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UA wins series opener at South Carolina

UA wins series opener at South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Arkansas offense pounded out 14 hits, led by a four-hit game from Dominic Ficociello and three-hit performances from Jarrod McKinney and Matt Reynolds, and DJ Baxendale threw six strong innings to earn his eighth win of the year as the 23rd-ranked Razorbacks defeated No. 4 South Carolina 6-2 in a game that started on Friday night and ended on Saturday morning at Carolina Stadium.

The Razorbacks improve to 33-15 and 13-12 in the Southeastern Conference, while South Carolina is now 39-11 and 18-7 in league play.

The game lasted into Saturday morning as a two hour and three minute rain delay pushed the start of the game to 10:06 p.m. (ET). The three hour and 16 minute game time pushed the contest into the wee hours of Saturday morning with the last out being recorded at 1:22 a.m.

Arkansas put together one of its best offensive showings of the season against one of the league’s top pitching staffs. The Razorbacks put together 14 hits, with four different players recording multiple hits in the game. Ficociello led Arkansas with four hits, his third four-hit game of the season, and had a RBI and a run scored. McKinney added three hits with a team-high two RBI, while Reynolds had three hits and two runs scored. James McCann went 2-for-5 with a RBI and a run scored.

Baxendale earned the win to improve to 8-1. The right hander from Jacksonville, Ark., threw his third-consecutive quality start, surrendering a run on six hits with six strikeouts in six innings of work. With the win, Baxendale has now defeated three of the league’s top pitchers, besting Sonny Gray from Vanderbilt, Hudson Randall from Florida and Michael Roth from South Carolina.

Trent Daniel closed out the game to earn his second save of the season. Daniel threw three innings, giving up an unearned run on a hit with three strikeouts.

Roth suffered just his second loss of the season to drop to 10-2. Roth allowed a season-high tying 10 hits on three runs, two earned, with five strikeouts.

Arkansas struck first, scoring twice in the top of the fourth. Ficociello led off the inning with a single to center. With one out, Ficociello stole second and a throwing error by catcher Brady Thomas allowed him to reach third. Reynolds drew a walk to put runners at the corners. After a Jacob Rice strikeout, Reynolds stole second with two outs and Thomas’ throw again went into center field, allowing Ficociello to score and advancing Reynolds to third. McKinney then reached on a infield single to third, scoring Reynolds for the second run of the inning.

The Razorbacks added another run in the top of the sixth. Reynolds doubled to the right-center field alley to start the inning and then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Rice. McKinney laced a single into center field to bring home Reynolds and put Arkansas in front 3-0.

The lead was stretched to four with a run in the seventh. Collin Kuhn drew a lead-off walk. McCann reached on a fielding error by the shortstop, which allowed Kuhn to advance to second. An infield single to first base by Ficociello loaded the bases with nobody out. Kyle Robinson grounded into a fielder’s choice to third with Kuhn being retired at the plate for the first out of the inning. Reynolds then hit a ground ball up the middle. The throw home by the Gamecock second baseman pulled the catcher off the plate, allowing McCann to score.

South Carolina got on the scoreboard with a run in the bottom of the seventh. Evan Marzilli walked and Robert Beary singled to right to put runners at the corners with nobody out. Anderson then hit a ground ball to short that was booted by Carver, allowing Marzilli to score and Beary to reach second. Daniel then entered the game and was able to avoid further damage, retiring the next three batters he faced to get out of the inning.

Arkansas tacked on two more runs in the top of the eighth. McKinney walked to begin the inning. With one out, he attempted to steal second and a throwing error by Thomas allowed McKinney to advance to third. After a line out to right by Bo Bigham for the second out, Kuhn was hit by a pitch. McCann singled through the right side to bring home McKinney. Ficociello added another run with a single to right field, scoring Bigham.

South Carolina closed the scoring with a run in the bottom of the ninth. With two outs, a throwing error by Bigham allowed Wingo to reach first and scored DeSean Anderson from second base to make the final score 6-2.

Anderson went 2-for-3 with a RBI to lead the Gamecocks at the plate. Thomas and Wingo each added a pair of hits as well in the loss.

Arkansas and South Carolina continue the series on Saturday with first pitch set for 3:30 p.m. The Razorbacks are scheduled to throw sophomore southpaw Randall Fant (2-3, 3.09), while the Gamecocks will counter with freshman right hander Forrest Koumas (5-0, 3.14). Saturday’s game will be televised on SportSouth and also available on the Razorback Baseball Radio Network from IMG.

Sports Category : Baseball