NCAA Baseball Super Regionals 2012: Keys to Baylor Victory in Decisive Game 3

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistJune 11, 2012

Baylor lost the second of their three-game Super Regional series against Arkansas by a score of 5-4. If they want to turn things around, Baylor will have to correct a few issues.

The Bears were held mostly scoreless outside of a three-run outburst in the top of the fifth inning. They mustered six hits overall, but their bats didn't have consistency throughout the game.

Arkansas' ninth-inning comeback could give them all the momentum they need to punch their ticket to Omaha.

Let's see what the Bears can do to prevent that from happening.


Finish the Game

Allowing two runs in the bottom of the ninth is inexcusable for any team. It's even worse when it keeps your team from closing the series.

Max Garner took the loss (his third of the season). He failed to shut down the Razorbacks. He threw 1.1 innings, gave up two runs (one earned), walked a batter and hit a batter.

His control was all over the place and he never got into a rhythm.

The Bears' bullpen better have a reliable plan in Game 3, or they will lose again. Once you show a team that you can be beaten late, you open the door for it to happen again.

Baylor better be prepared to lock this game down late, or they will need to score enough runs early that they don't have to worry about it.

Which brings me to this.


Take an Early Lead

College baseball is littered with high run totals and major offensive outputs. This makes comebacks more common.

Baylor must give themselves some room to maneuver in this game. Arkansas has a ton of confidence and essentially nothing to lose. They're unranked, and Baylor's No. 4 ranking suggests that Arkansas should be sent packing.

This mentality gives Arkansas an edge if Baylor doesn't squash their confidence from the get-go. If they take a lead late into the game, the Razorbacks will be nearly impossible to overcome.

Baylor must look for good pitches early and drive them deep into the defense. They left seven runners on base in Game 2, and that pattern cannot repeat itself.

The equation is simple. Baylor wins if they score early and keep Arkansas off the board late in the game.

Now, they just have to get it done.