College World Series report: New top fits Stovall just fine

OMAHA, Neb. – Arkansas first baseman Peyton Stovall misplaced the No. 10 hitting top he uses for batting practice during the Razorbacks’ appearance at the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala.

Mark Taylor, the equipment manager for baseball, gave Stovall a new number for the NCAA Stillwater Regional and that suited Stovall just fine.

The freshman from Haughton, La., Is 12 for 24 (.500) with a six-game hitting streak in the NCAA Tournament since wearing the new top.

“I called the hotel where we stayed at for Hoover and could not find it,” Stovall said. “Next thing you know I had to ask Mr. Mark because I could not find me and he gave me No. 57. So all Stillwater Regional in Oklahoma, I was wearing No. 57.

“So when we won that Stillwater Regional and we got back, I found my BP [batting practice] top. We found it in Dylan [Leach’s] locker. I was like, ‘We’re winning, I’m going to keep wearing 57.’

“So we have it. We had it in North Carolina. I kept using 57. We did good in the super regional and we’re in Omaha now. I still have No. 10 in my bag, but I’m still hitting with 57. ”

Just baseball

Arkansas hitting coach Nate Thompson said the Razorback hitters just need to stick with their standard approaches in the larger environment and buzz of the College World Series in the 24,000-seat Charles Schwab Field.

“Yeah, it’s a dream for all these guys,” Thompson said after Friday’s workout at Creighton Preparatory School. “But you’ve just got to remember it’s just baseball. And what we’ve been doing works. We do not need to go outside of that and create something new. It’s just be ourselves and compete with our best. That’s either good enough or it’s not. But we like where we’re at. “

Ramage return

Arkansas senior Kole Ramage is the lone Razorback to have pitched at Charles Schwab Field, which was known as TD Ameritrade Park in 2018 when the Razorbacks fell to Oregon State in the CWS championship series.

Ramage worked 1 2/3 shutout innings in relief of Kacey Murphy in Game 2, with 1 hit and 1 strikeout before handing off a 3-2 lead to Barrett Loseke. Ramage struck out Trevor Larnach and induced a ground ball out from Adley Rutschman to strand two runners in the fifth inning, then made a diving catch of a bunt to start a double play as the Beavers threatened in the sixth inning.

Ramage, who allowed a run in two innings of Arkansas’ 5-0 loss in Game 3, stood to be the Game 2 winner if Arkansas had held its lead in what became a 5-3 loss.

“Absolutely, I think it takes a little of that pressure off,” Ramage said of having pitched with success at the CWS. “I’ve pitched in this park before, so I kind of know how it plays and I know how it feels to be out there so there’s definitely a little bit of pressure off of it.”

Proud brother

Arkansas hitting coach Nate Thompson spoke glowingly Friday about his older brother being hired as head baseball coach at Baylor.

Mitch Thompson was officially announced as the Bears’ head coach Wednesday. He will replace Steve Rodriguez, who resigned in May after seven seasons.

Mitch Thompson was an assistant at Baylor from 1995-2012 and helped the team to three Big 12 championships and the 2005 College World Series. The Bears were a national seed in his final season as an assistant, but lost a pair of one-run games to Arkansas in a super regional home.

“He’s the perfect man for that job,” Nate Thompson said of his brother. “Nobody loves Baylor more than him and he’s as good of a coach as there is in the country. It’s the perfect fit. He’s what they need. ”

Mitch Thompson left Baylor to become a scout for the Kansas City Royals, but re-entered coaching in 2014 when he was hired as head coach at McLennan Community College in Waco, about 7 miles from the Baylor campus. McLennan was the NJCAA World Series champion last season and won nearly 73% of its games under Thompson with postseason appearances each year.

He was also on College World Series staffs at Mississippi State in 1990 and Auburn in 1994.

“He’s a recruiter and he’s a coach, and he develops guys and holds them to a high standard,” Nate Thompson said. “All he’s done is win there. Baylor was really good when he was there and I think he’ll really help them again. ”

Arkansas shortstop Jalen Battles played for Thompson at McLennan, and the Razorbacks have signed another McLennan infielder, Hunter Grimes, for next season.

Series history

Arkansas and Stanford will play Saturday for the fifth time in the NCAA postseason.

The Razorbacks defeated the Cardinal 10-4 at the 1985 College World Series, but have lost their three previous postseason meetings. Stanford won 2-0 at the 1986 NCAA Midwest Regional in Stillwater, Okla .; 10-4 at the 1995 Midwest I Regional in Wichita, Kan .; and eliminated the 2008 Razorbacks with a 5-1 victory at the Palo Alto (Calif.) Regional.

vs. Pac

The Razorbacks are 7-13 all-time against Pac-10 / Pac-12 teams during the NCAA Tournament, including 3-3 at the College World Series.

Arkansas lost 5-3 and 5-0 to Oregon State during the 2018 College World Series championship after defeating the Beavers 4-1 in the first game. That was the Razorbacks’ most recent time to play against a Pac-12 team in the postseason.

Arkansas won College World Series games over Arizona, 10-3, in 1979 and Stanford, 10-4, in 1985, and lost 7-2 to Arizona in Omaha in 2004.

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