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Fayetteville Regional - Elimination Game - Fayetteville, Arkansas

Welch pinch-hit homer caps game-winning Arkansas rally

6 days ago
Arkansas Athletics

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Legends were made on Monday night.

Charlie Welch and Kevin Kopps solidified themselves as Razorback folk heroes in No. 1 Arkansas' 6-2 win over No. 19 Nebraska in the do-or-die NCAA Fayetteville Regional title game to advance to the Super Regionals.

Welch's pinch-hit three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth sent Baum-Walker Stadium into a frenzy before Kopps finished out his seven-inning relief appearance by slamming the door shut on the Cornhuskers in the ninth.

Kopps struck out eight in his seven scoreless frames, allowing only three hits in relief of starter Jaxon Wiggins. The true freshman went two innings, giving up two runs on one hit and striking out a pair.

Arkansas trailed by two runs for the first four innings before Casey Opitz hit a leadoff solo home run to left in the bottom of the fifth to cut the deficit to one. Robert Moore then stepped up to the plate with two outs in the sixth and delivered one of the night's many heroic moments, tying the game at two with a solo shot to right.

Kopps, meanwhile, continued his dominance on the mound. His superior effort set the stage for Arkansas' four-run rally in the eighth inning, which started with a bases-loaded wild pitch.

Christian Franklin scampered home to score the go-ahead run before Welch cemented himself as a Baum-Walker Stadium legend. The pinch-hitter extraordinaire, who is now 8-for-12 in pinch-hitting opportunities this season, rocketed a 2-0 pitch deep over the wall in left to extend the Hogs' lead to 6-2.

Kopps finished the game off, striking out two in the top of the ninth to earn his 12th win of the season and lower his nation-best ERA to 0.68.

Up Next

The Razorbacks will now host NC State in the Super Regionals, which are set to begin Friday or Saturday.

NCAA Fayetteville All-Regional Team

(As voted on by the media)

Position - Student-Athletes

Catcher - Griffin Everitt (Nebraska)

First Base - Luke Roskam (Nebraska)

Second Base - Robert Moore (Arkansas)

Shortstop - Jalen Battles (Arkansas)

Third Base - Brice Matthews (Nebraska)

Outfield - Matt Goodheart (Arkansas)

Outfield - Christian Franklin (Arkansas)

Outfield - Joe Acker (Nebraska)

Designated Hitter - Charlie Welch (Arkansas)

Starting Pitchers

Patrick Wicklander (Arkansas)

Ryan Fischer (NJIT)

Relief Pitchers

Kevin Kopps (Arkansas)

Spencer Schwellenbach (Nebraska)

Tournament MVP

Kevin Kopps (Arkansas)