Standing three outs away from a win in the opening game of the College World Series Tuesday night, former Navarre standout Matt Cronin was called upon to do what he has done so often this season, and that’s close the deal.
With a runner on first in the ninth inning, Cronin entered the game and took care of business, striking out two of the three batters he faced to help Arkansas notch a 4-1 win over Oregon State at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha.
The save was the 14th of the year for Cronin, the total setting a new school record, and now the Razorbacks can make history Wednesday night by winning their first national championship in program history.
Cronin has been instrumental in Arkansas’ remarkable run through Omaha, where the Razorbacks have yet to lose. He earned a school record-tying 13th save Friday night against Florida in the semifinal round and wasted no time doing his job again on this night.
His strikeout total now stands at 58. Cronin is in the midst of a phenomenal sophomore season. The lefty has been dominant throughout the year in the closer role for Arkansas, a role he said he wanted before the season began.
Game 2 of the CWS final is 6 p.m, central time Wednesday night. A third and decisive game would be played Thursday if necessary. Arkansas is 4-0 in CWS play and is in the championship round for the first time since 1979.
If the Razorbacks win, Cronin would be the first from Navarre to be part of a national championship team since Jordan Leggett helped Clemson take down Alabama in football in the title game in 2017.