TALLAHASSEE, Fla. | Little-used Andrew Darr sent the Arkansas Razorbacks to the College World Series with an improbable — and incredibly timely — hit.
Darr's two-run double in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted Arkansas to a 9-8 super regional-clinching victory over Florida State on Saturday.
"I'm not an everyday guy," Darr said. "But when I get in and get a chance to swing the bat, I just try to do the best I can."
Darr was hitting just .215 and hadn't started a game in almost a month. Still, he was swinging good enough in batting practice to catch the eye of Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn.
"Sometimes these kids don't think I notice things when they're not playing, but I'm watching," Van Horn said. "I kept thinking maybe he could get something off the screen, or something."
So Van Horn penciled his senior outfielder seventh in Saturday's batting order, a number that turned out lucky for the Razorbacks. Darr ended up getting four of Arkansas' 10 hits, including his fourth homer of the year — a sixth-inning shot over the center-field fence that finished Florida State starter Brian Busch.
"Little did I know he would get four hits," Van Horn said.
Darr, who said he was almost speechless afterward, has four game-winning hits for the Razorbacks.
Freshman Bo Bigham added three hits, including a two-run single that capped a five-run seventh when the Razorbacks took a 6-5 lead.
Arkansas (39-22) returns to the CWS in Omaha, Neb., for the sixth time and first since 2004, when it also eliminated Florida State in a super regional at Fayetteville, Ark.
Florida State (45-18) took an 8-7 lead in the top of the ninth when Stephen Cardullo singled in two runs and then scored a short-lived go-ahead run on Jason Stidham's single.
Arkansas' relief ace Stephen Richards (6-1) got the win despite giving up three runs in the ninth.
"We knew in the dugout that if they got it back to the top of the order with anybody on base, it could get hairy," Van Horn said. "And it did."
T.J. Forest pitched 2 2-3 hitless innings in relief for Arkansas before giving way to Richards with one out in the eighth.
The Seminoles sixth pitcher in the game, Jack Posey, was tagged with the loss. It was the only decision of the year for the younger brother of former Florida State star Buster Posey.
Florida State's bullpen and defense imploded for the second straight day, helping Arkansas score five unearned runs in their two wins.
"It's obviously disappointing," said Florida State coach Mike Martin, who was denied his 14th trip to Omaha in 30 years as the Seminoles' skipper. "Unfortunately, there were some things that happened today that were unfortunate."
In 2 1-3 innings Saturday, five Florida State relievers surrendered seven walks, spoiling a strong performance by Busch who gave up just two runs in six innings and struck out a career-high eight.
A critical error by third baseman Stuart Tapley on a possible inning-ending double play ball preceded Bigham's go-ahead single.
Mike McGee's two-run homer capped a four-run fifth inning Saturday as Florida State took a 5-1 lead that it couldn't hold. McGee also singled in a run in the fourth.
Tyler Holt had three hits and scored three times while also stealing his 34th base for Florida State.