The South Carolina Gamecocks and Arkansas Razorbacks took their final practice cuts on Friday and had their last visits with the media in advance of their Super Regional matchup beginning Saturday at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.
While it didn’t occur at this level of the tournament, South Carolina and Arkansas have an NCAA Tournament history together in their recent past.
With the Gamecocks going for a national championship three-peat, the Razorbacks pushed USC to the brink of elimination with a 2-1 loss in pool play at the College World Series in Omaha. After South Carolina earned a rematch with Arkansas, Ray Tanner earned his final two victories as a USC skipper over the Hogs to advance Carolina to the final series where they were swept by Arizona.
Dave Van Horn was the Arkansas Head Coach then, as well as now, and many believe this is his best chance to capture his first national championship. Van Horn spoke Friday about his roster construction, and seeing a Gamecocks team he’s won three of four games from this season:
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn
The Razorbacks are conscious that the South Carolina opponent they face this weekend is more confident than the group they beat at Baum Stadium earlier this year also in the SEC Tournament in Hoover.
Arkansas boasts one of the top pitchers in the country and the SEC in Blaine Knight, who comes in with an 11-0 record this season.
Knight, who starts the opening game Friday night against USC’s Adam Hill, knows he’ll be dealing with a hot Gamecocks offense:
Arkansas LHP Blaine Knight
South Carolina comes in having won five consecutive series to close out the regular season, a 1-2 showing in Hoover at the SEC Tournament, and a blemish-free regional at ECU.
Head Coach Mark Kingston believes the familiarity with Arkansas has all the makings of highly-competitve Super Regional:
South Carolina Head Coach Mark Kingston
While Knight will get much of the attention with the opening pitching matchup, South Carolina’s Adam Hill will be looking to bounce back from a four-inning performance in Greenville against Ohio State. He had pitched well going into the end of the year, and is coming off the news of the Mets selecting him in the fourth round of this week’s MLB Draft.
Hill believes Saturday serves as the perfect proving ground:
South Carolina RHP Adam Hill
The Gamecocks and Razorbacks begin their series at 6:30 PM Saturday on ESPN2. Game Two of the Super Regional will start at 3 PM Sunday and be televised on ESPN. A decisive third game, if necessary, will be played Monday at 7 PM on ESPN.