Sophomore Dominic Fletcher became the first player with four hits and four RBI in a College World Series game at TD Ameritrade Park Wednesday as he paced the fifth-seeded Razorbacks to a 7-4 win over nine-seed Texas Tech, putting Arkansas in the CWS semifinals.
Fletcher and Jared Gates each hit a home run, while junior right-hander Barrett Loseke picked up the win in another dominant effort against the Red Raiders, striking out five over three innings.
Arkansas will next play Friday, June 22 at 7 p.m. (CT) against the winner of the elimination game between Florida and Texas Tech. With the win, the Razorbacks improve to 46-19 this season, their most wins since 2012, the same year they last reached the College World Series semifinals.
The Big Inning
Out to a 3-0 lead, Arkansas added a pair of insurance runs in the fourth inning to extend its advantage to five. Fletcher led off the frame with a no-doubt solo shot over the bullpen in right field.
Arkansas tacked on another run with an RBI single off the bat of junior Jax Biggers which knocked Texas Tech starter Davis Martin out of the game.
With two home runs Wednesday, the Razorbacks pushed their program record to 97 this season. Arkansas has now hit 13 during the NCAA Tournament, leaving the yard in six of eight games. Overall, the Razorbacks pounded out 12 hits to reach double figures for the seventh time in eight NCAA Tournament games, including five straight. From the top of the order, Eric Cole and Casey Martin joined Fletcher with multi-hit performances, their 23rd and 28th of the year, respectively.
Junior Kacey Murphy got the start and responded with seven strikeouts in 4.2 innings of work, good for his 10th outing with five or more strikeouts this season.
After Texas Tech got on the board with a two-run double in the fifth, Murphy gave way to Loseke who came in to get the final out of the inning. With five strikeouts in 3.0 innings Wednesday, Loseke has fanned 15 hitters in two appearances (7.2 innings) against Texas Tech this season and has only allowed two base runners.
For the 26th time this season and for the fourth-straight game, the Razorbacks scored in the first inning on the strength of three hits including a two-run double by Fletcher. Arkansas is now 23-3 this season when scoring in the first inning and 31-8 overall when scoring first.
“Let the Boys Play”
Originally scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m., the 1-0 winner’s bracket game between Arkansas and Texas Tech was first postponed to Wednesday at 11 a.m., but due to a weather delay this morning, first pitch was ultimately pushed to 2:30 p.m.
Wednesday’s game marked the 60th meeting in the all-time series between Arkansas and Texas Tech and the second this season. The teams had never met in the College World Series.
2018 College World Series – Bracket 2 | CWS Bracket
Tuesday, June 19
Game 7: No. 1 Florida 6, No. 13 Texas 1 | Box Score
Wednesday, June 20
Game 8: No. 5 Arkansas 7, No. 9 Texas Tech 4 | Box Score
Thursday, June 21
Game 10: No. 1 Florida vs No. 9 Texas Tech – 7 p.m. [ESPNU]
Friday, June 22
Game 12: No. 5 Arkansas vs Winner Game 11 – 7 p.m. [ESPN]