Arkansas Win Made Sweeter By UNC Coach’s Indirect Reference to Crash-and-Burn Vols

The Razorbacks’ 4-3 win over North Carolina early Sunday night alone was sweet for Arkansas baseball fans.

This is the 11th time in school history that the Arkansas Razorbacks have gone to the College World Series — and the third time in the last four eligible seasons. The Hogs did it in dramatic fashion after going 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning. Then the Hogs’ bats heated up in a hurry, getting the bases to load in time for Brady Slavens to step up to the plate and the role of hero.

A few protracted lightning-fast delays made game two of the NCAA Super Regional an all-day affair, but it was all worth it as Slavens muscled a walkoff single through a tucked-in tar heels infield to cap a two-run rally in the ninth inning . “We knew the potential of this team all year,” said Slavens. “I think we like to play with the pressure and have our backs to the wall. We click at the right time.”

“It was a top notch Super Regional,” Arkansas baseball coach Dave Van Horn said afterwards. “The UNC coaches, players and fans have been as good as any I have ever encountered.”

The North Carolina baseball coach, in turn, complimented Van Horn’s team: “What a fight. I want to congratulate Arkansas,” Scott said Forbes. “They are a damn good team and they play right. They don’t brag and keep their mouths shut.”

This is a reference to the trash talk and rampant showmanship that has overtaken certain parts of college baseball, particularly those in and around Knoxville, Tennessee. Tony Vitello’s cocky, pushy bunch looked like the best team in the nation for most of the year until the wheels fell off at home to Notre Dame in the Super Regional this weekend.

The world churns after Tennessee baseball

As the dust cleared in Game 3 on Sunday afternoon, only the Fighting Irish stood with a 7-3 win that appears to have united the rest of the nation in an online jamboree of glee that few programs outside of Kentucky basketball can match have ever experienced .

Razorback fans join hands with Ole Miss, Auburn, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State fans and jump for joy over Tennessee’s grave. Sure, it would have been nice to beat Tennessee wide in the College World Series, but it’s far better not to get them into the CWS in the first place.

CBS sports radio host Danny Kannell tweeted: “Congratulations to Tennessee Baseball on a great season. So many memorable moments… flipping opponents rounding bases, coach being thrown for chest kick referee, crying over balls and punches and of course soooo many pimped up bat flips… what a legacy. #DaddyGang“Oh, and let’s not forget the one-finger salute from Vols right fielder Jordan Beck in the regional finals win over Georgia Tech.

In the end, Tennessee baseball fans adopted the team’s identity by wearing t-shirts that read “Classless Against Catholics” in the Super Regional against Notre Dame. They tried to display the kind of good humor their favorite cocky team could never muster.

If you really want to drink from the fire hose, which is anti-Vols sentiment these days, just take a stroll through the comments here:

There’s some gorgeous little fellows in there from the Pope with Hogdor cheeksto Devo Davis dives all over Tennessee baseballto a father of a high school recruit who launches a Tomahawk cruise missile right into Vitello’s reputation, but my favorite so far is this one:

Overall, many Razorback fans were very impressed with the way the Tar Heels wore and played. Although North Carolina lost, they did so with their heads held high. Some Arkansas fans on social media suggested that Scott Forbes — and not Tony Vitello — should be when Van Horn retires.

Arkansas Baseball vs. UNC Recap

North Carolina – playing as a visiting team – scraped their way to the top of ninth place to take the afternoon’s first lead when Patrick Alvarez struck in the middle. However, Alvarez’s exploits were immediately called into question when Jalen Battles led with an infield single down the left side of the infield from the end of the ninth.

Freshman Peyton Stovall laced his third of the afternoon into the right midfield gap but hogs in the corners with no outs. After a walk to pinch hitter Kendall Diggs, Braydon chased Webb’s Fielder’s Choice Battles home to equalize and made Slavens a hero.

Stovall led by three hits as the Razorbacks scored 12 in the win. Slavens, Battles and Michael Turner all had two hits, with Slavens driving in two. Battles got the Hogs starting with an RBI double in the fourth and Webb added his 16th homer in the fifth, a solo shot. Zack Morris took the win with relief and recorded the final from the ninth. Will McEntire was outstanding in 5.2 scoreless innings. The big right-hander scattered three hits, walked two and fanned out four. (Razorback Communications)

“That super regional win was special because that’s how it went last year. It never gets old,” Van Horn said afterwards.

“I remember Jalen Battles coming to me during my last fight,” Slavens added. “He said that’s why we came back.”

More from Arkansas Baseball

Dave Van Horn on Lightning Delays: “It didn’t matter. Yes we were there, we wanted to be there by midnight if needed. And those games last week, it was a pathetically hot marathon game. We played a five hour game, a nine inning five hour game. It’s almost hard to do, so yeah, it definitely, it set us up a bit.

Brady Slavens extends the season’s arc: “All year we’ve known how good we can be, the potential of the team. It’s not going to work out all year round for us, and we knew that. But I think this team likes the feeling of having their backs against the wall. I think for some reason that really makes us more confident and lets us hit more. And I guess we like to play with the pressure. And so it’s just been a crazy year and we clicked at the right time and I’m just so happy that we can go to Omaha.

Slavens on attending the College World Series in 2013: “Being from Kansas City, it’s a short drive. And I remember I had a picture of me and my dad on my phone and I’m planning to do that again from the outfield just as a cool little trip.

Dave VanHorn: “

Coach Dave Van Horn: “I know that in autumn training I thought we had a good team. If we stayed healthy, we didn’t really have a deep team of players. We weren’t sure exactly what role the pitchers played, but we felt we had enough arms to pull it off. And who knew the league would get so tough? I mean, especially in our division, I think there’s already two or three other teams from our division that go to the World Series and we had to play those guys.

“It was just a tough year and we beat each other and it set us up for the end of the season. But I don’t know extra. I think our teams work hard all the time. So I don’t know if I saw that, I think we would talk to them about what we’re trying to do and that’s the end. We talked about finishing because we weren’t quite finished last year.”

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