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Hogs handle Cougs, advance

Fast start sends Arkansas to Super Regional

Washington State catcher Jay Ponciano, right, applies the tag to Arkansas' James McCann. (Associated Press)
Washington State catcher Jay Ponciano, right, applies the tag to Arkansas' James McCann. (Associated Press)
Rich Polikoff Special to the Spokesman-Review

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Before the Cougars had a chance to get in it, they were out of it.

Arkansas ended Washington State’s season Monday night at Baum Stadium, defeating the Cougars 7-2 in the winner-take-all championship game of the Fayetteville Regional.

The Razorbacks (43-19) will play Arizona State in this week’s Super Regional, while the Cougars finished the year with a 37-22 record.

“I’m really proud of these boys,” WSU Coach Donnie Marbut said. “They gave it all they had, and as a coach, that’s all you can ask for. We just got beat by a better team, and that’s hard to take sometimes.”

Playing as the visiting team, Arkansas jumped all over WSU starter Paris Shewey. Shewey (7-3) walked the game’s first batter, Collin Kuhn, then gave up singles to Zack Cox and Brett Eibner in a three-run first.

The Cougars got back a run on Matt Fanelli’s leadoff home run in the second, but Shewey ran into more trouble in the third. The left-hander lasted just 2 1/3 innings, giving up 5 runs on 6 hits and 4 walks. With one out and the bases loaded, Jeremy Heatley came on in relief and promptly gave up an RBI single to Tim Carver. A two-RBI double by Kuhn put the Cougars in a 6-1 hole.

The Cougars hit into double plays to end the second and third innings, and did so again in the fourth, making little use of a rare scoring opportunity. Cody Bartlett led off, and he reached second when Carver committed a pair of errors. Derek Jones followed with a grounder that went under the glove of first baseman Andy Wilkins, Arkansas’ third error of the inning.

One out later, Michael Weber singled home Bartlett, moving Jones to third. The rally quickly ended, though, when Brett Jacobs hit into a 6-4-3 double play.

That would be the last time WSU got a potential tying run as far as the on-deck circle. Arkansas added another run on a Derrick Bleeker homer off Michael Ratigan in the eighth inning.

Arkansas starter T.J. Forrest (8-0) got his second victory of the regional. Forrest gave up 2 runs, 1 earned, on 4 hits over 5 1/3 innings. Drew Smyly, who got the win against WSU on Friday, pitched 2 2/3 innings of shutout relief.

“To be honest with you, I thought that if we could hold them to seven, we’d win the ballgame,” Marbut said. “Forrest threw a really good game. It didn’t seem like he was that sharp against Grambling (Friday). Maybe he saved his A game for us.”

Weber, Bartlett, Jones and Fanelli were selected to the all-tournament team. Kuhn was named the most outstanding player of the tournament.

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