COLUMBIA — South Carolina scored four runs Sunday before making an out. One problem: The Gamecocks didn't score again.
Despite chasing Arkansas starter Drew Smyly in the first, USC gave the Razorbacks plenty of time to come back for a 7-4 series-clinching victory before 6,727 fans at Carolina Stadium.
"I knew four runs wasn't going to be enough, for sure," Gamecocks coach Ray Tanner said. "They battled back, had some clutch hits and we didn't do anything."
It's the second straight time South Carolina (20-10, 5-7 SEC) has failed to convert a deciding Sunday home game against a staunch Western Division opponent.
It was LSU two weekends back.
Sunday, the Gamecocks had an Arkansas (22-6, 10-2) club that had lost just one SEC game coming into the series on the ropes.
Smyly, a freshman left-hander, stalled and labored as he faced the first four batters. After a pair of walks, a single, a balk and a two-run double by Parker Bangs, Smyly's day was done.
But USC couldn't manage to keep it going against the Razorbacks 'pen.
Justin Wells got out of the first with just one more run scoring. He didn't give up an earned run of his own in three innings.
Mike Bolsinger (3-0) took the ball from there, shutting the Gamecocks out for the final six innings. They managed just two baserunners — on a single and a walk — against the right-hander who was effectively using his slider.
"You need to get some more runs," Tanner said. "Against a team like Arkansas, you'd better tack a few on."
Meanwhile, the Hogs kept chipping away. Designated hitter Jacob House and Zack Cox homered in the fourth off USC starter Blake Cooper to get Arkansas on the board.
Cox's two-run shot made it 4-3.
In the seventh, Cox hit a two-out bloop into shallow left field that plated the two runs that pushed the Razorbacks up by three.
"It wasn't a great feeling," USC reliever Alex Farotto said of watching the softly hit ball float over third baseman Drew Crisp's outstretched hand. "It's a tough way to give up two runs."
Farotto (3-2), who gave up three runs in four innings of relief work, then said something to the effect of "that's just baseball."
It was a common phrase Sunday afternoon amongst several Gamecocks, who also used the words to describe the idea of scoring four runs out of the chute only to be shut out for the rest of the afternoon.
"I probably wouldn't have believed it at all," left fielder DeAngelo Mack said of hanging eight zeroes after the first, "but that's the way baseball is. It's funny like that."
South Carolina hosts Clemson on Tuesday before traveling Wednesday to play the Tigers in the Upstate. Tuesday's game is a makeup of an early-season rainout.
USC won the teams' initial meeting on Feb. 28. They'll meet again April 22 in Columbia.
After the midweek rivalry, the Gamecocks, who missed a chance to get back to .500 in the SEC, head to Ole Miss for a vital weekend series.
"We're not a great club," Tanner said. "At times, we'll do good things. At times, we'll have setbacks. ... We're going to have to fight our rear ends off in the second half."
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