FAYETTEVILLE – The Arkansas baseball team (19-12, 5-6 SEC) split a doubleheader with No. 1 South Carolina Friday, dropping game one 2-1, before bouncing back with a 4-1 victory over the Gamecocks in the nightcap at Baum Stadium.
In a doubleheader dominated by pitching, Jalen Beeks was the man of the hour, tossing his second complete-game of the season to lead the Razorbacks to a 4-1 victory in game two. He recorded a career-high nine strikeouts and allowed just one unearned run on four hits to lower his earned run average to 0.89.
The Razorbacks jumped on the Gamecocks early, using a two-out RBI single in the first inning from Brian Anderson, before Tyler Spoon doubled home two more runs in the second inning to give Arkansas a 3-0 lead.
The Gamecocks pushed across an unearned run in the fourth inning, but the Razorbacks answered with an insurance run in the sixth frame. Beeks would take over from there, holding South Carolina to one hit over the final four innings to slam the door and even the series.
The Razorbacks struck first in game one, using a two-out RBI double from Blake Baxendale to score Brian Anderson in the bottom of the sixth inning and give Arkansas a 1-0 lead. South Carolina would rally late however, scoring a pair of runs in the eighth inning and holding on for the 2-1 comeback victory.
Sophomore Trey Killian was charged with the tough-luck loss, lasting 7.2 innings with five strikeouts and just the two earned runs, marking the fourth time in six starts this season he has allowed two or fewer runs.
Arkansas and top ranked South Carolina will play the rubber game of the weekend series Saturday evening with first pitch slated for 6 p.m. at Baum Stadium.
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Head Coach Dave Van Horn Quotes
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn (opening statement) – "I think our team showed a lot of character and toughness hanging in there in that second game. The man of the hour is (LHP) Jalen Beeks. He did a tremendous job. He just kept fighting and fighting. You have to give him a lot of credit. That was an awesome outing, hats off to the team and Beeks for responding in a big way."
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn (on Spoon batting in the leadoff spot) – "He hits the first pitch and singles to right field, kind of fired up the team a little bit. I was just trying to shake it up. I just called them up and said that I changed up the line-up. I don’t think anyone was uptight, they just went out there and played. I didn’t care who it was, I just wanted to build a lead."
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn (on Blake Baxendale) – "I like him against left-handed pitching. He stays on the ball pretty good. Even the ball he pulled to left-center was away, he stayed on it just long enough and got it into the gap."
-The Razorbacks have defeated the No. 1 team in the country six times under head coach Dave Van Horn.
-The Arkansas pitching staff has allowed two runs or fewer in 18 of the team’s 31 games this season.
-The Razorbacks lead the SEC in complete games with four, with three of those coming against conference opponents.
-Jalen Beeks’ complete game marked his second of the year as he joins Trey Killian as two of the four pitchers in the league with multiple complete games.
-Brian Anderson extended his hitting streak to a season-long seven games, recording one hit in each contest
-Arkansas was not hit by a pitch in either game of the doubleheader, breaking a streak of 15 straight games with a hit by pitch. The Razorbacks have been hit by 58 total pitches on the year, in 26 of 31 games and hit by multiple pitches 17 times.
-The Razorbacks have won at least one game in 21 straight SEC series dating back to the 2012 season, currently the second-longest streak in the league behind Vanderbilt at 23.
-Seven of Arkansas’ 12 losses this season have come by one run, including three of those in SEC play.
How They Scored
-Arkansas 1, South Carolina 0; Bottom 6: Blake Baxendale doubled to left-center field; Brian Anderson scored from third base.
-Arkansas 1, South Carolina 1; Top 8: Tanner English doubled down the left-field line; DC Arendas scored from second base.
-Arkansas 1, South Carolina 2; Top 8: Marcus Mooney singled to right field; Tanner English scored from second base.
-Arkansas 1, South Carolina 0; Bottom 1: Brian Anderson singled to left-field; Tyler Spoon scored from third base.
-Arkansas 3, South Carolina 0; Bottom 2: Tyler Spoon doubled to right-center field; Krisjon Wilkerson scored from third base; Michael Bernal scored from first base.
-Arkansas 3, South Carolina 1; Top 4: Connor Bright singled to left field; Joey Pankake scored from second base.
-Arkansas 4; South Carolina 1; Bottom 6: Krisjon Wilkerson sacrifice flied to center field; Brian Anderson scored form third base.