Gamecocks Eliminated From SEC Tournament Following 3-2 Loss To Arkansas
May 26, 2007
Hoover, Ala. - Arkansas starting pitcher Duke Welker struck out eight batters in seven innings of work and allowed just one run on seven hits as the Razorbacks defeated South Carolina 3-2 on Saturday afternoon to eliminate the Gamecocks from the SEC Tournament. Carolina falls to 42-18 on the year while Arkansas improves to 41-18. South Carolina now awaits word on the NCAA Regional announcement for baseball set for Monday afternoon (May 28) at 12:30 pm on ESPN. The 16 NCAA Regional host sites will be announced at approximately 3:15 pm on Sunday afternoon (May 27) on ESPN as well. The site announcement will take place between the scheduled NCAA Division I Softball Super-Regional Games.
Welker improved to 6-5 after his outing limiting Carolina to just six singles and one double. Reliever Travis Hill worked the final two innings to earn a save, his third of the year. He allowed just one run on two hits with two strikeouts and one walk. South Carolina starting pitcher Blake Cooper suffered the loss and is now 7-2 on the year. Cooper went 5.2 innings and allowed three runs on six hits with five strikeouts and one walk allowed.
The Razorbacks opened a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Logan Forsythe singled with one out advanced to second base on Blake Cooper's balk and scored on a RBI single from Jeff Nutt. Arkansas added to it with two more in the third inning. Jake Dugger followed up singles from Wayne Hrozek and Tim Smalling with a RBI base hit with Smalling also scoring on a RBI ground out from Casey Coon.
South Carolina tagged Welker for a run in the third inning. James Darnell knocked a one-out single and advanced to third base on a double from Justin Smoak, his first hit of the week and the first extra base hit of the tournament for Carolina. Phil Disher got the Gamecocks on the scoreboard as he just missed a home run with a long sacrifice fly to left field to score Darnell. Carolina almost scored a second run as well when Andrew Crisp singled to left field but Smoak was gunned down at home plate by Arkansas left fielder Casey Coon to end the inning and preserve a two-run Arkansas lead.
Carolina crept to within a run in the eighth inning against Hill. Darnell led off with an infield single followed by a base hit by Smoak and a walk to Phil Disher to load the bases with no outs. The Gamecocks would score their first run on a fielder's choice RBI from Harley Lail. With runners on the corners and two outs, Hill was able to work out of the jam with a strikeout against Drew Martin to keep the Hogs ahead by a run.
South Carolina finished with a 9-7 hit advantage and lost for just the second time when out-hitting its opponent. Darnell, Smoak and Martin all had two hits to lead the Gamecocks at the plate. Carolina reliever Alex Farotto was solid in relief of Cooper as well as he pitched 3.1 scoreless innings and allowed just one hit and two walks while striking out five batters. Smalling's two hits accounted for Arkansas' lone multi-hit game in the afternoon.