May 5, 2012
Fayetteville, Ark. - Third ranked South Carolina and 13th ranked Arkansas went back and forth with three lead changes throughout the game but a two-run sixth inning for the Razorbacks and an insurance run in the eighth inning lifted Arkansas to a 7-6 win over the Gamecocks on Saturday afternoon at Baum Stadium. The loss snaps an eight-game winning streak for Carolina as well as a 12-game win streak in the league. South Carolina is now 35-12 and 15-8 in the SEC with the Razorbacks 34-14 and 12-11 in league play. The rubber game is set for Sunday, May 6 at 2:05 p.m. ET and can be heard live on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College including flagship station 107.5 FM, "The Game" as Andy Demetra and Tommy Moody have the call.
Arkansas reliever Tyler Wright earned the win in relief with 1.2 scoreless innings of work. He is now 1-0 on the year. South Carolina starter Jordan Montgomery suffered the loss and is now 4-1 for the season. He allowed five runs on nine hits with two strikeouts in five-plus innings of work. Arkansas reliever Barrett Astin earned his ninth save of the season allowing one run on two hits in one inning with one strikeout.
Arkansas tallied 17 hits on the afternoon. Tim Carver and Derrick Bleeker were each 3-for-4 with Matt Reynolds 3-for-5 with two RBI. Bo Bigham, Jacob Morris and Matt Vinson all had two hits apiece as well. Christian Walker went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI to pace the nine-hit attack for the Gamecocks.
South Carolina broke ahead 1-0 in the top of the third inning despite not recording a hit. Tanner English walked on four pitches to open the frame with Chase Vergason drawing a one-out walk and Joey Pankake reaching base on a hit by pitch. After working the count full, Evan Marzilli reached base on Arkansas starter Randall Fant's third walk of the inning to score English. Arkansas escaped the inning though as right-hander Brandon Moore came on in relief and got out of the jam with a 5-2-3 double play off the bat of Grayson Greiner.
Riding the momentum of the double play, Arkansas answered with two runs in the bottom half of the third. Vinson led off with a double to left field and advanced to third base on John Clay Reeves' grounder, as Pankake's throw could not nab Vinson. With runners on the corners, Morris reached base with a bunt single and Vinson scored to tie the game up for the Razorbacks. After a sacrifice bunt by Carver moved the runners into scoring position, Reeves would score as Brian Anderson reached base on a muffed throw by Walker at first on a throw by Pankake. With runners on first and second, Marzilli would make a huge defensive play with a diving grab on a line drive from Dominic Ficociello. Marzilli would double the runner off of first base.
Similar to the Razorbacks, the Gamecocks used the momentum of a key defensive play to answer in the top of the fourth to tie the ball game as Walker tallied his team-leading ninth home run of the season to knot the game at 2-2. Walker jumped on the first pitch he saw from Moore for a homer to left field.
The Razorbacks answered again to take a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. Vinson belted his second double of the game to right-center scoring Bigham as the Razorbacks reclaimed the lead. Montgomery worked out of a jam though as he retired Reeves with a strikeout and Morris with a flyout with runners in scoring position.
The pendulum swung again towards the Gamecocks in the top of the fifth as the Gamecocks regained the lead with a pair of runs off of Moore. A homer by Chase Vergason to open the inning tied the game at 3-3. Similar to Walker beginning the fourth with a solo home run, Vergason knocked a 1-0 pitch from Moore to right field for his first homer of the season. Joey Pankake followed that up with a base hit to center field. With two outs and Pankake on second base, Walker drove in his second run of the game with a base hit up the middle giving Carolina a 4-3 lead.
Arkansas tied it at 4-4 in the bottom of the fifth inning. Carver led off with a base hit to left field. With two outs and Carver on third base, Matt Reynolds beat out a throw from Dantzler at third base for an infield single scoring Carver.
The Razorbacks went ahead 6-4 in the bottom of the sixth inning. Bleeker knocked a base hit through the right side to start the frame. After a sacrifice bunt moved him into scoring position, Jake Wise would single to left field off of reliever Hunter Privette scoring Bleeker. Carver added a RBI base hit to left field off Gamecock left-hander Tyler Webb scoring Wise giving Arkansas a two-run cushion.
The Gamecocks crept to within one run in the top of the eighth inning. TJ Costen drew a leadoff walk and pinch hitter Michael Roth knocked a one-out single to center field. After a wild pitch advanced Costen and pinch runner Connor Bright into scoring position, Brison Celek would drive in Costen with a RBI groundout to the second baseman.
Arkansas scored a crucial insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning. With two outs, Anderson doubled to left field. A wild pitch would advance him to third base and a hit by pitch put Ficociello on base. Reynolds then came up with a big hit for the Razorbacks as he drove right-hander Evan Beal's first pitch into center for a base hit scoring Anderson and giving Arkansas a 7-5 lead.
The Gamecocks didn't waver though and mounted another rally in the ninth inning. Walker singled to left field for his third hit of the game. Pinch runner Joel Seddon would advance with two outs on a wild pitch by Astin. Pinch hitter Kyle Martin drove a 2-0 pitch from Astin through the right side for a base hit scoring Seddon and cutting the deficit to one run. Astin, however, struck out English swinging for the final out of the game.
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