Fayetteville: Wrapping Up Day 2
By - June 04, 2006
The Fayetteville Regional is done for tonight, and the action was as good as baseball gets. It's been a weekend of clutch performances, back-and-forth contests, and tons of raw emotion. Here's a recap of the best, and worst, of today's action, along with more responses to fan comments.
First, let's hand out the game balls....
James Ewing, Arkansas - What a difference a day makes! Ewing goes from having a nightmare of a Friday to being the most beloved Hog in the Razorback Nation. With the bases loaded and Arkansas six outs away from having their season ended, Ewing's base-clearing double to right center was not only the first hit of the game for Arkansas, but also all they needed to win today's game. Of course, Ewing's hit threw the momentum solidly over to the Razorback side, and they cruised after that to the 6-2 win, but Ewing was the catalyst that kept the Hogs playing for at least one more day.
Chad Rothford, Oral Roberts - There are baseball players everywhere, from t-ballers to major leaguers, that dream of having a night like Rothford had tonight. Rothford was 3-4, with a home run and a game-winning double. Rothford is responsible for driving in all 5 ORU runs tonight, and should ORU win the regional, he is the definite favorite for Regional MVP. He certainly played the role tonight.
Christian Staehely, Princeton - This guy took a heartbreak of a loss, but he pitched one amazing ballgame for Princeton. This guy is the real deal, and he'll be striking fear all over the Northeast next season. Staehely threw seven innings of no-hit baseball against Arkansas, before tiring out in the 8th, in which he also admitted that the crowd got to him. I know it means nothing to Staehely and Princeton right now, but Staehely should take solace in his performance. No one this season, including Alabama's Wade LeBlanc and Washington's Tim Linecum, came close to no-hitting the Razorbacks. Staehely came 6 outs away from it.
The Trough and Razorback fans - When Princeton took the lead in the 8th, Arkansas fans, sparked by their student section known as the Trough, refused to see their team lose. With a lot of encouragement (some in tones that weren't so positive), the Hogs rose to the challenge and scored 5 runs in the 8th to play another day at Baum Stadium. Expect the biggest crowd of the year when Arkansas and Oklahoma State meet up at 2 pm Sunday.
So what was the bad from today? Well, the bad is the sheer fact that Princeton is out of the tournament. I didn't know what to expect from a team that came into the tournament with a 19-24-1 record. They turned out to be a really impressive bunch. Princeton showed energy, tenacity, and toughness this weekend, refusing to give up or go down easily. A lot of teams are getting blown out this tournament year, but Princeton kept both Oklahoma State and Arkansas in tight matches. Erik Stiller and Christian Staehely are big-time pitchers, worthy to be in the starting rotations of the best teams in college baseball, and Stiller is definitely worth drafting next week. The Princeton fans were loyal, loud, and gracious, much like their team. They were simply a pleasure to watch, and it's a shame that we won't get to see them more this season.
The ugly? Well, the ugly again goes to the wireless servers at Baum, who at one point had us knocked out for hours. Let us all hope and pray that the troubles will finally end tomorrow. I apologize to readers for the delayed updates at times...whenever the server goes down, I write everything onto MS Word and then paste the information when the server goes back up, so at times I know there was a rush of information! I want to give live updates ASAP and let everyone know what's going on, but no matter what, you'll get the information somehow!
Now, for the final fan comment of the night...thanks again Josh for following the blogs and your kind words. ORU is definitely the team to beat right now, but I agree that Arkansas does have a chance. Arkansas knew from the beginning of the day that Daryl Maday would start tomorrow if they won, while Oklahoma State had no clue as to who they'll start at the time of the post-game press conference. The pitching depth is in the Hogs' favor. The key for Arkansas to win is to attack early...get on the board and keep hitting. They can't rely on too many late inning heroics to win ball games. OSU is going to get their hits: Wright, Carr, and Corey Brown are outstanding hitters. Arkansas can't afford any offensive woes; if they hit well, they have a chance to pull this regional out.
I encourage everyone to send me questions and post their thoughts! I'll try to respond to all of them ASAP, but I enjoy hearing from all readers! Let me know your questions and thoughts anytime!
Until tomorrow, I'll see you later! I'll leave you though with a feature story on the Razorback Diamond Dolls. Good night....Arkansas vs. Oklahoma State at 2 pm, winner vs. Oral Roberts at 7!
Posted by at 12:01 AM on June 04, 2006