Welch pinch-hit homer crowns Arkansas rally winner

1 day ago
Arkansas Athletics

FAYETTEVILLE, Arche. – Captions were made on Monday night.

Charlie Welch and Kevin Kopps solidified as Razorback folk heroes in Arkansas No.1 6-2 win over No.19 Nebraska in the NCAA Fayetteville Regional Title Game to qualify for the Super Regionals.

Welch’s three-run homerun in the bottom of the eighth sent Baum-Walker Stadium into a frenzy before Kopps ended his appearance in the relief of seven innings by slamming the door on the Cornhuskers in the ninth.

Kopps struck out eight in his seven scoreless frames, allowing just three hits in relief for starter Jaxon Wiggins. The true freshman played two innings, allowing two runs on a hit and striking out a pair.

Arkansas were down by two points in the first four innings before Casey Opitz hit a solo first home run to the left in the bottom of the fifth to reduce the deficit to one. Robert Moore then rose to plate with two strikeouts in the sixth and delivered one of the evening’s many heroic moments, tying the game two-handed with a solo right shot.

Kopps, meanwhile, continued his dominance on the mound. His superior effort set the stage for Arkansas’s four-point rally in the eighth inning, which started with a wild pitch laden with bases.

Christian Franklin returned home to give the green light before Welch cemented himself as a Baum-Walker stadium legend. The extraordinary pinch hitter, who is now 8-for-12 in pinch-hitting opportunities this season, propelled a 2-0 over the left wall to take the Hogs’ lead to 6-2.

Kopps ended the game with two strikes early in the ninth to claim his 12th win of the season and lower his best domestic ERA to 0.68.

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The Razorbacks will now host NC State in the Super Regionals, which are scheduled to start on Friday or Saturday.

NCAA Fayetteville Regional Team

(As voted by the media)

Position – Student-athletes

Seeker – Griffin Everitt (Nebraska)

First Base – Luke Roskam (Nebraska)

Second Base – Robert Moore (Arkansas)

Shortstop – Jalen Battles (Arkansas)

Third baseman – Brice Matthews (Nebraska)

Outfield – Matt Goodheart (Arkansas)

Outfield – Christian Franklin (Arkansas)

Outfield – Joe Acker (Nebraska)

Designated Hitter – Charlie Welch (Arkansas)

Starting throwers

Patrick Wicklander (Arkansas)

Ryan Fischer (NJIT)

Relief pitchers

Kevin Kopps (Arkansas)

Spencer Threshold Creek, Nebraska

Tournament MVP

Kevin Kopps (Arkansas)

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