Carolina Cruises By Arkansas In SEC Opener 10-6
By USC SID
COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) — Sophomore right-hander Clarke Schmidt struck out a career-high 11 batters in seven-plus innings of work and was backed by an offense that belted out 16 hits as 12th-ranked South Carolina defeated Arkansas 10-6 in the SEC opener on Friday night at Founders Park. The Gamecocks are 18-2 on the year, while the Razorbacks fall to 15-4.
Schmidt improved to 5-0 on the season. Arkansas right-hander Dominic Taccolini suffered the loss after allowing eight runs on twelve hits with one walk and two strikeouts in six innings. He is 3-1 on the year.
The Gamecocks stormed ahead 5-0 in the bottom of the first inning. Gene Cone, LT Tolbert and John Jones all singled to load the bases for Alex Destino, who drove in two runs on a single to center field. With the bases loaded for a second time, Chris Cullen delivered a sacrifice fly to right field to score Jones. DC Arendas followed up with a two-out two-run double to right field.
South Carolina added three runs in the bottom of the second inning. With Destino on second and Jones on first, Dom Thompson-Williams cleared the bases with a triple to right field. Cullen drove in Thompson-Williams with a two-out double to left field to give the Gamecocks an eight run cushion.
Arkansas would get a run back in the third inning with a solo home run by Tucker Pennell. It snapped a 26-inning scoreless streak for Schmidt. The Razorbacks added a second run in the top of the sixth with a double by Rick Nomura and a single up the middle by Carson Shaddy to score Nomura.
Arendas added another run for the Gamecocks in the bottom of the seventh with a solo home run to left field to give South Carolina a seven-run lead. Arkansas picked up four runs in the top of the eighth when Shaddy singled up the middle to score Darien Simms and Clark Eagan, and Luke Bonfield knocked a two- run homer to left field. The Gamecocks added their final run in the bottom of the eighth as Jones drove in Cone with a single to center field.
The five-run first inning gave the Gamecocks a lead they would not relinquish.
Six Gamecocks turned in multi-hit games. Destino went 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored, Jones went 3-for-5 with a RBI and two runs scored, Tolbert was 3-for-5 with a run scored, Thompson-Williams, Cone and Arendas all had two hits as well.
• Alex Destino extended his hitting streak to 12 games.
• Dom Thompson-Williams has reached base in all 20 games this season and recorded the first triple of the season for the Gamecocks.
• Clarke Schmidt tallied a career-high 11 strikeouts, besting his previous record of nine.
• DC Arendas recorded his first home run of the season and a season-high three RBIs, giving him 9 RBIs on the year.
• This was South Carolina’s sixth game with 10 or more runs, including its third 10-run game this week.
• South Carolina is now 14-0 when out-hitting its opponent. In addition, South Carolina is 12-0 when finishing with 10 or more hits.
• South Carolina did not commit an error. It is the 12th game this season that the Gamecocks have not committed an error.
Head Coach Chad Holbrook
“This was a big win for us over a really good Arkansas team. I didn’t feel comfortable at all during the whole game, even though we were up 8-0. Those guys never quit, and they have a great offensive approach. They put pressure on us all night. We were able to hold on. Clarke [Schmidt] gave us a great outing, very gutsy. He gave up a few hits, made a couple of mistakes but seven innings with 11 strikeouts and one walk. I’ll take that in SEC play on a Friday night. He gave us a chance to win. He was great. I know he was probably not happy with four earned runs, but he was special in my eyes. We played good defense, for the most part, behind him. We swung the bats very well. When you get double-digit runs and double-digit hits, you like your chances to win, and we were able to win tonight.”
Game two between the Gamecocks and the Hogs is set for Saturday at 4 p.m. at Founders park. It will be broadcast live on SEC Network +. The game can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”