Sunday, May 31, 1987
Jim Kremers has hit balls harder and farther. But few have been any sweeter than his bloop single that kept Arkansas alive in the College World Series.
Kremers' one - out single in the bottom of the ninth inning drove in the winning run as the fourth - ranked Razorbacks defeated Georgia 5 - 4 Sunday night in an elimination game.
"That one RBI was definitely better than getting five against Texas," said Kremers, who drove in five runs in Arkansas' opening - round loss to the No. 1 Longhorns Saturday night.
Kremers' single to shallow center field over a drawn - in Georgia infield scored Rod Moore from third base with the winning run to keep the Razorbacks' national championship hopes alive.
Pokes or LSU Next
Arkansas, 51 - 15 - 1, advanced to a Wednesday night elimination game.
The Razorbacks' next opponent will be the loser of tonight's 7:10 game between first - round winners Oklahoma State and Louisiana State.
Sunday's third session of the double - elimination tournament, which included Florida State's 3 - 0 win over Arizona State, drew 12,429 to Rosenblatt Stadium.
The fans who stayed around until the end saw a dramatic finish.
Cris Carpenter, Georgia's All - America reliever, escaped a bases - loaded jam in the eighth inning to keep the game tied 4 - 4.
But Carpenter couldn't work his magic in the ninth.
"He's bailed us out of a lot of jams," Georgia Coach Steve Webber said. "It's just one of those things."
The Bulldogs, who lost 3 - 2 to Stanford earlier Sunday in the completion of Saturday night's rain - suspended game, ended their season with a 42 - 21 record.
Moore, the Arkansas center fielder whose error in the third inning helped Georgia take a 2 - 0 lead, led off the ninth inning with a single off Carpenter. After Scott Pose popped out on a sacrifice bunt attempt, Kelly Zane singled, advancing Moore to third base.
Up came Kremers, a left - handed hitting junior who leads the Razorbacks with a .391 batting average.
Shot for Sacrifice
"All that was on my mind was that there was a guy on third base and one out," Kremers said. "All I wanted was a sac fly."
Instead, Kremers came up with perhaps the biggest little hit of his career. He worked Carpenter to a 2 - 2 count, then fought off an inside fastball, punching the ball into center field.
Georgia shortstop Pat Swift, playing on the inner edge of the infield grass, turned and gave chase. But the ball landed in shallow center field, well beyond Swift's reach, and Moore trotted home with the winning run.
"I wanted to come in on him, but he was tuned, and he got it," said Carpenter, who fell to 9 - 4.
"I just learned to pitch inside this season. It's my plate, not theirs. A lot of times the inside pitch freezes the batter. It didn't tonight."
Arkansas, victimized by 13 walks in its loss to Texas, played much of the early portions of the game as if it were in a deep freeze. The Razorbacks committed three errors in the first three innings, with two coming in the third when the Bulldogs took a 2 - 0 lead.
Scott Bohlke led off the inning with a single and moved to second when Arkansas first baseman Troy Eklund misplayed Steve Carter's grounder. Roger Miller followed with a fly ball to center field.
Moore caught up to the ball at the warning track, but dropped it.
The error allowed Bohlke to score and moved Carter to third. Carter made it 2 - 0 when he scored on Derek Lilliquist's infield grounder.
Arkansas cut the lead to 2 - 1 in the fourth on a run - scoring single by Randy Bobb, playing in his first game since a pitch broke his hand May 17 in the Southwest Conference tournament.
Georgia stretched its lead to 3 - 1 in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Lilliquist.
3 - Run Homer
Bobb, a 6 - foot - 1, 185 - pound junior from Broken Arrow, Okla., then ignited the Razorbacks.
His three - run homer in the sixth inning gave Arkansas its first lead of the game. It also provided the Razorbacks with a much - needed lift.
"We just couldn't get anything going until Randy Bobb started hitting," Arkansas Coach Norm DeBriyn said. "I thought they had the momentum until Randy Bobb got that home run."
DeBriyn said he almost played Bobb against Texas, but decided at the last minute to keep him out of the lineup.
"Why did we put Randy Bobb in the lineup? Because he demanded to play," DeBriyn said, smiling. "No, really, he told our trainer to get him in the lineup. We almost used him yesterday. We did today."
Bobb said it felt good to play again.
"My hand has been hurting more when I field than when I bat," he said. "I've been wanting to get into the lineup. On the home run, I was just looking for a pitch to drive."
Arkansas' lead didn't last long. Donn Perno opened the Georgia seventh with a double to left - center field. Bohlke then hit a seeing - eye single that eluded third baseman Don Thomas and shortstop Mike Sisco and advanced Perno to third.
DeBriyn called for reliever Keith Helton to replace starter Dennis Fletcher. Carter brought in Perno with the tying run when he hit a ground ball to Thomas, who bobbled the ball momentarily, then threw to second base to force Bohlke.
Helton worked out of the inning, striking out Miller for the second out and then picking Carter off first base.
Helton, 2 - 1, retired the Bulldogs in order in the eighth and ninth inning to wind up as the winner when his teammates rallied in the bottom of the ninth.
"I think we have to give Keith Helton a lot of credit," DeBriyn said. "The key was the way he came in and shut them down. He had a good relief appearance at the regional, and that increased our confidence in him.
"He went right after them tonight."
Carpenter Escapes Jam
Carpenter, a second - team All - America selection, pitched the final four innings of the Bulldogs' game against Stanford, including two Sunday afternoon. He bailed Georgia out of a jam after Bobb's homer by striking out Sisco and Thomas to end the inning.
He masterfully worked out of trouble in the eighth. Kremers led off the inning with a single, advanced to second on a single by Andy Skeels and moved to third when Carter bobbled the ball.
Georgia brought its infield in and Carpenter got Eklund to ground out for the first out. He intentionally walked Bobb, then struck out Sisco and got pinch hitter Jim Phillips to ground out to keep the game tied.
"I think I was more mentally tired than physically tired tonight," Carpenter said.
The Razorbacks finally got to Carpenter in the ninth. Kremers' hit gave Arkansas the win. More importantly, it shot some confidence into the Razorbacks.
"We haven't played that well, but we came out on top tonight," Kremers said. "If we can put it together and get on a roll, we can still go on and win this tournament."