MANHATTAN, Kan. - The No. 15 Arkansas baseball team saw its season come to an end on Sunday night as the Razorbacks dropped a 4-3 decision to No. 17 Kansas State in the regional final of the Manhattan Regional at Tointon Family Stadium.
Arkansas finishes the season with a 39-22 record, while Kansas State improves to 44-17. The Wildcats advance to face Oregon State in the Corvallis Super Regional next weekend.
The Razorbacks ended their season in the NCAA Tournament for the 12th straight year, one of only seven teams to advance to the NCAA Tournament the last 12 years, and won at least two games in the postseason for the fifth straight season and sixth time in the last seven years.
Joe Serrano had two hits and scored a run to lead Arkansas at the plate. Brian Anderson went 1-for-2 with two RBI and a run scored, while Matt Vinson had a hit and a RBI.
Shane Conlon had two hits to lead Kansas State offensively. Blair DeBord had a hit and a RBI for the Wildcats.
Kansas State reliever Gerardo Esquivel (2-2) picked up the win, striking out one and giving up one hit in 4.1 shutout innings. Jake Matthys picked up his ninth save of the season with two scoreless innings.
Arkansas reliever Michael Gunn (1-1) took the loss, allowing two runs on two hits in two innings.
Neither starter factored into the decision. Arkansas starter Tyler Wright worked two scoreless innings with a strikeout. Kansas State starter Blake McFadden gave up three runs on five hits in 1.2 innings.
Arkansas was the designated home team and began its half of the first with three straight hits. Serrano led off the bottom of the first with a single and after Dominic Ficociello doubled, Anderson singled to right-center field to score both runs. After two outs, Anderson advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored when Vinson knocked a single through the right side of the infield to give the Razorbacks a 3-0 advantage after one inning.
Kansas State clawed back in the game with two runs in fourth. Austin Fisher worked a one-out walk and advanced to second on Jon Davis' single. DeBord then singled down the leftfield line to score Fisher and move Davis to second. With the bases loaded, Mitch Meyer hit a ball deep in the right centerfield gap and Tyler Spoon made a diving, backhand catch near the warning track to save multiple runs that allowed the runner at third to score and leave it a 3-2 Arkansas lead.
The Wildcats scored their other two runs in the top of the seventh inning. After consecutive walks to start the inning, Conlon laid down a sacrifice bunt to put runners on second and third with one out. Both runners scored on wild pitches, and Kansas State took a 4-3 lead that they would hold for the rest of the game.
Arkansas had three players on the all-tournament team as Brett McAfee, Ryne Stanek and Spoon were named to the team. McAfee hit .385 (5-for-13) with three doubles, four RBI and a run scored in the regional. Stanek worked 7.1 innings on Saturday vs. Wichita State, allowing a run on two hits and striking out three. Spoon finished the regional going 5-for-17 with four RBI and two runs scored.