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Arkansas falls to South Carolina in extras

05/04/2012
Chad Crunk, Athletic Media Relations
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FAYETTEVILLE – South Carolina broke a 6-6 tie with two runs in the top of the 10th inning as the fifth-ranked Gamecocks defeated No. 18 Arkansas 8-6 in 10 innings on Friday night in front of 8,011 fans at Baum Stadium.

With the loss, Arkansas falls to 33-14 on the season and 11-11 in Southeastern Conference play. South Carolina improves to 35-11 and 15-7 in league play with the win.

With the game tied at six in the top of the 10th inning, the Gamecocks plated a pair of runs to take the lead. With one out, Joey Pankake reached first on an infield single and took second after an errant throw to first by Tim Carver. Evan Marzilli then doubled to the left-center field gap, scoring Pankake with the go-ahead run. After a ground out by Christian Walker and a walk to LB Dantzler, Grayson Greiner reached on an infield single to short. Marzilli attempted to score on the play. Initially, home plate umpire Tony Walsh ruled Marzilli out at the plate, but after consulting with the other two umpires, Walsh changed the call and ruled Marzilli was safe at home, putting the Gamecocks in front 8-6.

In the bottom of the 10th, South Carolina closer Matt Price was able to retire Arkansas in order as the Gamecocks held on for the win.

Matt Reynolds led Arkansas at the plate, reaching base four times with a walk and three hits and scoring a pair of runs. Reynolds extended his streak of reaching base to 30 straight games. Brian Anderson and Jimmy Bosco each had two RBI in the loss.

Greiner had a team-high four RBI and went 2-for-4, including hitting his sixth homer of the season, to pace South Carolina. Dantzler, Marzilli and Pankake each added two hits and a RBI.

South Carolina reliever Evan Beal (3-3) picked up the win, throwing three scoreless frames with a strikeout. Price earned his seventh save of the season.

Arkansas reliever Barrett Astin (2-4) took the loss after giving up two runs on three hits with two strikeouts in 2.1 innings.

Neither starter factored into the decision. Arkansas starter Ryne Stanek gave up five runs with five strikeouts in five innings, while South Carolina starter Michael Roth allowed six runs, four earned, on six hits in six innings.

Arkansas jumped out to an early lead with three runs in the bottom of the first. Carver led off the inning with a single and then moved to second after Mahan reached on a fielding error by Chase Vergason at second base. A fielder’s choice groundout to second by Dominic Ficociello put runners at the corners with one out. After a wild pitch advanced Ficociello to second, Reynolds walked to load the bases. Bosco then singled through the right side of the infield, scoring Carver and Ficociello and advancing Reynolds to third. Anderson brought home the third run of the inning on a fielder’s choice ground out to short.

The Razorbacks tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the second. Bo Bigham led off the inning with an infield single to short and then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jake Wise. A walk to Jacob Morris put runners at first and second. Bigham and Morris then executed a double steal to put both runners in scoring position. A ground out to second by Carver scored Bigham to make the score 4-0. Mahan then singled to right to score Morris for Arkansas’ fifth run.

Arkansas added another run in the home half of the third. Reynolds singled to left field to lead off the inning and advanced to second after a ground out by Bosco. Anderson then hit a fly ball to deep right-center field. Reynolds tagged from second and was able to score on the play, sliding in just ahead of the throw.

South Carolina cut the lead in half with three runs in the top of the fourth. Marzilli reached on a bunt single to lead off the inning and then advanced to second on a single to center field by Walker. Dantzler doubled down the right field line to score Marzilli for the Gamecocks’ first run. Back-to-back sacrifice flies by Greiner and Kyle Martin scored Walker and Dantzler to cut the lead to 6-3.

The Gamecocks tied the game with three runs in the top of the sixth. After a lead off single by Dantzler, Greiner hit a two-run homer over the left field wall to trim the lead to one. Tanner English was hit by a pitch with one out and then moved to second on a bunt single by Adam Matthews. Vergason singled to left-center field to load the bases with one out. Pankake hit a sacrifice fly to right, scoring English to tie the game.

Arkansas had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth. Anderson drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Bigham. A ground out to second by Wise sent Anderson to third with two outs. Pinch hitter Joe Serrano walked to put runners at the corners. Carver grounded out to short to end the threat and send the game into extras.

Arkansas and South Carolina continue the three-game series on Saturday at 12 p.m. Saturday’s game will be televised by ESPN2. The Razorbacks will start junior left hander Randall Fant (2-2, 4.05), while the Gamecocks will start freshman southpaw Jordan Montgomery (4-0, 3.47).

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