As freshmen go, they don’t come much more confident than Oklahoma State’s Roc Riggio. On Sunday, he helped lead the Cowboys to two wins, including going 5 for 7 with 7 RBIs in a 29-15 win over Missouri State that was the most ever scored in an NCAA Tournament game. Somehow, the Cowboys pulled that off despite starting the game down 0-12.
Still, no matter what happens going forward, his weekend will partly defined by what happened the night before vs Arkansas, when he helped the Cowboys build a 10-5 lead while hitting hitting 4-for-4 with a walk, double, 5 RBIs and this homer:
Riggio, a native Southern Californian, apparently can’t resist a good meme and had to bust out the Jack Sparrow prance on his way to third base, which triggered Auburn-dancing-on-the-Razorback-logo PTSD for some Arkansas fans.
The fancy-man trotting and preening soon came to a halt, though.
Arkansas Baseball Goes Supernova
The Razorbacks (40-20) showed they could pirate too, mercilessly raiding the scoreboard for eight runs in the top of the eighth to stun regional host Oklahoma State (41-21) with a wild 20-12 win on Saturday night at O’Brate Stadium.
The next night, Oklahoma State returned the favor with a 14-10 win in 10 innings that sets up a winner-take-all contest for the Stillwater Regional on Monday at 6 pm on ESPN2.
Both teams’ offenses are smoking hot.
On Saturday night, the Razorbacks passed over the whole getting-on-base thing in favor of sending ICBMs over the fence. Arkansas matched a season high with seven home runs on Saturday night, including Jalen Battles’ titanic grand slam in the top of the eighth inning. Robert Moore (2), Chris Lanzilli (1), Brady Slavens (1), Michael Turner (1) and Cayden Wallace (1) also socked homers as part of the Hogs’ massive offensive outburst.
“You got breeze blowing out. It’s not like it’s 20 miles an hour, but it’s blowing out a little bit, the ball’s really flying,” Van Horn said when asked what’s causing the flurry of homers for both teams. “We noticed it in batting practice. We noticed it the other day in our hour and 15 minute practice and the wind was kind of blowing in from right, but the ball was still traveling.”
In all, five Hogs racked up multi-hit performances on Saturday, led by Lanzilli and Peyton Stovall’s three-hit efforts. Five Arkansas players also tallied multiple runs batted in, including four each from Battles, Lanzilli, Moore and Turner.
“I was looking for a fastball first pitch, and once I hit it, I kind of blacked out,” Battles said of his grand slam. Last year, against LA Tech, same thing. I really don’t remember it. I hit it and I just black out. It felt good off the bat.” Robert Moore added: “That was probably my favorite moment as a Razorback.”
By the time the smoke finally cleared, Arkansas was having a field day poking the Pokes for Roc Riggio’s premature celebratory prance. Here’s 247Sports’ Danny West:
And the fans, as you can see below, were even more ruthless.
Hall of Fame of Roc Riggio Prance Mocking Posts
Technically not a Riggio-er, but so good anyway:
And, finally, this one making reference to Devo Davis at the end of the Auburn-Arkansas basketball game a few months ago:
Arkansas vs Oklahoma State Sunday Night Recap
For the second night in a row, Arkansas and Oklahoma State exchanged blows all game long. The two teams combined for 24 runs on 29 hits on Sunday after totaling 32 runs on 29 hits in yesterday’s thriller.
The Razorbacks took an early 1-0 lead on Brady Slavens’ RBI single in the bottom of the first, but the Cowboys stormed back with plenty of offense of their own to open a 6-3 lead after five innings of play. The Hogs refused to back down, though, as Cayden Wallace’s two-RBI single in the bottom half of the sixth cut Arkansas’ deficit to one.
Wallace finished the night 3-for-6 at the plate with two runs scored and three runs batted in. The Razorback third baseman homered for the fourth consecutive game, swatting a solo blast to left center in the fifth – his fifth dinger in his last four games – to take over the team lead in home runs with 15.
While Oklahoma State led, 7-5, entering the bottom of the eighth, Michael Turner was ready to play hero. With his team down by one, Turner blasted a go-ahead two-run homer to right to put Arkansas up, 8-7, and in position to lock down a win in the ninth to send the Hogs to their 10th NCAA Super Regional in program history.
The Cowboys, however, had other plans. Oklahoma State broke out for three runs in the top half of the ninth to take a 10-8 lead before turning the ballgame over to closer Nolan McLean to secure the victory and stave off elimination for at least one more day.
The Hogs were once again not finished. Slavens’ second and third RBI of the night tied the game at 10 apiece as he brought home Zack Gregory and Peyton Stovall with a single down the right field line to force extras.
Unfortunately, Arkansas’ comeback magic would run out in the 10th. Oklahoma State scored four in the top half of the inning to put the game away for good, pulling out a 14-10 win over Arkansas. (via Razorback Communications).
Heading into Monday night, Cayden Wallace said: ““I think we’ll respond well, and I think our pitchers are going to go out there and give us their all just like we will. We’ll just have to outscore them if we have to.”
Meanwhile, the Cowboys will have to summon a lot of energy one final after playing playing baseball across three games for a total of 14 hours and 34 minutes in a 29-hour span. “For about 7 bucks a gallon, we’ll go refuel as soon as we get done here,” Oklahoma State baseball coach Josh Holliday said on Sunday night. “We’ll be ready to play tomorrow. We’ll be ready.”
If they are indeed ready, that aggravating prancing may just make a return.
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More from Arkansas Baseball Team Members
More excerpts from the Arkansas vs Oklahoma State press conference:
Robert Moore on comeback: “We’re good hitters, and we believe in each other. And I remember we went down either 9-5 or 10-5, Stovall and I were talking and we believe that we could have put up 10 in an innings, so as long as we have outs, we believe that we have enough firepower to get us back in the game and have a chance to win it.”
“The only way you really come back in games where you’re down five, six runs is you take your walks, you don’t make errors, and someone pops a couple balls. So when we weren’t chasing his pitches and we were taking our walks, and then we eventually took the lead because of that, especially against their dude, it gave us a chance.”
Van Horn on Will McEntire: “I thought he was great. One reason we wanted to get the ball to him is because he’s proven that he’s just going to be around the play with everything and a fast ball cutter, slider, whatever you want to call it, and that’s what he did. He came in and got that last out in the eighth and it was hit pretty good, and then he came out and just really threw the ball well there in the ninth.”
On finishing the job Sunday night:
Dave Van Horn – “Obviously it’s the best position to be in of the three teams that are left, but we still have to finish it up. So we’ll have an opportunity to watch who we’re going to play tomorrow and then come out and play tomorrow night and get focused in. And our guys, they get it, they know that we haven’t done anything. They still know some heartbreak from last year. They know what it’s all about.”
Robert Moore – “Last year everyone had their bats packed to go to Omaha and 48 hours we’re done; we haven’t done anything yet.”