The Yardcocks have always been…quirky, and today was no different. Today’s rubber game was scoreless until the top of the seventh, when USC got on the board with four runs on four hits.
Christian Walker led off with a single, then got to second on an Arkansas error. LB Dantzler went down on strikes, Grayson Greiner was intentionally walked, Michael Roth K’d, and then Adam Matthews came up to bat with two outs. He knocked a single that brought Walker home, then Chase Vergason got an RBI of his own, bringing Greiner across the plate and making it to second. Tanner English singled to bring home both Matthews and Vergason, and the momentum was clearly going in Carolina’s favor…until the bottom of the inning.
The Hogs, who had the bases loaded in the sixth but coukldn’t capitalize, thanks in large part to spectacular defense by Adam Matthews, responded in the seventh with three runs of their own. Matt Price, in to relieve starter Forrest Koumas, had a rare bad day on the mound, and Arkansas took full advantage.
The Razorbacks played small ball and would have taken a lead had it not been for Matthews again, who was simply a stud in the outfield today. Matthews gunned down two runners at the plate, including catcher Jake Wise, who was ejected after slamming his helmet down at home plate.
With a 4-3 lead, South Carolina found more offense in the eighth inning as they batted around and scored six runs. With one out and the bases full, Greiner, singled to left, bringing two runs in, and Roth followed that up with an RBI double, making the score 8-3. Vergason, who had an excellent weekend, added an RBI double and English knocked a single to make the score 10-3 by the time the inning ended. The Hogs weren’t done either, though. With Price still shaky, Arkansas added two more runs in both the eighth and ninth innings.
When all was said and done, the Cocks were victorious by a score of 10-7. Some Razorbacks fans didn’t take kindly to USC’s scoring bursts, shouting things about Ray Tanner being classy and running up the score. They must have gone to the Jack Leggett school of baseball.
Koumas was solid on the bump today. He pitched 5 1/3 innings where he gave up only five hits and no runs. He walked two batters and struck out four. Price threw the remaining 3 2/3 innings and allowed seven runs (the most he’d ever given up) on 10 hits. He issued two walks and recorded no K’s. He also earned the win and improves to 4-3 on the season. Arkansas starter DJ Baxendale took the loss and falls to 6-3 on the year.
Vergason led Carolina at the plate and went 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBI. English was close behind, going 2-for-3 with three RBI. Diominic Ficociello was Arkansas’ leader and went 3-for-5 at the dish. The Hogs outhit the Cocks 15-10. Fun stat from Gamecocks Online: The 5-6-7-8-9 hitters drove in all 10 of USC’s runs.
South Carolina is now 36-12 overall and 16-8 in SEC play. The Yardcocks have won six straight SEC series and are tied for first place with LSU and are one game ahead of Kentucky for first place in the East. Arkansas drops to 34-15 and 12-12 in conference play. USC’s next game will be against Furman on Wednesday. The first pitch is set for 7 ET at Carolina Stadium and the game will be broadcast on Fox Sports South/Fox Sports Carolinas.