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 an 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 strikeouts were part of nine straight retired by the Bryant, Ark., native before Sonny DiChiara singled with two outs in the fourth. McEntire responded, however, by collecting his seventh strikeout of the night to end the inning.
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 their 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. Robert Moore’s two-run double found the left field corner to cap the two-out rally in the third.
Stovall, Turner and Lanzilli were in the mix again as part of a four-run fourth as Stovall’s double followed Webb’s one-out single before Turner found some more two-out magic with a two-run double down the right field line. Lanzilli followed all that with his second home run of the CWS, a two-run homer deep into the left field seats.
Stovall impressed 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 RBI 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 vs. Southern Miss in 2009. Stovall’s five hits are the most by a player in the history of Charles Schwab Field and match the most ever by a freshman at the CWS.
Stovall was one 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 base knocks. The offense was clutch all night, going 8-for-18 (.444) with 10 two-out RBI.
Arkansas’ victory sets up a rematch with Ole Miss tomorrow night at 6 p.m. on ESPN.