the sixth. Campbell retired No. 2 hitter Nelson Maldonado on a popup then finished his 2-hit performance replaced by Reindl retiring All-American Jonathan India and Wil Dalton on flyouts.
Reindl survived two walks one-out walks in the seventh.
Cronin yielded a leadoff single in the eighth and retired the next six, one on right fielder Eric Cole’s great leaping catch of a foul fly before an infield out and Cronin’s strikeout cinched Arkansas playing for a national championship.