The hunt for the program’s first NCAA title begins Monday evening when the No. 5 Arkansas Razorbacks face Oregon State in game one of the College World Series finals. First pitch of the best-of-three series is scheduled for 6 p.m. (CT) at TD Ameritrade Park on ESPN.
The Razorbacks swept through their bracket, knocking off top-seeded and defending national champion Florida in the CWS semifinal. Redshirt sophomore Isaiah Campbell tied a career-high eight strikeouts in 5.1 innings and freshman Casey Martin was 4-for-5 with three runs scored in the Arkansas’ 5-2 win over the Gators. The program last played for an NCAA title 39 years ago during the 1979 College World Series.
Matchup: No. 5 Arkansas (47-19) vs No. 3 Oregon State (53-11-1)
TV: ESPN and WatchESPN
Talent: Karl Ravech (PXP), Kyle Peterson (Analyst), Eduardo Perez (Analyst) and Laura Rutledge (Reporter)
Radio: Razorback Sports Network from IMG
Probable Starters: (ARK) RHP Blaine Knight (13-0) vs (OSU) TBA
The CWS Championship Series will be a matchup of top-15 offenses in the country with both Arkansas and Oregon State hitting over .300 collectively and scoring more than seven runs per game this season. The Razorbacks are hitting .330 over their first three games of the College World Series and are paced by Martin and sophomore Dominic Fletcher who are both hitting .571 (8-for-14) entering Monday’s game.
Arkansas’ 47 wins are its most under head coach Dave Van Horn and the highest total by the program since a 47-15 record during the 1990 season under Norm DeBriyn.
Monday’s Probable Starter – RHP Blaine Knight
Junior Blaine Knight is set to make his second start of the 2018 College World Series, eight days after his last outing in the Razorbacks’ CWS opener against Texas. In that game, Knight pitched allowed two runs on just four hits with four strikeouts in 5.0 innings of work and improved to 13-0 this year.
Entering this year, only one Razorbacks had ever collected four hits in a College World Series and that distinction belonged to Jeff King in 1985. Over the first three games in Omaha, that list has grown by two. Fletcher was 4-for-4 with a home run and four RBI against Texas Tech (June 20) and Martin followed that with a 4-for-5 performance with three runs scored in the semifinal against Florida (June 22).
Arkansas and Oregon State have met just three times previously and not since the 1995 season. Two of the three matchups have NCAA postseason ties with the teams splitting a pair of games during the 1986 NCAA Midwest Regional in Stillwater, Okla.