Wilkins homers, Arkansas beats Fullerton 10-6
The Associated Press
OMAHA, Neb. — No team came into the NCAA baseball tournament struggling any more than Arkansas.
Right now, no team seems better.
With Andy Wilkins homering and driving in five runs, Arkansas started off the College World Series with a 10-6 victory over Cal State Fullerton on Saturday.
The Razorbacks reached a double-digit run total for the fourth time in six games. Nine of their runs scored with two outs.
No doubt, coach Dave Van Horn likes the way his team has responded to his challenge after the Hogs lost 10 of 13 games heading into the national tournament.
“The No. 1 goal was to win the national championship, and the only way to do that was to play in Omaha. That’s all they had left,” Van Horn said. “I asked them what people are going to remember this team by — the one that started great and faded or the one that finished strong?
“They took it to heart and have been lights out.”
No one has been better than Wilkins. The sophomore first baseman is batting .593 (16 for 27) with four homers, five other extra-base hits, and 17 RBIs in six NCAA tournament games.
“I’m trying to keep it going,” he said. “I got hot in the Norman Regional and tried to keep it going in the super regionals, and now we’re here. I’m doing what I can to help the ballclub.”
The Hogs (40-22) play Monday night against LSU. Fullerton (47-15) meets Virginia in a Bracket 1 elimination game.
Ochinko, Schimpf homer in LSU’s 9-5 win over Cavs
AP Sports Writer
OMAHA, Neb. — LSU found another unlikely hero at the College World Series.
No, Sean Ochinko’s go-ahead three-run homer in the Tigers’ 9-5 victory over Virginia on Saturday night didn’t have the dramatic flair of Warren Morris’ improbable winner in the 1996 championship game against Miami.
But it sure was big for a guy who hadn’t gone deep in 32 games and had already struck out twice when he stepped to the plate in the fifth inning.
“It was good to be able to help the team and drive in some runs, even though I struck out three times, too,” Ochinko said. “I’m not going to lie to you guys, that was the most important baseball moment of my life.”
Ryan Schimpf’s two-run blast in the eighth broke open the game for the Tigers, who extended their season-high winning streak to 11 games.
The Tigers (52-16), ranked No. 1 in the major polls and the No. 3 national seed, play Southeastern Conference rival Arkansas on Monday night. Virginia (48-14-1), in the CWS for the first time, meets Cal State Fullerton in an elimination game the same day.
“The bats came to life,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “Ochinko’s home run turned the tide, and Schimpf came through and we were able to separate ourselves a little bit. It’s nice to win the first game of the College World Series. I don’t know how many years it’s been since LSU has done that.”
The Associated Press