South Carolina Knocks Arkansas Out of SEC Tour
BY ANDRES FOCIL
HOOVER, ALA. – South Carolina’s David Marchbanks held the Razorbacks to two runs on nine hits as the Gamecocks ousted Arkansas from the Southeastern Conference Tournament with a 6-2 victory Friday night.
Arkansas dropped to 31-26 overall and will now await a possible NCAA Regional bid. The NCAA will air a Regional selection show at 11:30 a.m. Monday on ESPN2. The Gamecocks improved to 46-13 with the victory.
Arkansas starter Jarrett Gardner took the loss after allowing four runs, two earned, on six hits in four innings of work. Gardner fell to 3-3 with the loss.
Marchbanks moved to 9-3 after going seven and two-thirds innings. Marchbanks fanned four and walked one in allowing two runs, both earned.
The Gamecocks took the lead with a pair of runs in the top of the second inning. Gary Bell doubled to open the inning and scored on a two-out double by Kevin Melillo. South Carolina made it 2-0 when Landon Powell hit a grounder up the middle that second baseman Scott Bridges snared with a diving grab. Bridges, however, threw the ball into the Arkansas dugout which allowed Melillo to score.
South Carolina added two runs in the fourth inning. Melillo walked with one out and scored when Powell doubled in the corner to right on a hit and run to give the Gamecocks a 3-0 advantage. After a two-out walk to Jon Coutlangus put runners on second and third, catcher Cody Clark bluffed a throw to second by mishandled the ball and it rolled into the South Carolina dugout allowing Powell to score from second.
The Razorbacks got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth inning. Nick Pitts tripled in the gap in right-center and scored on Clark’s single down the right field line to make it a 4-1 game.
The Gamecocks plated a run in the seventh on an RBI single by Bell that scored Drew Meyer (single) to give South Carolina a 5-1 lead.
Arkansas narrowed the Gamecock lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning when Cliff Crouse ripped a 2-2 pitch over the left-center wall for his fourth home run of the season. It was Crouse’s first home run since March 23, against Alabama.
The Razorbacks missed a chance to plate more runs in the eighth. After Ryan Fox walked, Michael Conner hit a grounder to second that Melillo fielded and threw into the Arkansas dugout, allowing Fox to move to third and Conner to second. Pinch hitter Andrew Wishy then flew out to center to end the inning with South Carolina holding on to a 5-2 lead.
South Carolina added an insurance run in the ninth inning. Drew Meyer walked and scored on a single through the left side by Steve Thomas to give the Gamecocks a 6-2 lead. Thomas’ single chased Glynn who was lifted for Kyler Pomeroy. Pomeroy recorded two outs before giving way to Josh Merryman who entered with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth. Merryman forced a ground to second to end the inning.
South Carolina reliever Blake Taylor shut the Hogs down over the final inning and a third to earn his 18th save of the season. Taylor allowed only one hit while walking and striking out one.
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