The Razorbacks have dealt a lot of misery to Florida State head coach Mike Martin over the years. Arkansas has won both regional and super regional titles in Tallahassee and kept the FSU from going to Omaha with a super regional win in Fayetteville. Saturday Martin’s miracle Seminoles put Arkansas in a huge hole with a 1-0 win on the opening day of the 2019 College World Series.
By going 0-7 with runners in scoring position the Hogs wasted one of the best starting pitching performances in the long history of Arkansas at the CWS. Isaiah Campbell scattered five hits and shut out FSU for seven innings while striking out ten. He appeared to get stronger as the game progressed setting down the Seminoles in order in the seventh.
“Isaiah pitched beautiful baseball for them,” Martin said afterward. “It was a game if you could go to a baseball game every night you would be big time baseball fans. I know it’s disappointing for the other team. They had a lot of things go our way.”
“He did everything he could do to give us an opportunity to win,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn lamented. “He probably didn’t have his best stuff early. Kind of kicked it in gear in the middle. Got out of a jam or two.”
“Absolutely I don’t think it’s my last time pitching as a Razorback,” Campbell predicted in the post game press conference. “This team has battled and competed all year. That’s what we’re gonna do. It starts Monday. We just got to come out against Texas Tech, hit the ball and pitch really well. Just play Arkansas baseball.”
As good as Campbell was FSU junior left-hander Drew Parrish matched him and then some. Parrish tossed a five-hit, eight inning shutout before giving way to outfielder/reliever J.C Flowers who set the Hogs down in order in the ninth.
Arkansas hit the ball hard several times but right at Seminole infielders, especially in the third when Matt Goodheart sent a one-out liner to second with two runners in scoring position. Christian Franklin was moving toward home when the ball came off the bat. He was doubled off trying to get back to the bag on a nice throw Nander De Sedas. Van Horn noted that Martin had gambled in that situation and it paid off.
“They ran the infield in on us and Goodheart hit one off the end of the bat right at him,” Van Horn recalled. “If they stay back we get a run out of it. Kind of the way the game works. We got to make solid contact there.”
But Parrish was clearly dominant in the game, pitching out of trouble by striking out both Goodheart and Casey Martin in the eighth after Franklin reached third with one out.
“We knew he was gonna throw a lot of mix,” Ezell said of Parrish. “Throw a lot of change and the curve. He did a good job of locating and mixing in the fastball.”
“He threw a lot of strikes tonight and he was ahead in the count a lot,” Van Horn added. “He really didn’t double up too much. He wouldn’t give us a fastball to hit. To me when he’d throw a fastball he was just setting up the next pitch which was usually change up.”
Parrish’s head coach explained the devastating effect of that change up, telling reporters, “When you can take a baseball from sixty feet six inches and throw one pitch at 91 mph and the next one at 71 mph it literally is astounding. That change up will take him a long way. We’re very proud of Drew Parrish.”
The Seminoles caught several breaks in the game including in the top of the ninth when the winning run was scored. With Flowers on first after reaching on a lead off hit-by-pitch, Hog shortstop Casey Martin was in the process of trying to turn a six-three double play when the ball came out of his glove after tagging Flowers on Carter Smith’s hopper toward the bag at second. Martin fielded the ball in front of second and appeared to be looking at Smith, not Flowers, when he ended up swiping his glove at Flower’s midsection.
Van Horn described the play like this: “They were stealing on the pitch it looked like to me. The shortstop was breaking to the bag a little bit late. I think it was all so tight in there that he didn’t really have a chance to get in glove in there and make the tag without hard contact. He lost his glove and everything. That’s just the way it is. The way the game works.”