One down, one to go: Arkansas beats North Carolina in Game 1 of Supers

·2 min read

Arkansas baseball is one game away from the College World Series.

The Razorbacks beat No. 10 in Game 1 of the Chapel Hill Super Regionals, 4-1, on Saturday. The victory means Arkansas needs just one more win, either in Sunday’s Game 2 or a potential Game 3 on Monday, to clinch a spot in Omaha for the third time since 2018.

The Diamond Hogs scored three runs in the fifth inning to take control. Peyton Stovall started events with a solo home run. Brady Slavens followed with an RBI single and Cayden Wallace’s sacrifice fly tacked on the final of the frame.

Meanwhile, Arkansas starter Connor Noland dazzled. He worked 6 2/3 innings, giving up six hits and a walk while striking out six.

North Carolina had its best chance against Noland in the first when a single, double and a walk loaded the bases with one out. But the Arkansas right-hander struck out Alberto Osuna and induced a come-backer from Mikey Madej to get out of the inning.

Noland retired 14 of the next 16 batters he faced. He was lifted with two outs in the seventh after giving up a single. By that point, he had another run of insurance thanks to another RBI single from Slavens in the half-inning before. Evan Taylor needed just one pitch to finish the frame.

North Carolina freshman Vance Honeycutt pulled the Tar Heels within striking distance heading to the ninth with a solo home run. Hagen Smith, Arkansas’ freshman who was the Razorbacks’ Saturday starter for most of the season, replaced Taylor for the final outs.

Smith gave up a single, but the Heels never had a chance to bring the tying run to the plate as the lefty recorded a strikeout and a flyout to end things.

Arkansas will look to clinch its spot in Omaha on Sunday at noon CT.