NORMAN — Starting pitcher Matt Way did all he could to keep Washington State out of the Norman Regional loser’s bracket.
Unfortunately for him, the Cougars’ bullpen ultimately collapsed.
Third-seeded Washington State squandered a late 3-1 lead and a spectacular outing from its ace as No. 2-seeded Arkansas rallied with nine runs in the eighth inning to win 10-3 Friday at Mitchell Park.
"When we drew Washington State, we knew that we were going to face Way, and to me, there is not a better left-handed pitcher in the country,” said Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn.Way, a native of Alaska, lived up to his billing.
After allowing an RBI-double in the first, Way battled back and gave up just two hits over the next five innings while striking out 10 batters to break the school record for strikeouts in a season.
But before the seventh inning, Cougar coach Donnie Marbut decided to remove Way as he began to feel tightness in his forearm after 108 pitches.
When Way left, however, the Razorback bats finally came alive.
Reliever Adam Conley retired the Razorbacks in order in the seventh inning but gave up a double to Ben Tschepikow to begin the eighth.
Arkansas (35-22) eventually tied the game, 3-3, on consecutive singles and an RBI sacrifice bunt by Jarrod McKinney.
With two outs, Washington State had the chance to retire the next batter and get out of the inning with the game tied.
But Cougar shortstop Shea Vucinich, who made a nice play to field the ball, overthrew the first baseman, which allowed another Arkansas run to score.
Scott Lyons later added a three-run homer.