Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Arkansas Razorbacks 6 at Missouri State Bears 14 (NCAA Baseball) - May 3, 2016

I spent an extra day in Springfield to see a Missouri State Bears game at Hammons Field, which had hosted a Springfield Cardinals morning game the day before. It gave me a chance to relax after a very busy past two weeks. I also discovered Big Whiskey's, a bar near the stadium that has half-price drinks from 4-6, perfect for a game that starts at 6:35. After a couple of beers (total cost, including tip, was less than one pint in NYC), I waddled over to the stadium. There were lots of people with extra tickets, and one guy wanted a little bit less than what I would have paid at the window. While I was going to check the prices, another guy came up and just handed me one, so I never did find out how much tickets cost. I was happy to get some free baseball, but I would later regret that.

I did take the time to wander around the venue, taking pictures of areas that were not accessible the day before. Above is the view from the Redbird Nest, which has $28 seats for the Cardinals, while below is the view from the berm behind the left field fence. Note the building in the upper left corner, this is also named for John Q. Hammons, as is the street that passes by the ballpark.

This is a really nice park when it isn't teeming with children (the same could be said of many public places), and the crowd here was much older, though there were a good number of Missouri State students on hand as well.

The visitors were Arkansas (coincidentally Arkansas were the guests the day before) and these two teams had met in a Super Regional (baseball's equivalent of the Sweet Sixteen) last year, with Arkansas winning 2-1 to book a place in the College World Series in Omaha. Arkansas lost player-of-the-year Andrew Benintendi to graduation and have struggled this year in SEC play (7-14) while Missouri State are last in the MVC at 3-8 despite a 28-14 overall record. As this was a midweek contest, poor pitching was to be expected as most schools only carry two or three decent starters, while Missouri State has a prolific offense, averaging nearly 8 runs per game.

It started with a couple of quick shutout innings, but the Bears scored 3 in the third, added another in the fourth and then batted around and them some in the fifth, plating 8 more to make it 12-0.  Arkansas finally got to starter Austin Knight in the sixth with a five spot, but Missouri State singletons in the sixth and seventh removed what little doubt remained. The game dragged on and on but the players and managers kept playing like it was the 7th game of the World Series. In one situation, Arkansas left a reliever in to start an inning and he hit the first batter, only to then be taken out. It is really frustrating to have a pitcher start an inning with so little room for failure. In the bottom of the 7th, up 12-5, a Bear batter was up with the bases loaded and watched six straight pitches and was called out on strikes. He had the temerity to glare at the umpire. If you are up by 7 in the 7th, swing the freaking bat! Why are you trying to work a bases-loaded walk? Insurance? Jake Burger was the star for Missouri finishing a double shy of the cycle.

I took the photo above a bit too early as Arkansas scored one more in the 9th to make the final 14-6. An absolutely terrible game that lasted 3:28 and had 90% of fans leaving before it had ended. Midweek college ball is always a crapshoot; I saw a great game in New Mexico two weeks ago, but this one will go down as eminently forgettable. Such is the sports road trippers life, you hope for good games but sometimes you have to live with a stinker.



1 comment:

  1. Sean,

    You could say it was worth the price of admission.