Andrew Darr Comes Off The Bench & Comes Up Big For Arkansas
(With the end of the year fast approaching, we’re counting down some of the top moments from the 2009 college baseball season. We’ll have one a day through New Year’s Eve.)
Andrew Darr started 29 games in 2009 for the Arkansas baseball team. Most of those starts for the senior outfielder came before the month of April, but the most important start of Darr’s career came on June 6, 2009-the day the
Razorbacks beat Florida State to go to the College World Series.
Darr had just one at-bat in the Razorback’s three NCAA Regional wins a week earlier in Norman, OK, and he didn’t see the field in his team’s 7-2 win over FSU to start Super Regional play a day earlier in Tallahassee. In fact, the senior from Gilbert, Az hadn’t started a game in almost a month prior to the deciding Super Regional game.
Darr had caught Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn’s eye in batting practice though over the last week. So with his team needing just a win to get to the College World Series for the first time in five years, Van Horn played a hunch and started Darr in left field against the host Seminoles. To say the hunch paid off would be an insult to the word hunch.
Darr went 4-for-5 with a home runs two doubles and 3 RBIs, including a walk-off 2-run double to send the Razorbacks to Omaha. His solo home run in the 7th inning started a five-run frame to give the Razorbacks a 6-5 lead. The game seesawed in the late innings, and FSU took an 8-7 lead in the top of the 9th (Arkansas was the designated home team for game two, even though the game was at FSU.)
Darr came to the plate with runners at first and second and one out in the 9th and stroked the first pitch he saw to the gap in left-centerfield to bring Bo Bigham and Zack Cox home to end the game and send the Hogs to Omaha. The Razorbacks became just the ninth team in NCAA history to advance to the College World Series without playing either the Regional or Super Regional round in their home ballpark.
Darr started three of his team’s four games at the College World Series. The only game he didn’t start in Omaha was an elimination game against Virginia, but he made the most of his time on the field in that game as well. He entered that game as a defensive replacement in the 9th inning of that game and ended-up with an RBI double in the 12th inning to give Arkansas a 4-3 extra inning win.
While Darr’s final stats of his final college season, .252 avg., 4 HR and 18 RBIs, are far from eye-popping it would be hard to argue that there was a more important .252 batter in the country in 2009.
Collegebaseball360.com Editor Sean Stires talked to Darr right after he and the Razorbacks returned to Fayetteville from Super Regional win. Click the “play” button above to listen to that podcast interview.
Other Top Moments Of 2009