CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The University of Arkansas baseball team managed just two hits falling to top-seeded Virginia in NCAA Regional action in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday.
Arkansas (39-24) recorded hits in the fifth and ninth innings falling to the host Cavaliers (46-13), 3-0. The loss moves the Razorbacks into an elimination game with Bucknell at noon Central Sunday. The winner of that game advances to face Virginia in the night game. The loser is eliminated. The game airs on ESPN2.com. Check local listings for other availability.
Virginia scored first in the bottom of the opening stanza igniting the more than 5,000 fans at Davenport Field. With one out, the Razorbacks committed their first error of the NCAA postseason allowing the Cavaliers a baserunner.
The Arkansas starter, righty Trey Killian, fell behind in the count, 3-1, to Mike Papi and the lefty hitter lifted a two-run shot over the right field fence allowing the home team to strike first. Virginia managed another base runner but Killian got a line drive and a ground ball to end the threat.
Virginia added a third run in the bottom of the third inning getting three hits in the frame. With one out, Mike Papi laced a single up the middle to start things off. Killian got a strikeout for out number two but back-to-back singles off the bats of Derek Fisher and Kenny Towns plated Papi for the Cavaliers.
The Razorbacks had a pair of baserunners getting walks in the first and third innings but were held hitless until the bats came to life in the top of the fifth inning.
Eric Fisher led off with a double lacing the 3-1 pitch down the right field line to the fence as he cruised around the bases and went into second standing up. Tyler Spoon tapped a ground ball back to the mound in the next at bat and the Cavaliers’ pitcher Nathan Kirby looked the Fisher back at second. Kirby then rushed the throw to first to get Spoon and threw the ball away allowing the Razorbacks to push runners to second and third.
Kirby, the ACC Pitcher of the Year, rallied with a strikeout, line drive and ground ball to end the Razorback threat. Kirby pitched a gem throwing eight innings and allowing one hit, walking two and striking out nine. Kirby retired the last 12 men he faced.
Killian was lifted in the bottom of the fourth inning after what appeared be a blister became a problem. His stat line included 3.3 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out one. Dominic Taccolini came in on the hill and threw the final 4.2 innings allowing two hits and striking out four.
ARKANSAS NOTES * The Razorbacks fall to 39-24 overall in 2014. * In a 5-game span, Arkansas will face the SEC, ACC and Big South Pitcher of the Year. Hogs have won 10 of last 14 games. * The Razorbacks are making their 13th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and 27th overall. * Arkansas is 65-57 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. * Arkansas is 47-38 in NCAA Regional action. * Arkansas is 9-5 in NCAA Regional openers over the last 13 years. * Arkansas faces Bucknell in game three of Regional action. * Bucknell (31-20-1) defeated Liberty in the early game Saturday. * Arkansas turned its SEC-leading 60th double play of the year in the second inning.
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