Isaiah Campbell was supposed to be pitcher 1B this season with Blaine Knight. He has really come into his own the past month and a half, but you always wonder which Isaiah Campbell you’re going to get.
If it’s the one that pitched against Kentucky in March or Florida last week, then Arkansas has a great chance. If it is the one that has showed up for less than two innings, things don’t look good for Arkansas.
Oregon State does not hit right-handers as well as it hits lefties, so this matchup is a little more favorable than the one for Kacey Murphy, who did a good job of dancing around some trouble.
The Razorbacks’ starting pitching actually stacks up better than Oregon State’s does tomorrow. The Beavers haven’t announced a starter, but the thought is that Kevin Abel could be on the mound after his 23-pitch relief outing tonight. I think Arkansas can hit him, especially after seeing him already, but OSU probably will be quick to the bullpen to bring in one of those lefties that Arkansas’ hitters have not been able to figure out.
Is Campbell up to the challenge? That might be the difference between bouncing back and winning a national championship, and this becoming a devastating letdown for Arkansas.
I thought about that. Knight might be able to throw for an inning (or at least a couple of outs). Reindl is probably our best choice, but he simply hasn’t been able to find the plate since the Super Regional.
We’re not hitting the baseball against Oregon State. Our bats are stone cold these first two games. We were fortunate to be ahead 3-2 in the ninth inning, I thought. Yea, we lost when a foul pop was missed, but we were getting outplayed last night before that miss. The night before we scored a few runs on a couple of bloops and some errors by Oregon State. To win, we are going to have to hit the ball like we have all year.
The only good thing I can remind myself about right now is this. We didn’t lose the College World Series yet…we still can win it, but we are going to have to get off the deck like a fighter who is floored and come back and take the other guy out. Coach Van Horn is going to have to somehow get his guys to get pissed off and angry and come at Oregon State with all they have. They are in the toughest spot in their athletic careers and they have a chance to win this series. They still can do it.
The team that pitches the best with make shift staffs and gets a key timely hit will win. Ark blew one last night but they are still in it. I like Ark pitching matchups tonight and like OSU hitting matchups. Should be hard-fought game and it is the Hawgs to win—they have the home field advantage with fans. It is hard to win championships in any sport and great opportunity for Ark. Hope they bring it home.
After seeing this team all year bat, it looks to me like we’re tentative. Instead of fouling off close pitches we are taking strikes, called out looking at strike 3. I especially remember the Kentucky series. We came out confident and everyone hit. Body language at the plate. They are pressing Starts with Cole. He hasn’t had a good series at the plate. I even wondered if van Horne would move Biggers into the leadoff position for this last game. Koch had 2 hits in the first game, then back to his typical pop fly out. Kjerstad is looking at first strike pitches that seem to be the best ball he might get, finally swing at one last night. Are we waiting for that one pitch to blast a homer? I don’t know. All I will say is the osu staff has scouted us thoroughly and their pitching plan is better than our hitting strategy. So far. Can we turn it around? I will say I think our guys feel more pressure than their guys. I’m not a coach but maybe a stern pregame speech is in order tonight. Man up. You get one shot. Don’t hold back. Play smart, hit smart. And quit whining at umpire. Let van Horne do that. Figure out what his strike zone is and adapt. All that being said I love this team, best one we’ve ever had I think. Tools are there, now use them.
From a psychological standpoint it would be the exception rather than the rule for Arkansas to outplay Oregon State a day after a loss like that. That’s true at all levels in all sports. Maybe the shock can jar the bats loose, though.
Perhaps Isaiah can give us what Knight and Murphy gave us a couple of weeks ago in back-to-back 8-inning starts. It’s doubtful, but Campbell is due a big game. He needs to forget about what’s on the line and just pitch as if he is back in high school and dominating. Since the offense isn’t stepping up, somebody has to. He needs to show Oregon State the stuff that everybody says is the best on the staff. Otherwise, we need Crash Davis and some of those Bull Durham rainouts to get our pitching in order.