May 21, 2024

Arkansas Dominates #2 Stanford 17-2 In First Round Of CWS

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The Arkansas Razorbacks and Stanford Cardinal would meet again but this time when it mattered. These two teams played early in the regular season when Stanford looked like the better team. The Cardinal would shut out the Razorbacks 5-0 with temperatures in the thirties that day. Arkansas however, has lately proven to be a much better team than what they showed that day and is one of the hottest teams in the CWS.

On Saturday, Arkansas would score a run in the first inning and Stanford would answer with a run of their own. That score remained until the top of the fifth inning when Chris Lanzilli blasted a three-run home run over the left-field fence off of Stanford pitcher Alex Williams. Although the score was only 4-1 it felt like that might have been the nail in the coffin for the Cardinal despite their powerful offense. Arkansas starting pitcher Connor Noland pitched about as good as you can against Stanford, limiting them to one run on 79 pitches through seven complete innings.

The Arkansas offense would continue to pour it on throughout the day scoring 17 total runs. Arkansas second baseman Robert Moore would reach base five times in the game as well as make an incredible play up the middle on defense. Freshman Peyton Stovall would record four RBIs while Cayden Wallace and Chris Lanzilli would each have three RBIs for the game. Brayden Webb and Brady Slavens would drive in two runs while Jalen Battles and Zack Gregory would each have one RBI for the game. Arkansas would have 21 hits in the game, which is the most by any team in the MCWS at Charles Schwab Field.

Ole Miss defeated Auburn 5-1 on Saturday to advance to the double-elimination round. Arkansas will play the Rebels on Monday at 6 pm.

My takeaways:

Arkansas played almost a perfect game on Saturday. The bats are on fire right now and the pitching has been exceptional.
My only concern is can the pitchers not named Connor Noland continue to pitch well enough for Arkansas to win? Ole Miss will be a tough opponent who arguably has one of the best pitching staffs in the CWS and is playing great baseball. The Rebels did not allow a single run in their Super Regionals against Southern Miss.

With that being said, I like the way Arkansas is playing right now. They are playing like a team on a mission. If the pitchers continue to pitch as they have during most of this postseason, Arkansas will be hard to beat because of their high-powered offense and disciplined approach at the plate. The defense also continues to be a strength of Arkansas which gives pitchers an added confidence boost. No doubt Arkansas will have their hands full with Ole Miss on Monday who is playing arguably as good as anyone in college baseball. It should be a highly entertaining SEC matchup in Omaha.

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