Gamecocks stumble against Razorbacks

Staff report

COLUMBIA -- No. 17 Arkansas sent 12 batters to the plate in the top of the fourth and scored nine runs on the way to a 15-3 victory over fifth ranked South Carolina on Friday evening at Carolina Stadium. Arkansas is now 15-7 and 2-2 in the SEC with South Carolina now 18-4, 2-2 in the league.

Arkansas starting pitcher Barrett Astin allowed three runs and six hits on 5.1 innings to earn the win. He is now 2-1 on the year. South Carolina starting pitcher Evan Beal suffered the loss and is now 2-1 for the season. He went 3.2 innings, allowed eight runs and six hits with four walks and six strikeouts.

The Razorbacks took a 9-0 lead in the top of the fourth. Tyler Spoon opened the inning with a single to right center followed by a single up the middle by Brain Anderson just out of the reach of a diving Joey Pankake at shortstop. Matt Vinson then loaded the bases as he reached base on a bunt for a base hit. Dominic Ficociello’s strikeout briefly curbed the Razorbacks’ momentum before walks by Willie Schwanke and Jake Wise gave Arkansas a 2-0 lead. Jacob Morris then extended the Razorback surge with a two-run double to left center. Jake Wise scored on a wild pitch by Beal then Spoon connected with a 2-2 pitch for a two-run single.

Forrest Koumas entered to pitch for the Gamecocks, but Anderson turned on the first pitch sending it over the left field wall for a two-run home run, his first home run of the season, giving the Razorbacks a 9-0 advantage.

The Gamecocks answered in the bottom of the sixth with three runs, cutting the deficit to six. Pankake started things off with a single, his 14th straight game to reach base safely. LB Dantzler followed with a RBI double to right center. Grayson Greiner re-energized the crowd and continued the hitting streak driving a 1-1 pitch to left center for another RBI double. Connor Bright then punched one through the right side to score Greiner.

Arkansas went through the order in the top of the seventh, sending 10 batters to the plate. Vinson and Schwanke began the frame with walks. Eric Fisher entered to pinch run for Schwanke. The pair then executed a double steal as Wise struck out. A walk by Morris loaded the bases for Jacob Mahan with one out. Mahan drilled a 2-2 pitch back up the middle. The hit caught a piece of Joel Seddon on the mound and sent the ball ricocheting into shallow left field resulting in a two-run single. Spoon continued the inning knocking a single through the middle infield for two more runs. Anderson capped the seventh as he reached base on a fielding error and scored Joe Serrano to extend the Razorbacks’ lead to 14-3. Arkansas added one more run in the top of the ninth inning.

Arkansas had 13 hits with South Carolina finishing with six for the evening. Spoon went 3-for-6 with two runs and five RBI. Mahan, Anderson and Serrano had two hits apiece as well. Six different Gamecocks accounted for hits in the game.

The series continues on Saturday at 3:15 p.m. The game will be televised on Fox Sports South.