OMAHA, Neb. – It was simply Will McEntire’s night on Tuesday at Charles Schwab Field as he led Arkansas to an 11-1 win over Auburn in an elimination game at the College World Series.
In his eighth start of the season, McEntire was spectacular in shutting down the Tigers’ lineup. The redshirt sophomore pitched with the lead all night after the Hogs quickly scored a run in the top of the first thanks to a leadoff double from Braydon Webb and RBI-single from Peyton Stovall, who also had a historic night.
McEntire used his defense in the bottom of the first to work a 1-2-3 inning when a double play from Jalen Battles erased a one-out walk. McEntire took it from there, striking out the next six Tigers. Those six punch outs were part of nine straight retired by the Bryant, Ark. native before Sonny DiChiara singled in the fourth. McEntire responded with his seventh strikeout of the night. The big righty hung zeroes in the fifth and sixth allowing only a single before Auburn finally got on the scoreboard with a solo homer from Bobby Pierce to lead off the seventh.
McEntire allowed just one run on three hits with a career-best nine strikeouts – the second-most by a Razorback in CWS history – over a career-best seven innings to earn the win.
With McEntire cruising, the Razorbacks kicked it into high gear at the plate in the third with three runs to stretch the lead. A two-out walk to Michael Turner extended the inning and put runners on first and second for Chris Lanzilli, who punched a single through the right side to score Stovall from second. A Robert Moore two-run double found the left field corner to cap the two-out rally. Stovall, Turner and Lanzilli were in the mix again as part of a four-run fourth. A Stovall double followed Webb’s one-out single and Turner found some more two-out magic with a two-run double down the right field line. Lanzilli followed with his second home run of the CWS, a two-run homer into the left field seats.
Stovall was impressive with the first five-hit game of his collegiate career. Moving up to the two-hole in Dave Van Horn’s lineup on Tuesday, the freshman produced three singles, a double, three RBIs and two runs scored. His five-hit game made him the 16th player in CWS history to record five-plus hits in a game and the first since North Carolina’s Dustin Ackley in 2009 vs. Southern Miss. Stovall’s five hits are the most by a player at Charles Schwab Field during the CWS and match the most ever by a freshman at the CWS.
Stovall led a group of five Hogs to record multi-hit games in the win. Webb, Turner, Lanzilli and Moore all contributed multiple hits to the Hogs’ 16 total hits. The offense was clutch all night, going 8-for-18 (.444) with 10 2-out RBIs.
Auburn starter Mason Barnett was pinned with the loss after giving up four runs on five hits over 2.2 innings. DiChiara led the Tigers’ offense with two of the team’s four hits.
The Arkansas victory sets up a rematch with Ole Miss tomorrow night at 6 p.m. on ESPN.