Isaiah Campbell limited Florida to two hits over 5 1/3 innings, Arkansas scored four times in five innings against first-round draft pick Brady Singer, and the Razorbacks earned a spot in the College World Series finals with a 5-2 win over the defending champion Gators on Friday night.
Campbell more than atoned for his worst performance of the season when he faced the Gators in the teams’ Southeastern Conference opening series in March. He was at his best this time, matching his career high with eight strikeouts and leaving with a 5-2 lead.
Arkansas (47-19) has never gone to the CWS finals since the NCAA Tournament went to its current structure in 1999. The Razorbacks were runner-up in 1979 in their only appearance in a championship game.
Florida (49-21), the No. 1 overall seed, lost for the first time in eight NCAA elimination games. The Gators were looking to get to the finals for the second straight year and fourth time since 2005.
Casey Martin went 4 for 5 and Dominic Fletcher homered for the second straight game to lead the Razorbacks’ offense against Singer (12-3) and Tommy Mace.
The Gators managed only three hits against Campbell (5-6), Jake Reindl and Matt Cronin — the fourth time this season they were held to three or fewer and first since May 13.
Campbell’s performance was the highlight so far in his comeback from bone spurs in his right (throwing) elbow, which forced him to take a medical redshirt in 2017. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound junior’s fastball touched the mid-90s and his slider mid-80s, and he struck out six of the first nine Florida batters and held the Gators hitless until there was one out in the fourth.
Austin Langworthy laced a ball over shortstop for the Gators’ first hit, Campbell hit Blake Reese with a pitch, and Brady Smith singled in Florida’s first run. Another run came home on a wild pitch to cut it to 4-2.
The Razorbacks were up three runs when Campbell went to the mound for the sixth. When Reindl came on to relieve, Razorbacks fans gave Campbell an ovation as he strode to the dugout. Hunter Wilson ran out to give him a hug and the rest of his teammates greeted him at the top of the steps.
Campbell’s outing was in stark contrast to his outing at Florida on March 24. That night, the 24th-round pick of the Los Angeles Angels lasted one inning and was rocked for six runs in a game the Razorbacks lost 17-2.
Singer, the No. 18 overall draft pick by the Kansas City Royals, took both of Florida’s losses in the CWS and was beaten for the second time this season by Arkansas. Martin’s double and Fletcher’s 10th home run of the season preceded Singer’s departure in the fifth. The four earned runs against Singer were the most he’s allowed since Arkansas got to him for six on March 23 in what was his first loss of the season.
The Razorbacks won three of five meetings with the Gators this season.
Oregon State’s offense keeps humming in 12-2 win over Mississippi State
Oregon State used a five-run second inning to build a big lead, Brandon Eisert pitched a season-long 5 1/3 innings of one-hit shutout relief, and the Beavers beat Mississippi State 12-2 in the College World Series on Friday to set up a bracket final rematch.
The Beavers (51-11-1) have staved off elimination three times since losing their CWS opener to North Carolina last Saturday. They beat Washington, North Carolina and now Mississippi State. Another win over the Bulldogs (39-18) on Saturday would send Oregon State to the best-of-three CWS finals for the first time since 2007.
Oregon State won the first of two straight national titles in 2006 after losing its first game in Omaha. The only other team since then to make it to the finals after a loss in its opener was the 2010 South Carolina championship team.
The Beavers continued their offensive tear against a Mississippi State that came into the game having allowed just two runs in 18 innings.
Oregon State is batting .377 and averaging 10.8 runs in Omaha after collecting 15 hits and scoring in double digits for the third time in four games.
Eisert (5-3) took over for starter Bryce Fehmel with two outs in the fourth and allowed only a walk in the fifth and a single in the eighth.
The Beavers sent 11 batters to the plate while breaking it open in the second inning. Mississippi State starter Jacob Billingsley (5-4) left after he walked the bases loaded. Keegan James walked the first batter he faced to force in a run. Adley Rutschman, batting .500 (7 for 14) with a CWS-leading nine RBIs in Omaha, followed with a two-run single as the Beavers built a 6-1 lead.
Oregon State put the game out of reach when it batted around in a four-run seventh go up 11-2.
Nick Madrigal and Trevor Larnach had three hits apiece for the Beavers.
Mississippi State, coming off a 12-2 win over North Carolina on Tuesday, managed just five hits against Fehmel and Eisert.