An 8-run inning that included six different pitchers for Texas, 10 straight batters reached base on three walks (two of which were with bases loaded), a hit batter and six singles. That inning, the bottom of the 6th, also included a 2 hour and 46-minute lightning delay.
Arkansas had taken a hold of the momentum in the 5th inning. There was a runner on 1st with one out and Heston Kjerstad roped a hard grounder at Texas first baseman Jake McKenzie. McKenzie bobbled the ball for a second but still got Casey Martin out at 2nd and then David Hamilton’s return throw was off-line to allow Kjerstad to reach base. The significance of that play was what happened next.
On a 1-1 count, Texas starter Nolan Kingham elevated a sinker above the belt and Arkansas DH Luke Bonfield didn’t miss it. Bonfield launched the 1-1 pitch out to left field for the first home run at the 2018 College World Series. That homer also put Arkansas up 3-2 after Texas had taken the lead in the top half of the 5th.
Up until that point, the game had been even with Kingham finding his rhythm after a shaking first inning while Arkansas starter Blaine Knight was pretty good, but his stuff wasn’t exactly on point but had been good enough to keep Texas at bay.
Tate Shaw was in the middle of the action for both of Texas’ first two runs to tie the game and then take the lead. He led off the 3rd with a triple to center field and then scored on a groundout from Ryan Reynolds. In the 5th inning, Masen Hibbeler led off with a single that Arkansas shortstop Jax Biggers couldn’t handle. Shaw then attempted to bunt Hibbeler over to 2nd but Arkansas third baseman Casey Martin couldn’t get the ball out of his glove in time to get Shaw out.
Reynolds then laid down an awkward bunt with two strikes but got the job done. Hamilton then hit a sacrifice fly to get Hibbeler home for the lead.
Texas received nice outings out of the bullpen from Andy McGuire (1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K) and Matteo Bocchi (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB).
The Horns got a few late runs in the 8th on an Austin Todd bloop two-run single and then another run in the 9th on a double to the wall in LF from Zach Zubia.
Texas will next play on Tuesday at 1 PM CT against the defending national champion Florida Gators. Chase Shugart will most likely be the starter for Texas with their season on the line.