OMAHA, Neb. – After winning its first two games in the College World Series for the first time since 1979, the Arkansas baseball team looks to continue its success on Thursday night as it faces No. 7 South Carolina. First pitch is set for 8 p.m.
Thursday’s game will be televised on ESPN2 and also streamed online on ESPN3.com. Mike Patrick, Orel Hershiser and Jessica Mendoza will have the call. The game will also be available on the Razorback Baseball Radio Network from IMG. Chuck Barrett (play-by-play) and former Arkansas Sports Information Director Rick Schaeffer (analyst) will call the action. A live blog and live stats will also be available on ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Arkansas, 46-20 on the season, reached the bracket title game after defeating South Carolina, 2-1, on Monday night. A Razorback win on Thursday would advance the team to the College World Series championship series, which begins on Sunday night at 7 p.m. A win by the Gamecocks would force another game on Friday night at 8 p.m.
The Razorbacks continued to use the formula of solid pitching and defense and timely hitting to snap the Gamecocks’ 22-game postseason winning streak. Ryne Stanek
and Barrett Astin
combined to give up just one run on four hits, while Dominic Ficociello
and Matt Vinson
each had a clutch two-out RBI hit.
As a team, the Razorbacks are hitting .273. Arkansas is led offensively by Matt Reynolds
, who is hitting .328 with seven homers, 43 RBI and 15 stolen bases. Tim Carver
is batting .301 with two homers, 30 RBI and 14 stolen bases. Dominic Ficociello
has a .297 batting average with six round trippers and 41 RBI. Joe Serrano
has had a strong performance in the NCAA Tournament as he is hitting .521 (11-for-21) in Arkansas’ eight NCAA Tourney games.
The Arkansas pitching staff has a team ERA of 2.84. The Razorbacks have given up just two runs in their last 32.1 innings, dating back to the second game of the Waco Super Regional. Junior southpaw Randall Fant
will start on Thursday vs. South Carolina or Kent State. Fant has pitched in 14 games, including 13 starts, and is 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA. Fant hasn’t allowed a run in his last 12.1 innings of work.
Out of the bullpen, Barrett Astin
has appeared in a team-leading 31 games, 28 in relief, and has a 3-5 record with a team-high 11 saves and a 2.04 ERA. Colby Suggs
has pitched in 29 games and is 7-0 with a 1.22 ERA. Brandon Moore
has seen time in 28 games and has compiled a 5-2 record with three saves and a 2.62 ERA.
South Carolina, 47-18 on the season, is the No. 8 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Gamecocks are 2-1 in the College World Series after defeating Florida in the opening round, falling to Arkansas on Monday and downing Kent State, 4-1, on Thursday afternoon. South Carolina went 18-11 in SEC play to win the Eastern Division title.
South Carolina is hitting .269 as a team. The Gamecocks are led at the plate by Christian Walker, who is hitting .316 with 11 homers and 54 RBI. Tanner English is batting .305 with 22 RBI, while Evan Marzilli is hitting .290 with two homers, 31 RBI and a team-high 13 stolen bases.
The South Carolina pitching staff has a team ERA of 3.01 ERA. The Gamecocks will start freshman left hander Jordan Montgomery on Thursday night. Montgomery has pitched in 14 games, including 12 starts, and is 5-1 with a 4.05 ERA.
Matt Price has pitched in 25 games, 20 as a reliever, and has a 4-4 record with a team-high 12 saves and a 3.38 ERA. Tyler Webb has appeared in a team-leading 37 games and is 6-1 with three saves and a 1.70 ERA. Evan Beal has pitched in 27 games and is 4-4 with five saves and a 4.02 ERA.
Arkansas leads the all-time series against South Carolina, 32-26, including a 2-0 edge when the two teams meet in the NCAA Tournament.