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At one very specific point in time Wednesday night, Arkansas baseball was a second away from winning its first College World Series in program history.
The Razorbacks had Oregon State down to its last out, up 3-2 and leading the series 1-0. Nick Madrigal, the No. 4 overall pick in the MLB draft and theoretically the Beavers’ best shot at a game-tying hit, had just grounded out. With a man on third, OSU shortstop Cadyn Grenier fell behind 1-2 and eventually hit a pop-up past first base and into foul territory.
That was the moment, all the ball needed to was find a glove for an easy out and the Razorbacks would be champions. Here’s what happened instead:
Three Razorbacks converged on the ball’s landing spot and none of them figured out who should have caught the ball. The rest of the game played out in as painful a way as you could imagine.
It just kept getting worse for Arkansas
So that was step 1 of Arkansas’ path to choking away a College World Series win. Here’s step 2:
And step 3:
By the end of the Razorbacks’ nightmare of a half-inning, the Beavers were up 5-3 after Grenier’s game-tying RBI single and Trevor Larnach’s game-winning two-run homer.
Arkansas failed to score in the bottom of ninth, so the College World Series Finals will go to a winner-take-all Game 3 on Thursday. And in case you were curious, Luke Heimlich started Game 1 on Tuesday for Oregon State, so we probably won’t be seeing him on the CWS mound again (or any mound, possibly).
Win Thursday, and Arkansas’ players can laugh about this as the low point in an incredible journey to a championship. Lose, and it’s going to be pretty hard to forget they had left a chance to win it all simply floating in the air.
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