Arkansas Knocks-Off No. 4 South Carolina
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. – The Arkansas Razorbacks got seven strong innings from starter Gary Hogan, Jr., and two runs batted in from Scott Hode to upset the fourth-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks Friday night at Baum Stadium.
The Razorbacks improved to 16-11 overall and 3-5 in the Southeastern Conference. The Gamecocks dropped to 24-7 overall and 6-4 in the SEC.
Hogan allowed four runs, three earned, on nine hits with four strikeouts in 108 pitches in earning his second win over a top 25 team this season. Hogan upped his overall record to 3-2 with the victory.
Gary Bell took the loss for South Carolina after giving up six runs, all earned, on six hits in three and two-thirds innings of work. Bell dropped to 5-3 on the year.
South Carolina got on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning. After the Razorbacks forced the Gamecocks into a double-play, Yaron Peter ripped a solo home run over the left-center fence for a 1-0 South Carolina lead.
Arkansas took the lead with a pair of runs in the second inning. Cody Clark brought in Ryan Fox (walk) with a fly ball to right field to tie the game 1-1. Scott Hode extended his hitting streak to seven games with a single to center that plated Brett Hagedorn (walk) to give the Hogs a 2-1 lead.
The Gamecocks tallied a run in the third with two outs to tie the game at 2-2. Drew Meyer popped up to third, but Brett Hagedorn missed the ball which allowed Meyer to move to second. Steve Thomas then singled to center to plate Meyer and even the game.
The Razorbacks exploded for four runs in the fourth inning. Fox singled and Pitts doubled to put runners on second and third with no outs. Hagedorn singled to bring home Fox and Pitts for 4-2 lead. After Clark sacrificed Hagedorn to second, Hode doubled home Hagedorn to put the Hogs up 5-2. Kirk McConnell then tripled to left-center to score Hode and give the Hogs a 6-2 cushion.
Hogan worked out of bases loaded, one-out jam in the top of the fifth. After the Gamecocks loaded the bases on two singles and an error, Hogan got Thomas to strikeout swinging and got Peters looking on a 1-2 pitch to end the scoring threat.
South Carolina cut the Razorback lead to 6-4 in the top of the seventh. Thomas and Peters each had RBI singles as the Gamecocks had three hitters single with two-strike counts to keep the inning alive.
Arkansas loaded the bases with one out in the seventh after Fox was intentionally walked. But the Razorbacks were only able to plate one run, on an RBI fly out by Pitts, as Cliff Crouse was doubled-off trying to advance to third on the play.
Razorback relief pitcher Josh Merryman pitched the final two innings giving up just two hits and striking out one in earning his first save of the season.
Arkansas and South Carolina continue their weekend series with a 2 p.m. game Saturday at Baum Stadium.
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