Andy Sawyers beat his old coach as Southeast Missouri State knocked No. 5 national seed Arkansas out of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.

The Redhawks’ 6-3 win in an elimination game made the Razorbacks the highest-seeded team eliminated. No. 13 Arizona was bounced Saturday.

Southeast Missouri State joined Evansville and Grand Canyon as No. 4 regional seeds that reached Sunday night finals.

The Redhawks played Kansas State in Fayetteville, Arkansas; Evansville played at East Carolina in Greenville, North Carolina; and Grand Canyon played West Virginia in Tucson, Arizona.

SEMO has made three of the last four NCAA Tournaments, but reached a regional final for the first time. To get there, Sawyers beat one of his mentors in Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn.

Sawyers was a backup catcher on Van Horn’s first team at Nebraska in 1998 and was his volunteer assistant in 2000. He said he thanked Van Horn after the game for modeling how to be a good coach.

“I was a little emotional,” Sawyers said. “I had some tears in my eyes behind the sunglasses because I got to beat my coach today, and that doesn’t happen very often, so that was a pretty cool moment.”

The Razorbacks’ stay in the tournament was their shortest in 14 appearances since 2008, when they went 0-2. Expectations for that team, headlined by future Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel, were modest as it finished below .500 in SEC play and was sent to Stanford as a No. 3 regional seed.

This year’s team won the SEC West, had the first pitcher projected to be taken in the amateur draft in Hagen Smith and one of the best defenses in the country. The Razorbacks also had one of the best home-field advantages in the country, having entered the regional 33-2 at Baum-Walker Stadium.

But the mojo wasn’t good late in the season. They came into regionals off three straight losses and, with Sunday’s loss, went 4-9 since May 3. Van Horn said a season full of close games, inconsistent offense and fatigue caught up to his team.

“I think it beat us up mentally,” he said. “We swung the bats so good Friday, and we swung it good yesterday. Today we looked like we were exhausted. I didn’t know what to do or say.”


Louisiana-Lafayette’s Jose Torres executed one of the great bat flips of the year when he homered off the scoreboard in left-center field in the eighth inning of the Ragin’ Cajuns’ 10-2 win over Texas.

As Torres finished his swing, he let go of the bat in the same motion and sent it flying along the third-base line. He spit, took a couple steps while admiring what he had done and started his trot.


Tom Poole homered for the third time in two games and Grand Canyon came from behind to reach its first regional final with a 12-10 win over Dallas Baptist. … Jac Caglianone’s second homer in two games, a three-run shot in the second inning, gave Florida the lead for good in a 17-11 win over Nebraska. … Ozzie Pratt, Slade Wilks and Matthew Russo each drove in three runs as Southern Miss stayed alive with a 15-3 win over Indiana. It was the Golden Eagles’ ninth straight win in a regional elimination game since 2022. … Dakota Jordan was 5 for 5 with a three-run homer and four RBIs in a 13-5 win over St. John’s. … Jack Zyska homered in a three-run seventh inning to lead UCF past Stetson 5-2. … Caden Bodine’s go-ahead homer in the seventh sent Coastal Carolina past High Point 6-5. … Mike Sears’ grand slam in the eighth highlighted Indiana State’s 13-2 win over Illinois.


Casey Smith and Donovan Burke combined on a five-hit shutout in James Madison’s 2-0 win over South Carolina. … Mike Gutierrez improved to 10-0 for UC Santa Barbara, allowing two runs in six innings of a 4-2 win over San Diego. … LSU’s Griffin Herring, who struck out the side in a perfect ninth against Wofford on Friday, took over for a struggling Nate Ackenhausen and allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings as the Tigers advanced to their regional final with a 13-6 win over the Terriers. … Cam Jones gave up one run on seven hits in Georgia Tech’s 3-1 win over UNC Wilmington.


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