Arkansas Clinches USC Series With 4-2 Win

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By Sports Department

COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) -- Fifth ranked South Carolina broke a scoreless tie with a run in the fifth inning but 17th ranked Arkansas rallied with four runs in the next three innings on the way to a 4-2 win over the Gamecocks on Saturday afternoon at Carolina Stadium. South Carolina is now 18-5 and 2-3 in the SEC with Arkansas 16-7 and 3-2 in league play. The series finale is set for Sunday at 1:30 p.m. and can be heard live on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.” Live video broadcast is also available at GamecocksOnline.com on the All Access Channel.

Arkansas starting pitcher Ryne Stanek earned the win with a complete game. He allowed two runs, both unearned, on three hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. He is now 2-1 for the season. South Carolina starting pitcher Nolan Belcher went 7.1 innings allowing four runs on nine hits with six strikeouts. With the loss, Belcher is now 4-2 on the year.

Both pitchers controlled much of the game and limited scoring opportunities for both squads.

Scoreless entering the bottom of the fifth, the Gamecocks broke through first as Grayson Greiner opened the frame reaching second base on a throwing error by Arkansas shortstop Brian Anderson after knocking a hard hit grounder. Connor Bright laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Greiner to third and Chase Vergason then scored Greiner on a sacrifice fly giving the Gamecocks a 1-0 lead.

Jacob Mahan answered for Arkansas in the top of the sixth with a leadoff single to left field and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Joe Serrano. Tyler Spoon knocked a one-out RBI past a diving Chase Vergason through the left side tying the game at 1-1. The run ended a 31.2 scoreless inning streak for Nolan Belcher.

Dominic Ficociello opened the seventh inning for the Razorbacks reaching first base on a throwing error by Joey Pankake. With two outs and a 1-2 count, Jacob Morris made a gutsy squeeze bunt. Belcher looked to field the ball but could not come up with a throw as he slipped on the wet grass and Ficociello score to give Arkansas a one-run lead. Mahan then punched one through the right side for a base hit, putting runners at first and third. A throwing error by Pankake gave Serrano a RBI single extending the Razorback lead to 3-1.

A solo home run by Matt Vinson in the eighth pushed the Arkansas lead to 4-1.

The Gamecocks mounted a rally in the eighth inning as Bright led off with a base hit up the first base line. After a lineout to the shortstop by Vergason, a throwing error at first advanced Bright to third. Iskenderian then hit a RBI groundout to the first baseman to cut the deficit to two runs.

Arkansas had 10 hits while South Carolina finished with three. Ficociello went 3-for-4 with two hits and one run. Mahan and Anderson each posted two hits as well and Vinson also added a home run for the Razorbacks. English, Bright and Iskenderian each tallied one hit for the Gamecocks.

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