South Carolina Baseball: Gamecocks drop another SEC series

South Carolina baseball fell at home to the Arkansas Razorbacks, losing two of three games at Founders Park.
South Carolina baseball second baseman Parker Noland
South Carolina baseball second baseman Parker Noland / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

Following up a weekend series win over the struggling Florida Gators and a mid-week victory over The Citadel Bulldogs, South Carolina baseball lost another series this weekend as they dropped two of three to the Arkansas Razorbacks at Founders Park. The series loss to the nation's #2 team is not a surprise, but it hurts as the series win was very attainable.

Game 1 against the Hogs was a display of bad offense and good pitching from both teams. Future 1st rounder Hagen Smith dominated for Arkansas, striking out 11 USC batters in 6 innings while giving up just 2 singles and 1 run. Roman Kimball was good but left with an injury, and Ty Good performed well in relief. However, he was left in too long and surrendered 2 runs before Chris Veach, Parker Marlatt, and Jake McCoy could close things out with scoreless efforts.

The 2 runs were all Arkansas needed as Smith surrendered just 1, and the rest of the Razorback pitching staff held down the Carolina offense. Cole Messina reached base three times, but the rest of the team only managed 2 hits and 5 walks. The team went 1-13 with runners on base (Messina had the only hit in those situations), and they managed just 1 run in a frustrating 2-1 defeat.

Saturday saw the two teams play a doubleheader as expected rain on Sunday threatened a rainout. The Gamecocks and Razorbacks played two 9-inning contests.

The series' second game had a little more offense, but outside of a big 6th inning, the Gamecock bats were quiet again. Thankfully, though, Mark Kingston's team plated 4 in that frame as they logged 5 of their 9 hits for the game. That, plus 2 runs in the 2nd, was all they could muster on offense, but it was enough.

Eli Jones pitched around 7 Arkansas hits to limit them to just 1 run over the first 4 innings. Matthew Becker and Garrett Gainey were both good but left in too long (a recurring theme with the pitching decisions for the Gamecocks). Thankfully for South Carolina baseball fans, the damage was limited, and Connor McCreary got out of a tough jam in the 9th to hold onto the 6-3 win.

The series finale was strange, but it never felt like the Gamecocks were in it. Dylan Eskew's stuff wasn't very good but battled his way through more than 5 innings while keeping his team in the game. Tyler Pitzer and Michael Polk imploded in the 7th inning, allowing the Hogs to go up 9-2. Even with a bit of a comeback from the offense, the deficit was too much.

The Carolina bats managed 5 extra-base hits (all doubles) but just 3 other hits. They pushed 6 runs across home plate, but it was not enough to overcome the poor pitching. The 9-6 loss marked the Gamecocks' fifth series loss in seven series against teams from power conferences.

Next up for South Carolina baseball is a weekend series against the Kentucky Wildcats at Founders Park.




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