2012 College Baseball: Lessons Learned from South Carolina vs. Arkansas


South Carolina took 2 of 3 from the Razorbacks on the Road

Breaking it down...It took plenty of fight from the Gamecocks to win this series, and it started on Friday night.  Arkansas scored early and often to take a 6-0 lead.  South Carolina didn't get their bats going until the 4th inning.  They cut the lead in half with three hits and two sacrifice flies.  They struck again in the 6th with 3 more.  Grayson Greiner homered, and USC got another sacrifice to tie the game.  Baum stadium was stunned.

Evan Beal came in the game for Carolina.  He pitched three innings and worked around some drama in the Hog 9th.  A leadoff walk advanced the third but no further.  In the top of the 10th an error got the momentum going.  Then 3 singles took advantage to give USC a 2 run leda.  Matt Price came in and induced 3 quick outs to save the game.

On Saturday the teams went back and forth until Arkansas came out on top. Carolina took a 1-0 lead in the third; then the Hogs scored 2.  South Carolina tied the game in the 4th, and Arkansas scored a run to take the lead back.  In the 5th, USC scored 2 for a 4-3 lead.  The Hogs tied it in their half.  In the 6th the Gamecock bats fell silent, but Arkansas got 2 in their half to take the lead 6-4.  The lead was cut to one in the 8th, but Arkansas extended it to two in the bottom of the 8th.  In the ninth USC got another run but needed two and lost.

Two wild games were upstaged by an even wilder one on Sunday.  Last year's ace, D.J. Baxendale pitched for Arky and Forrest Koumas got the start for USC.  Koumas pitched 5 1/3 without giving up a run.  Baxendale had a no hitter through 5 innings.  In the sixth Vergason led off with a double.  In the seventh, Carolina unloaded on him.  USC put 4 runs on the board on 4 hits and one error.  In the 7th, Arkansas came storming back with 3 runs of their own.  It would have been 4, but Adam Matthews threw out his second runner of the day at the plate to preserve the lead and end the inning.

In the 8th, the Gamecock offense exploded.  South Carolina sent 10 batters to the plate, pounded out 5 hits and scored 6 runs to move through a succession of relievers.  The Hogs tried their theatrical comeback in the bottom of the 8th but could only manage 2 runs.  In the ninth they also plated a pair, but fell 10-7.

What to Take Away from the series...This might be the most impressive series win of the season for several reasons.  For one, Arkansas has an RPI of about 16, and USC was playing in a difficult environment.  For another, there were so many chances to quit, give up or concede the games.  Like all great teams, South Carolina never did, and it showed on the scoreboard.

That's not to say this is a great team... yet.  There is still plenty of season to go, but this weekend they played like a great team.

Stars of the Series...Joey Pankake...4-11...Christian Walker...5-12, HR, 2 RBI...Chase Vergason...5-10, HR, 2 2B, 2 RBI...Adam Matthews...3-9, RBI, 2 run saving assists...Grayson Greiner...6 RBI, threw out 5 runners...Matt Price...W,S...Evan Beal...W, 3.1 IP, 0 R, 1 H...Forrest Koumas...5.1 IP, 0 R, 5 H...

Up next...South Carolina hosts Furman on Wednesday and travels to Georgia for the weekend.

Get more great South Carolina sports analysis over at Leftover Hot Dog.


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