Kacey Murphy didn’t have his best stuff today but grinded it out before handing over a one run deficit to Jake Reindl with two on and one out in the fifth. Then the bottom fell out as Reindl allowed a walk before giving up a grand slam and solo home run back to back. That put South Carolina up 7-1 in the fifth and they never looked back, tacking on another run and earning the 8-5 victory in a must win game for them.
Offensively it took the Hogs a while to get rolling as they scored just one run on an error through five innings before adding four more from the sixth through eighth innings. Carson Shaddy kept rolling with a two run home run in the sixth, and Heston Kjerstad set the school’s Freshman home run record (14) and tied the team record (92) with a solo shot in the seventh. Jax Biggers’ sacrifice fly in the eighth pulled the Razorbacks within three, but they could not put anything together in the ninth.
The most glaring stats in this one were the 10 walks to just 2 strikeouts for Arkansas pitching. The Gamecock offense capitalized on inconsistent pitch location and piled on the runs quickly, something that the Razorbacks have been known to do all season.
One of the more promising take-aways from this one is that Freshman Bryce Bonnin pitched a solid 1.1 innings in relief, allowing only one unearned run on one hit and two walks on questionable calls. He sat with the fastball from 93-94 and even bumped it up to 96. This was great experience for someone who will be counted on much more over the next two seasons.
This series was tabbed to be an offensive showcase from both teams and through two games it has been nothing short of just that. Arkansas will hand the ball to starter Isaiah Campbell tomorrow in a rubber match for Omaha. The bullpen still has a fresh Matt Cronin who can go upwards of three innings if needed, Barrett Loseke might be good for a couple of outs after an efficient three innings in game one, and Reindl will be available as well.