During South Carolina’s recent losing skid, starting pitching has been an issue. In their last two SEC series against Auburn and Kentucky, Gamecock starters recorded an ERA near 10. On Friday night, it was USC’s offense that didn’t answer the bell as the Gamecocks were stymied by Arkansas 4-1 at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville. Carolina’s fifth straight loss drops the Gamecocks to 36-13 on the season and 14-10 in the SEC. It’s also the fewest runs USC has scored in a loss this season. They claimed a 1-0 victory over Penn back on February 25th.
Making his fourth start of the season in place of the injured Will Sanders, Eli Jones was terrific on the mound for the Gamecocks. The sophomore right-hander struck out a season-high ten batters to keep the 3rd ranked Razorbacks off balance. Jones fanned two in the first and two in the second, while allowing a run with two strikeouts in the third. The Peachtree City, Georgia, native struck out the side in the fifth before a lead-off walk chased him from the game in the sixth inning. He threw 91 pitches in 5+ innings of work before handing the ball off to Cade Austin with the game tied at one.
That walk to start the sixth inning proved to be the difference in the game, as Jace Bohrofen moved to third on a single and came in to score on a double-play ball to give the Razorbacks a 2-1 advantage.
From there, Arkansas reliever Gage Wood was lights out. The freshman gave up just two hits in three and a third innings to record his second win of the season. Jones was the tough luck loser for the Gamecocks, falling to 4-3 on the year.
Game two of the series is set for 7pm on Saturday.
USC HC Mark Kingston — Postgame Comments