The dream of a championship ended Thursday night for the Arkansas Razorbacks.
In a winner-take-all Game 3 of the College World Series, Arkansas came up empty in a 5-0 loss to Oregon State at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha.
The momentum of this best-of-three series swung a night earlier. Navarre grad Matt Cronin was on the mound with a chance to close the door on the Beavers. Arkansas was one out, really one strike, away from its first national championship in program history.
But a pop up in foul territory in the ninth inning fell between three fielders, and with it, the dream of a title fell as well. The miscue gave Oregon State new life, life the Beavers used to rally for a 5-3 win.
Arkansas, unbeaten in this CWS until that point, felt confident it could bounce back Thursday.
It wasn’t in the cards. The Beavers cranked out seven hits and limited the Razorbacks to two. A 2-0 lead after one inning was enough.
For Arkansas, it’s a gut-wrenching end to a phenomenal season. Playing for a championship for the first time since 1979, the Razorbacks were in great shape after a 4-1 win over Oregon State in the opener of the championship series.
But with a loss in Game 2, the momentum shifted and the Beavers are champions for the third time.
Arkansas finishes its year with a 48-21 record.
Cronin, the third Navarre athlete in the last two years to play for a national title, ends his sophomore season with a single-season school record 14 saves. He made a total of four appearances in the CWS and a total of 25 appearances this season. He struck out 59 batters, had a 2-2 record and a 3.54 ERA.