What do you know about Stanford, Arkansas’ first opponent in the College World Series

One of Arkansas’ first competitors in the 2022 season will be one of its last.

The Razorbacks will begin the College World Series with a non-eliminator game against Stanford on Saturday at Schwab Field in Omaha, Neb. The game will begin at 1 PM CST and will be televised by ESPN.

Arkansas lost 5-0 to the Cardinal on February 27 in Round Rock, Texas, during the Round Rock Classic. Three Stanford pitchers, left-handed Quinn Matthews, right-handed Tommy O’Rourke and Braden Montgomery, held the Razorbacks two strokes on a windy day when the wind was blowing over the Dell Diamond.

Stanford (47-16) was the regular season and championship champion in the Pac-12. The Cardinal entered the NCAA Championship with 16 consecutive victories against the mostly conference competition.

The NCAA Championship Selection Committee awarded Stanford the No. 2 overall in this year’s tournament, but the Cardinal had to win five playoffs to advance to the College World Series, the final of which was a 10-4 win over Connecticut in Game 3 of the Stanford Super Regional Day Monday.

Stanford is the top-ranked team remaining in the tournament. Top seed Tennessee was eliminated Sunday in a loss to Notre Dame in the Super Regionals. The Cardinal played eight NCAA games after the season ended.

Joint opponents of Stanford and Arkansas include Louisiana-Lafayette and Indiana’s Round Rock Classic, and the Grand Canyon, which split between two games with the Cardinal during the regular season.

In matches against common opponents, Arkansas is 3-0 and Stanford is 3-1. The Razorbacks defeated the Grand Canyon in their first NCAA Championship game in Stillwater, Okla.

Here’s more to know about the Cardinal:

Close calls

One week before Tennessee’s rebound, Stanford nearly became the top-ranked team eliminated from the NCAA Championship.

The Cardinal scored three games in the bottom of the ninth inning to win 4-3 over Texas State in the decisive game at Stanford Regional Stadium. Drew Bowser and Tommy Troy hit home singles in the ninth inning to equalize the game, and Stanford won when Trevor Haskins hit the field 3-2 to score for Eddie Park.

Texas State won 5-2 in the first meeting between the two teams to break the Cardinal’s 17-game winning streak. That sent Stanford into the losers’ category, where he fought back by winning three games in two days.

Cardinals defeated UC-Santa Barbara and Texas State by matching results 8-4 before returning against Texas State in the regional tournament.

Stanford also trailed in its Super Regional game against UConn by losing 13-12 in Game One. The Cardinal won 8-2 on Sunday before winning 10-5 on Monday.

Omaha experience

Several Stanford players played in the College World Championships last year and came close to participating in a national championship.

The Cardinal lost 10-4 to North Carolina State and defeated Arizona 14-5 in a elimination match to set up another elimination match against Vanderbilt.

Stanford led the Commodores 5-4 with two challengers and no primary sprinter before collapsing in the ninth inning that included a walk, a throw foul, and two wild pitches during the same hitting that allowed Vanderbilt to score a tie and win. The Commodores won 6-5.

Vanderbilt advanced to the College World Series Tournament later in the week when North Carolina was forced to forfeit its remaining games due to covid-19 protocols.

This is the first time Stanford has gone to the College World Series in consecutive years since the Cardinal went five seasons in a row between 1999-2003. The program is in the 18th College World Series.

David Esker, the fifth-year Stanford coach, will lead his third team to Omaha. He was the California coach for the Golden Bears trip in 2011.

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Stanford is one of the best home batting teams in the country with a score of 117 to finish ninth nationally.

The Cardinal was particularly dynamic with the long ball during the Super Regional and Regional matches in their court, the Sunken Diamond. In eight post-season games, Stanford notched 21 home runs.

After 13-6, the Cardinal hit four home runs during a nine-run before losing 13-12 to UConn in Game 1 of the super regional. Stanford averaged eight home runs in Game One against the Huskies, the most the program has scored in a game in 18 years.

As a team, the Cardinal has an impressive 0.540 deceleration with 131 doubles and 18 triples. They don’t sacrifice connectivity for power and have a hitting average of 0.310, which ranks 11th nationally.

Brock Jones is arguably Stanford’s best overall offensive threat. His 329 batting average ranks him fourth on the team, but he has an OPS of 1.134 with 20 home points, 13 doubles, 5 triples, 56 RBI and 15 base steals. Jones is also ranked 12th nationally with 54 walks.

Jones scored three home runs during the first game against UConn, and this is the second time he has hit three runs in a Super Regional match.

Jones is also a great midfield defender. American baseball ranked him 29th in this year’s MLB Draft.

Carter Graham is an All-American team by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper with 22 home runs and 77 RBI. Its batting average of 0.335 is second on the team, as is the 1,070 OPS.

Braden Montgomery is also a strong threat with 18 home runs. He was named to Freshman’s All-America second team by the National Association of Collegiate Baseball Writers on Monday.

Brett Parreira leads the team with a batting average of 352. Tommy Troy bats .333.

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Next Saturday, Arkansas is likely to face Alex Williams, PAC 12 best player.

Williams (6-3, 220 lbs.) is an 8-3 year old senior right-hander with a 2.88 ERA in 97 runs. He has 90 strikes and 23 walks, and a WHIP of 1.05 is ranked 31st nationally.

Collegiate baseball named Williams’ 1st All-America First Team.

Williams throws a ’90s low speed fastball at 94 mph, according to D1Baseball.

Stanford was 11-4 during Williams’ regular season and PAC 12 games, including an 8-1 start on March 25.

But the Cardinal lost both of Williams’ pre-season starts – and he was the record holder – in games against Texas State and Ocon.

He pitched 4 2/3 innings against Texas State and allowed 5 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks. He was ineffective at the start of the 1/3 inning against UConn when he allowed 6 runs on 7 strokes, including 4 doubles and 1 home run.

Williams only threw 44 shots against Ocon, which means he should rest on his first outing in Omaha.

More promotion

As the Razorbacks saw firsthand at Round Rock, Stanford has one of the best staff in the country.

The Cardinal ranked in the top 20 nationally in ERA (4.01), WHIP (1.34), lowest hits per game (8.14) and closing (9).

Junior left-hander Quinn Matthews, who closed in on Arkansas at the start of six runs in February, has moved into a closer role. It allows for 6.68 strokes per nine innings, one of the best cuts in college baseball. He leads the team with 9 wins and 9 saves, and is in second place with 96 1/3 runs.

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