AUSTIN, Texas -- The RedHawks sent nine men to the plate and had the tying run in the on-deck circle in the top of the ninth inning, but Arkansas (38-20) managed to hold on for a 9-5 victory over Miami University (44-17) in front of 3,810 fans at Disch-Falk Field during the opening-round of the 2005 Austin NCAA Regional Tournament on Friday, June 3. The Razorbacks had built a 9-1 advantage entering the ninth following a pair of three-run innings in the seventh and eighth, which proved the difference.
Arkansas jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first when three straight hits to open the inning, including a double from center fielder Craig Gentry and a triple off the bat of second baseman Brock Bond, yielded a pair of scores. Miami University answered right back in the top of the second with a leadoff home run to right from first baseman Paul Frietch to make it a 2-1 contest. The game then settled into a pitcher's duel as Arkansas starter Charley Boyce limited the Miami offense to five hits through the seventh and RedHawks starter Graham Taylor surrendered only one unearned score between the second and the sixth. The Razorbacks managed to claim a 3-1 advantage in the fourth as they loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth on an error, a hit batter and a walk before receiving a run-scoring hit from Clint Arnold. While Arkansas was threatening for more in the fourth, the Miami defense turned in a perfect relay throw to the plate to record the final out and end the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, Arkansas combined a leadoff single from Arnold with a sacrifice bunt and a double from shortstop Scott Hode to plate one run before a triple from right fielder Blake Parker and a ground-rule double from catcher Blake Walker produced two more scores to make it 6-1 in favor of the Razorbacks. Following a scoreless top of the eighth, Arkansas went back to work in the bottom of the frame by plating three more runs via a RBI-single from Danny Hamblin before a two-out, ground-rule double off the bat of Clay Goodwin yielded another two scores to make it 9-1. Down to their final three outs, the RedHawks loaded the bases with no outs on a single sandwiched between two hit batters. Base hits from right fielder Tyler Tabler and left fielder Ryne Robinson then brought in three runs to pull Miami University within five. Still alive in the inning, Miami would add another run on a RBI-groundout with one out from John Slone, but that was as close as the RedHawks would come as Razorbacks reliever James Gilbert induced another groundout to end the rally, sealing the 9-5 win and earning his first save of the season. Picking up the win after tossing eight innings and striking out five was Boyce, who improved to 11-9 on the season, while Taylor incurred the loss for Miami University despite hurling 6.1 frames and fanning four.
Paving the way for Arkansas' 16-hit attack, which saw every starter collect at least one hit, was Arnold, who went 3-for-4 with one run scored and two RBI, and the foursome of Bond, Hamblin, Hode and Parker, who each tallied a pair of hits while combining to account for five runs and four RBI. The RedHawks, meanwhile, were led by five players with two hits apiece, including Frietch, who went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and one RBI, and Tabler, who turned in a 2-for-4 effort with one run scored and a pair of RBI.
Arkansas will now face the winner of the Texas/Quinnipiac game at 6 p.m. Central on Saturday, June 4, while Miami University will square off with the loser of that contest in a regional elimination game at 12 p.m. Central on Saturday. Both regional games will be played at Disch-Falk Field.
Postgame Notes & Quotes
MIAMI UNIVERSITY (OHIO)
· Miami falls to 6-11 overall in NCAA Tournament play.
· The RedHawks fall to 3-2 against Southeastern Conference opponents this season.
· Starting pitcher Graham Taylor is the first pitcher in Miami's three-game rotation to be tagged with a loss.
· With one home run in the game, 1B Paul Frietch extended his hitting streak to 14 games and now has 15 on the season and has connected on one home run in each of the previous four games. Frietch's 15 home runs move him into a four-way tie for seventh place on the school's single-season list. Meanwhile, his 28 career round trippers rank sixth-best in RedHawks history.
· The Razorbacks improve to 29-24 in NCAA Regional play and 39-36 overall in postseason play.· Arkansas is now 3-0 in the all-time series with Miami.
· The win snapped a five-game losing streak.
· Arkansas' 16 hits are the most since the Hogs got 18 at Oral Roberts on April 12.
· Arkansas' two triples (Parker and Bond) marked the first time this season the Hogs have gotten two triples in a game this season.
· Arkansas staring pitcher Charley Boyce has now made 44 starts in his career, which ranks fourth in school history.
· With the win, Boyce now has 27 in his career and has assumed sole possession of second place in Arkansas history.
· Boyce moved into ninth place in school history on Friday with five strikeouts, giving him 198 in his three-year career.
· Boyce's eight innings gave him 115.1 innings pitched on the season equaling his total from 2004. His 2004 and 2005 inning totals are the seventh-most in school history.
· Right fielder Blake Parker's RBI-triple in the bottom of the seventh marked the first of his career.
· The Razorbacks have not homered in 248 at bats dating back to Scott Hode's seventh-inning home run at Alabama on May 14.
· The save was the first of James Gilbert's Arkansas career.
· DH Clint Arnold tallied three hits which marked the 17th time this season he has recorded two or more hits in a game and the sixth time he has tallied three hits. He also recorded two RBI on the day, which marked the second multiple-RBI game of the season
· 1B Danny Hamblin has now registered multiple hits in a game for the team-best 23 times this year; SS Scott Hode recorded his 18th muliple-hit game of the season; Brock Bond recorded his fifth multiple-hit game this season; RF Blake Parker now has seven multiple-hit games on the year; and, C Brian Walker registered his ninth multiple-hit outing this season.
MIAMI UNIVERSITY (OHIO)
Head Coach Tracy Smith
Opening statement: Obviously we are disappointed with the way we started this game. My hat is off to Arkansas. I thought they did a very good job with their approach on our starter Graham Taylor. They stayed inside the ball and jumped out to an early lead. Taylor settled in and kept us in the ballgame, but for the most part, I give credit to them. We are not losing any confidence, and we are looking forward to tomorrow, whomever we play. It's not a good way to start, but our backs have been against the wall all year, and our kids will certainly answer the task.
On Saturday's pitching situation: Right now we are leaning toward [Sophomore P Keith] Weiser. He is one of those kids that wants the baseball, and I think it would be a shame to go through this and not get him a start.
Senior 1B Paul Frietch
On the team's approach: The game plan coming in was to get the starter out as quick as possible and then get to the bullpen. Today that did not happen.
Sophomore LF Ryne Robinson
On being in the tournament: It is definitely a great experience for us, but as we have talked about all year, we are not here just to be here. We are here to win games and make a run at this thing.
Head Coach Dave Van Horn
On Charley Boyce's quality start: It was big for us, because our bullpen has struggled a bit lately. For him to give us eight innings was huge for our team. He gave himself a chance to do that early in the game by having some quick innings.
On his team's offensive performance: I was glad to see the contact we made up and down the lineup, especially early in the game. I thought our hitters did a great job of driving in runs, handling the bat and not striking out much. We had a two-run lead early, and we continued to use the whole field to put pressure on them.
Freshman DH Clint Arnold
On the team's approach at the plate: I think it was big for us to get a couple of early runs and send a message. Coach Van Horn has been working with us on staying inside the ball and going the other way, and I think we did a good job of that today.
Junior RHP Charley Boyce
On his outing and his team's defense: They were a good hitting team, and they made some hard contact and made me work for every out, but my defense played extremely well and made my job extremely easy.