Their first outing in the Manhattan Regional had been flat and punchless. So on Saturday, Arkansas tried to get its momentum back with a 3-1 win over Wichita State, sending the Shockers home and giving the Hogs at least one more day in the NCAA baseball tournament.
The offense that hadn't been able to do much of anything against Bryant pounded out 12 hits against Wichita State. And the pitching staff all but silenced the bats of a Shockers team that had scored 11 runs in the loss to Kansas State on Friday. Despite appearing to "struggle" early in the game -- and that term is perhaps different than him than for most pitchers -- Ryne Stanek allowed just two hits over 7.1 innings, though he did also walk six batters.
If the Hogs can continue to play these kinds of games -- low-scoring, but not too low-scoring -- it's not a stretch to see Friday night's loss becoming nothing more than a speed bump. But they will have to play Bryant at least one more time, and Kansas State (which beat the Shockers by scoring 20 runs) also looms in the future. The Saturday victory was encouraging and important, but it was only a first step.