All good things must come to an end. For South Carolina, that meant the end of their 12-game SEC winning streak, the second longest in school history.
In a game that went back and forth more than a tennis match, the Gamecocks and Razorbacks traded runs almost every inning, but Arkansas was able to add just enough insurance to get the victory and even the series.
The Cocks got on the board first, when Arky starter Randall Fant issued one too many walks and brought home Joey Pankake. Arkansas responded in the bottom of the inning by scoring two runs of their own, taking their first lead of the game. Christian Walker led off the fourth with a long ball, tying the game. The Razorbacks answered again, though, taking back the lead thanks to an RBI double off the bat of Matt Vinson.
Following Walker’s lead, Chase Vergason went yard (his first homer of the year) to begin the fifth inning, again tying up the game. Walker brought home Pankake later in the inning to put the Cocks on top 4-3. Unsurprisingly, the Hogs tied it up in the bottom of the inning, this time on an infield single from Matt Reynolds.
Arkansas added two more runs in the sixth inning, making the score 6-4. USC responded in the eighth, when TJ Costen walked, pinch hitter Michael Roth (who had been seen tanning/flexing with his sleeves rolled up in the dugout) singled. Connor Bright came in to pinch run, and after a wild pitch that advanced the runners, Brison Celek hit a grounder that brought Costen across the plate.
For the second game in a row, the Hogs managed to hit balls into all the gaps around the field, and today, it helped them defeat the back-to-back national champs. USC also had the bases loaded more than once and failed to capitalize. Arkansas outhit Carolina 17-9 and both teams left 10 runners stranded. Christian Walker went 3-for-4, including the homer and two RBI, to lead the Yardcocks at the plate. Tim Carver and Derrick Bleeker led U of A, both going 3-for-4.
Starter Jordan Montgomery took the loss, his first, and falls to 4-1 on the season. He pitched 5 1/3 innings and allowed five runs on nine hits. He issued no walks and struck out two batters. Reliever Tyler Wright got the win and is now 1-0 on the year. Closer Barrett Astin earned his ninth save of the season.
The Yardcocks are now on top of the SEC East by only half a game, and have records of 35-12 overall and 15-8 in the SEC. The Razorbacks are 34-14 and 12-11 in conference play. Tomorrow’s rubber game is set to begin at 2:05 ET. Forrest Koumas is the likely starter for Carolina and DJ Baxendale will get the nod for Arkansas.