COLUMBIA, S.C. – Freshman Zack Cox hit a three-run home run in the sixth and the combination of Dallas Keuchel and Mike Bolsinger kept No. 28 South Carolina off base to lead the No. 4 Arkansas baseball team to a 6-4 victory at Carolina Stadium in Columbia, S.C., on Friday night.
Arkansas (21-5, 9-1 SEC) takes its fourth consecutive Southeastern Conference series opener while South Carolina (19-9, 4-6 SEC) turns to lefty Nolan Belcher for game two.
The Gamecocks were the first team to score when they pushed one across the plate in the bottom of the first. A one out single was followed by a second one-base hit and with runners on the corners a potential double play ball was just late at first base and the first run of the game was scored.
Arkansas’ starter, Keuchel, settled in after the inning and kept South Carolina at bay for the next four before it finally cracked his stuff and scored a second run in the sixth. The Gamecocks would add two more in the seventh to come within two of the Razorbacks, 6-4.
With the score 6-2 and one out in the seventh, Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn went to his bullpen and brought in Bolsinger who was roughed up by the first hitter he faced, Whit Marrified, for a two-run home run. Arkansas’ reliever would allow just one more hit through the end of the game, ending the contest with his sixth strike out in eight outs, the final one looking.
The Hogs built their lead after the third inning as South Carolina starter Sam Dyson was perfect through three. With one out in the fourth shortstop Scott Lyons hit a 1-0 pitch to right-center field that seemed to carry just enough to land in the Gamecock bullpen and tie the game at one. A single by Ben Tschepikow up the middle was followed by an Andy Wilkins walk and then with two strikes Jacob House came through with a single through the right side which scored Tschepikow and gave the Razorbacks a 2-1 lead.
The Razorbacks added another run in the fourth on a RBI single by Chase Leavitt which scored Ryan Cisterna from second base. The eventual game-winning hit came off the bat of Cox in the top of the sixth with a pair of runners on base Cox stroked a long fly ball over the South Carolina bullpen and into the street to make it a 6-1 game. House led the inning off with a single and moved to third when Brett Eibner smoked a line drive past the third baseman and into the left-field corner.
House was the only Razorback to account for two hits in the game while other Razorback hits came from Leavitt, Lyons, Tschepikow, Eibner and Cox. Keuchel’s win moves Arkansas’ lefty to 5-0 on the year. Dyson falls to 4-2.
The Razorbacks and Gamecocks continue their series on Saturday afternoon with a 3 p.m. central first pitch. For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.