Brady Tygart regional

Freshman right-hander Brady Tygart throws a pitch during Saturday's game against Oklahoma State. Tygart was the losing pitcher in the Cowboys' 14-10 victory over Arkansas, which forced another game in the Stillwater Regional.

STILLWATER, Okla. — Spectators craned their necks and held their breath as the ball traveled high and deep down the left field line Sunday night. Third base umpire Derek Mollica emphatically signaled “fair ball,” unleashing a frenzy at O’Brate Stadium. Nolan McLean, down 0-2 in the count with two outs, had just hit a two-run home run, giving No. 7 Oklahoma State a 14-10 lead over Arkansas, which it held onto to force a decisive Game 7 in the Stillwater Regional.

It was a gut punch for the Razorbacks, who took an 8-7 lead on a home run in the eighth, and rallied again to tie it at 10 in the ninth. They were three outs from advancing to the super regional round, but the Cowboys, who hung 29 runs on the Missouri State Bears earlier Sunday to get to the regional final, could not be stopped at the plate.

“It was a battle,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said in the postgame press conference. “Nobody wanted to lose.”

The Hogs remained hot at the plate, but the pitching woes were more prevalent than they were in Saturday’s win over Oklahoma State. Once again, they got just four outs from their starting pitcher, Jaxon Wiggins. The sophomore right-hander surrendered three earned runs on four hits, walked two batters and struck out a pair.

Sophomore righty Will McEntire ate up 5 ⅓ innings in relief, keeping the contest within reach for Arkansas. He entered in a tie game and left with a one-run deficit, giving the bats plenty of wiggle room to pull off a comeback. After the Cowboys tagged senior left-hander Evan Taylor for an unearned run in the top of the eighth, they did just that.

The Razorbacks picked up an unearned run of their own on a throwing error by second baseman Roc Riggio. A walk and a fielder’s choice later, graduate senior catcher Michael Turner belted a two-run shot over the right field fence to give Arkansas its first lead since the first inning.

“The last two games have probably been the most fun games I’ve ever been a part of,” Turner said. “A lot of offense. It’s fun to be a part of it and watch it as well.”

Needing just three outs to move on, Van Horn elected to go with senior right-handed pitcher Connor Noland to finish the job. Just two days removed from his best start in weeks, the Razorback ace did not look the part.

Noland walked two of the first three hitters he faced, and both scored on a double by first baseman David Mendham. Junior left fielder Zack Gregory slipped on the play, preventing him from catching the ball or simply keeping it in front of him, and it cost the Hogs the lead.

Down a run, Noland induced a blooper to center field, but it fell for a hit, and Van Horn went back to the bullpen. Senior righty Elijah Trest allowed another double to make it 10-8 before stranding a pair of runners in scoring position.

Freshman first baseman Peyton Stovall started another Arkansas rally in the bottom of the ninth, reaching on an error by shortstop Marcus Brown. Gregory singled to keep the line moving, and both scored on senior designated hitter Brady Slavens’ two-out single, leveling the score at 10 and sending the game to the 10th inning.

Freshman right-hander Brady Tygart took the mound for the 10th, but his outing went south quickly. Riggio led off with a ground-rule double, and after another hit and a stolen base, the Cowboys had two runners in scoring position with nobody out. Tygart fanned Jaxson Crull, a pinch runner in the ninth, to announce his presence with the first out.

Aidan Meola, who entered as a defensive replacement at third base, hit a comebacker to Tygart, which caromed off his foot and into the outfield for a two-run single and a 12-10 Cowboy lead. After another strikeout and two more strikes, McLean hit his two-run homer, effectively snuffing the Hogs’ hopes of taking Monday off.

Arkansas and Oklahoma State are set to square off one last time at 6 p.m. Monday. The winner will advance to the super regional round against the VCU-North Carolina victor in the Chapel Hill Regional.

“We'll respond well,” Turner said. “We're swinging it hot right now, and we trust everybody up and down the lineup.”

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