August 28, 2014

USC wins series at Arkansas, remains tied for SEC lead

Forest Koumas started on the mound for USC

From USC SID:

Scoreless through sixth innings, third ranked South Carolina erupted for a combined 10 runs in the seventh and eighth innings and held on for a 10-7 victory over 13th ranked Arkansas on Sunday afternoon to win the rubber game of the three-game series, the sixth consecutive series victory for the Gamecocks. South Carolina is now 36-12 and 16-8 in the SEC, tied for first place with LSU and currently one game ahead of Kentucky for first place in the Eastern Division. Arkansas falls to 34-15 and 12-12 in the SEC.

Gamecock right-hander Matt Price earned the win in relief and is now 4-3 on the year after working the final 3.2 innings of the game. Arkansas starter DJ Baxendale suffered the loss and is now 6-3 for the season. He allowed four runs on five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.

Baxendale and Carolina starter Forrest Koumas were very effective through the first two-thirds of the game with neither allowing a base runner to cross home plate. Koumas, in his second start of the year, went 5.1 scoreless innings and allowed two walks and five hits with four strikeouts.

Arkansas threatened in the bottom of the sixth inning loading the bases with one out against Koumas. Jacob Mahan singled, as did Dominic Ficociello and Matt Reynolds walked to fill the bases for the Razorbacks. With Price on in relief for the Gamecocks, South Carolina kept it at 0-0 as a flyout by Derrick Bleeker turned into a double play as right fielder Adam Matthews heaved a perfect throw to catcher Grayson Greiner, who tagged out Mahan to keep the game scoreless.

Carolina rode the momentum of the double play into the seventh inning scoring four times against Baxendale to take a 4-0 lead. Christian Walker led off with a base hit. On the play, an errant throw by Baxendale off the mound went past Ficociello at first allowing Walker to advance into scoring position. With one out and Walker still on second base, Arkansas elected to intentionally walk Greiner. With two outs and runners still on first and second base, Matthews followed his heroics on the field with a RBI base hit up the middle scoring Walker for the first run of the game. Chase Vergason followed with a base hit up the middle as well to score Greiner and Tanner English kept the hit parade going as he singled to center field scoring both runners and giving the Gamecocks a four-run cushion.

Arkansas answered in the bottom of the seventh with three runs to cut the Gamecock lead to 4-3. The Razorbacks strung together four consecutive hits to open the frame with singles from Bo Bigham, Brian Anderson, Jacob Morris and Jake Wise. Morris’ single would score a pair of runners with Wise’s base hit giving the Razorbacks runners on first and second with no outs. Tim Carver would sacrifice both of them into scoring position. With one out and runners on second and third, Mahan tallied his second hit of the game with a base hit to right field. Morris would score but Matthews again came up with a stellar throw from the outfield as he threw out Wise trying to score the tying run at home plate. Upset over the play, Wise spiked his helmet and would be thrown out of the game. With two outs and Mahan on second base, Price got out of the inning with a groundout by Ficociello to keep Carolina ahead by a run.

The Gamecocks batted around in the top of the eighth inning and scored six more runs to extend the lead to 10-3. Joey Pankake led off the frame with a base hit off of Arkansas reliever Michael Gunn and Evan Marzilli was hit by a pitch. After a wild pitch advanced the runners, the Razorbacks intentionally walked Walker to load the bases. Arkansas would bring on closer Barrett Astin, who struck out LB Dantzler for the first out of the inning. With one out, Grayson Greiner came up with a big hit as he knocked a RBI single into left field scoring a pair of runners. Michael Roth then roped a RBI double into the gap in left-center that also scored two runs. A two-out double to right field by Vergason and a RBI single up the middle by Tanner English gave the Gamecocks a seven-run lead.

Arkansas looked to mount a rally with two runs in the eighth inning on a two-out pinch-hit RBI single from Jimmy Bosco. Having crept to within five runs, Arkansas scored two more in the ninth as Reynolds tallied a RBI double and Bigham singled with two outs to score a run. Price, however, closed it out as he got Anderson to line out to Pankake at short sealing the Gamecock victory.

The 5-6-7-8-9 hitters for the Gamecocks drove in all 10 runs on the afternoon. Vergason went 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBI. English was 2-for-3 with three RBI. Greiner and Roth both drove in two runs. Arkansas had 15 hits with Ficociello 3-for-5. Mahan, Bigham, Anderson all had two hits apiece as well.

South Carolina returns home for a non-conference tilt vs. Furman on Wednesday, May 9 at 7 p.m. at Carolina Stadium.