Sophomore catcher John Jones hit his team-leading fifth home run of the season and freshman right-hander Braden Webb tied a career-high with seven strikeouts in his longest outing of the season as 12th ranked South Carolina defeated 13th ranked Arkansas 6-2 on Saturday afternoon at Founders Park to clinch the weekend series. The Gamecocks are 19-2 and 2-0 in the SEC with Arkansas 15-5 and 0-2 in league play.
Webb went 6.1 innings and allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits to improve to 4-1 on the year. Sophomore right-hander Tyler Johnson pitched 2.2 scoreless innings of relief with two strikeouts to pick up his first career save. Arkansas reliever James Teague suffered the loss and is now 2-2 on the year. He allowed four runs on four hits in 3.1 innings.
Carolina broke ahead 2-0 in the bottom of the first inning. Gene Cone led off with an infield single, LT Tolbert walked and Alex Destino singled to left field to load the bases. Cone would score on a walk issued to Dom Thompson-Williams and Tolbert came across home plate on Jonah Bride’sRBI groundout to second base.
Arkansas answered with a pair of runs in top of the second inning to tie the game. Luke Bonfield led off with a single to right field. After Chas Spanberger reached base on a two-out walk, Michael Bernal singled to right field to score Bonfield. On the play, right fielder Gene Cone attempted to nab Spanberger at third but threw low and past Jonah Bride, allowing Spanberger to score.
It would remain that way until the fifth inning. With one out freshman LT Tolbert was hit in the helmet on the first pitch he saw. After taking first base, John Jones would come up with a big hit as he launched a 2-0 pitch over the right field wall to give the Gamecocks a 4-2 lead.
Carolina added some insurance in the bottom of the eighth inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, Marcus Mooney knocked a RBI single up the middle to score two runs and increase the lead to 6-2. Johnson worked a scoreless ninth to seal the win.
Post game interviews: