Championship glory is on hold. At least for now.
With Arkansas holding a 3-2 lead and one out away from its first national championship in school history, the Razorbacks couldn’t close the door on Oregon State, which rallied for a 5-3 victory and kept its own hopes for a title alive.
The two teams will play a winner-takes-all Game 3 Thursday night at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha. First pitch is 6 p.m.
A popped up ball in foul territory that fell between three fielders in the ninth gave the Beavers new life with two outs and they capitalized against former Navarre Raider Matt Cronin, who was vying for his 15th save.
Cadyn Grenier tied the score with a base hit and Trevor Lamach belted a two-run home run to give Oregon State the lead at 5-3.
Cronin entered the game with one out in the eighth and a runner in scoring position. He proceeded to strike out the first batter he faced with a 94 mile per hour fastball.
A pop-up ended the inning.
Then came the ninth. Cronin walked the lead-off batter.
He forced the next two batters to ground out, and that left Arkansas one out away from baseball glory.
But it wasn’t in the cards. Not on this night in front of nearly 26,000 fans. Arkansas went down in order in its half of the ninth.
Cronin was pitching on back-to-back nights and making his 25th appearance of the season, including his fourth in the CWS. He was tagged with the loss and is now 2-2 on the season. A night earlier, he earned his 14th save, setting a new single-season school record.
The loss was the first for Arkansas in Omaha. The Razorbacks had won their first four games of the tourney.
The decisive game 3 is tonight at 5:30 p.m. Central time, 6:30 p.m. Eastern time as the Razorbacks seek the championship against Oregon.