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Arkansas falls to Kansas State in Fayetteville Regional

FAYETTEVILLE, Ar. (KNWA/KFTA) – With a 2-0 lead and arguably the nation’s best pitcher on the mound, Arkansas looked to be in great shape Saturday night in the NCAA Tournament Fayetteville Regional at Baum-Walker Stadium.

However, things changed quickly right after Razorback ace Hagen Smith walked the first two Kansas State batters in the bottom of the fifth.

The Wildcats would go on to rough up Smith, batting around while scoring six runs with the capper being Kaelen Culpepper’s three-run blast in what turn into a 7-6 win over the Razorbacks.

Chuck Ingram and Jaden Parsons both delivered RBI singles with two strikes before a sacrifice fly plated another before Culpepper’s blast.

Those were three of just five hits Kansas State had in a game in which Arkansas (44-15) had 10.

The win lifted Kansas State (34-24)  into Sunday night’s 6 p.m. game against the winner of a 1 p.m. elimination game between Arkansas (44-15) and Southeast Missouri State (35-26).

The Wildcats need only one more win to advance to the Super Regional while the Razorbacks will now have to win three or the season will come to a close.

It was the most runs given up in any game – much less any inning – this season by Smith, who entered the contest with a 1.48 ERA.

Arkansas had just taken a 2-0 lead in a top of the fifth with a rally that began with Ty Wilmsmeyer and Peyton Stovall connected on back-to-back one out singles.

Wilmsmeyer and Stovall pulled off a double steal with an error allowing Wilsmeyer to race home with the game’s first run.

Hudson White’s RBI single pushed that lead to 2-0 and Jared Sprague-Lott followed with a single, but Kansas State starter and winner Jackson Wentworth retired both Ben McLaughlin and Wehiwa Aloy to limit the damage.

The Hogs cut into Kansas State’s lead in the top of the seventh after a solo home run from Jared Sprague-Lott to make it a 6-3 ballgame.

Ben Bybee and the Hogs defense keeps the Wildcats at bay with another scoreless frame, and the Razorbacks go into the top of the eighth still down by three.

Hudson White manages to cut into the lead a little more with a RBI double, but Kansas State limited the damage to just that.

The Wildcats extend their lead some more in the bottom of the eighth as Nick English hit a solo home run to make it 7-4.

Arkansas kept battling though and in the top of the ninth, Peyton Holt hit a two-run bomb to left field to pull the Hogs within one run of the Wildcats.

However, the comeback wasn’t enough for the Hogs to win it as they fell to Kansas State 7-6.

The Hogs had 13 hits in the matchup and stranded 13 runners while Kansas State had five hits and stranded just two.

The Razorbacks will take on Southeast Missouri State in an elimination game at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Baum-Walker Stadium.

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