It took one of those dreaded manufactured runs -- single, single, bunt, walk, groundout -- but Arkansas pushed across the winning run in the ninth inning of its game against St. John's on Sunday in the Stillwater Regional to lock up its ticket to the next round of the NCAA baseball tournament. And with that and Missouri State's win in the Springfield Regional, the Hogs will almost certainly host the nationally-seeded Bears in Fayetteville this weekend for the super regionals.
Here is the run-down of that situation: Because Missouri State shares its ballpark with a minor-league team that is playing home games next weekend, the Bears cannot host a super regional. Why, in that case, did the selection committee decide to give Missouri State a national seed that did the Bears no good? Your guess is as good as mine. Now, depending on whether Iowa had applied for a super regional or not -- I'm not sure -- there was a chance that Iowa could have hosted Arkansas had the Hawkeyes won the two games they needed to win against Missouri State to claim the regional.
Iowa didn't even win one. And while Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long was very careful about not counting chickens before they hatched, even he had to concede before the Missouri State game went final that it was very likely the Razorbacks would host. The outcome simply removed all doubt.
Missouri State is the national seed, but Arkansas will be the home team this weekend. Time to see if they can take advantage of an unexpected benefit of winning in Stillwater.