FAYETTEVILLE — The Razorbacks already have one win under their belt, but can now clinch the Arkansas vs South Carolina series with a win Saturday night.
The series opener was tight for much of the night, but the Razorbacks eventually got a couple of insurance runs in the seventh inning and hung on for a 4-1 win over the Gamecocks. First pitch of Game 2 is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT and will be streamed on SEC Network-Plus.
It is a special night for Arkansas because it is honoring its seniors prior to the game. More specifically, it is recognizing the three players who will exhaust their eligibility this year, meaning first baseman Brady Slavens, shortstop John Bolton and outfielder Jared Wegner. Left-hander Zack Morris is listed as a senior, but won’t be honored because he technically has an extra year of eligibility available.
As always, Best of Arkansas Sports is in the building and will provide live, inning-by-inning updates from Game 2 of the Arkansas vs South Carolina series…
LIVE UPDATES — Arkansas vs South Carolina
Despite discussing the possibility of not starting Jack Mahoney, South Carolina is sticking with the junior right-hander as its Game 2 starter. He has a 4.42 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 57 innings this season.
Pregame warmups on the field were halted because lightning was detected within eight miles of the stadium. The tarp came out on the field for a few minutes, but is now in the process of being removed with 15 minutes until scheduled first pitch.
However, first pitch has been pushed back to 6:45 p.m. CT.
T-1st: Arkansas 0, South Carolina 0
Braswell swung at the first pitch of the game and hit a sinking line drive to right, but Diggs was able to make a tremendous diving catch for the out. Tygart then struck out Brewer in a full count and then got Petry to look at strike three for a three-pitch strikeout. He threw 11 pitches in the inning.
B-1st: Arkansas 0, South Carolina 0
A six-pitch battle between Josenberger and Mahoney ended with Josenberger striking out. Diggs followed with another six-pitch at bat, but this one resulted in a full-count walk. Bohrofen then made solid contact on the first pitch he saw, but it hung in the air long enough for the left fielder to easily catch it. McLaughlin then grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning. The first two batters saw 12 total pitches, but the next two saw only four, so it was a 16-pitch inning for Mahoney.
T-2nd: Arkansas 0, South Carolina 0
Messina grounded out to third to start the second inning, with Slavens making a really nice pick at first to complete the out. Casas was then hit by a pitch in the foot to give South Carolina its first base runner. Tygart bounced back by striking out Wimmer and getting LeCroy to fly out to center. Tygart is up to 26 pitches through two innings.
B-2nd: Arkansas 0, South Carolina 0
Cali grounded out to short on the first pitch of the home half of the second. Slavens flied out to center. With two outs, Holt hit a scorcher back up the middle and it deflected off Mahoney’s foot for an infield single. It had an exit velocity of 105 mph, but it didn’t seem to hurt him at all. Mahoney bounced back to strike out Rowland on three pitches. He’s thrown 26 pitches through two innings.
T-3rd: Arkansas 0, South Carolina 0
Tippett hit a first-pitch single just over Bolton’s head to start the third and Stone tried to bunt him over to second, but popped it up for an easy out to Cali. Braswell then hit a slow roller to short. It was too soft for a double play, but Bolton got the out at first. With a runner on second and two outs, Brewer went down swinging. It was another 11-pitch inning for Tygart, who has thrown just 37 pitches through three innings.
B-3rd: Arkansas 0, South Carolina 0
Bolton ripped a double down the left field line to start the inning and then Josenberger moved him over to third with a sacrifice bunt that he nearly beat out for a single. However, he was stranded there because Diggs struck out looking and Bohrofen flied out to left. Mahoney is up to 39 pitches – an average of 13 per inning.
T-4th: South Carolina 3, Arkansas 0
Tygart’s day is done after just 37 pitches in three innings. Right-hander Will McEntire is now pitching for Arkansas. He promptly plunked Petry to start his outing and then gave up back-to-back singles to Messina and Casas — the second of which resulted in an RBI to start the scoring. That prompts a visit from Matt Hobbs. He got ahead 0-2 against Wimmer, but gave up yet another RBI single.
McEntire eventually locked in and struck out LeCroy and then got Tippett to pop out to second. With two outs, though, McEntire gave up an RBI single to Stone, the 9-hole who was hitting .209. He finally got out of the inning by striking out Braswell.
B-4th: South Carolina 3, Arkansas 0
McLaughlin popped out to third to start the inning. Cali hit a fly ball to left-center, but it hung in the air long enough for the left fielder to run under it for an easy out. Slavens smoked a single up the middle that left the bat at 107 mph, but he was stranded when Holt grounded into a fielder’s choice on the very next pitch. Mahoney is at 49 pitches through four innings.
T-5th: South Carolina 3, Arkansas 0
McEntire struck out Brewer and Petry to start the fifth and then gave up a deep fly ball to Messina, but Josenberger ran under it for the final out it right-center. It was an 11-pitch inning for McEntire, who has thrown 36 through two innings of work.
B-5th: South Carolina 3, Arkansas 0
Rowland looked at strike three right down the middle to start the fifth. Bolton worked the count full and fouled off a pitch, but eventually grounded out to short. With two outs, Josenberger drew a walk to keep the inning alive. Mahoney’s pickoff attempt before even throwing a pitch to Diggs was wild and got by the first baseman. The E1 moved Josenberger to second and prompted a mound visit. Mahoney responded by striking out Diggs, who looked at strike three for the second time tonight. It was the most he’s had to work today, though, throwing 23 pitches. He’s at 72 total through five innings.
T-6th: South Carolina 3, Arkansas 0
Casas flied out to right on the first pitch of the inning. Wimmer followed with a fly ball down the right field line and Holt was able to run over and make the catch. LeCroy thought he had ball four, but the umpire rung him up to end the inning. McEntire has now retired seven straight and nine of the last 10 batters he’s faced since a shaky start. He’s at 45 pitches through three innings.
B-6th: South Carolina 3, Arkansas 0
Bohrofen smoked a grounder right back at the pitcher and it deflected off him, but this time right to the shortstop, who made the play to complete the rare 1-6-3 putout at first. McLaughlin hit a hard grounder to the right side that the first baseman knocked down, recovered and threw to Mahoney covering the bag. Cali then lined out to left on the first pitch he saw. He is now 0 for 3 and seen a grand total of four pitches tonight. It was just a six-pitch inning for Mahoney, who is at 78 through six innings.
T-7th: South Carolina 3, Arkansas 0
McEntire struck out Tippett to run his streak to eight straight retired, but then walked Stone in a full count. Braswell looked at strike three and then, after Stone swiped second, Brewer grounded out to second. McEntire is up to 66 pitches in four innings.
B-7th: South Carolina 3, Arkansas 0
Slavens singled through the shift to start the bottom of the seventh, with his hit leaving the bat at 102 mph. Holt followed with a soft line drive that just got over LeCroy’s head at third. Jayson Jones pinch hit for Rowland and saw two pitches, grounding into a 1-4-3 double play. That moved Slavens to third, but with two outs. Bolton thought he had a walk, but had to come back to the plate and ended up striking out to end the inning. Mahoney is at 90 pitches through seven innings.
T-8th: South Carolina 3, Arkansas 0
Hudson Polk is now at catcher. Petry gave it a ride, but it was to straight away center and Josenberger tracked it down for an out. Messina then grounded out to short. McEntire had another 1-2-3 inning, but the third strike to Casas got away from Polk and he then kicked the ball further away from him, allowing Casas to reach. South Carolina answered with a mistake of its own, as Wimmer hit a slow roller to third for an infield single, but Casas tried going first to third on the play and Arkansas easily threw him out, with Bolton running over to cover third. McEntire is at 80 pitches.
B-8th: South Carolina 3, Arkansas 1
With the top of Arkansas’ order coming up, South Carolina turned to its closer, right-hander Chris Veach. He promptly walked Josenberger on five pitches. Josenberger then took second on a great read on a pitch in the dirt and moved to third on Diggs’ ground out to second. Bohrofen drove him in with a single through the right side. McLaughlin flied out to right. With two outs, a passed ball moved Bohrofen to second. He was stranded there, though, as Cali went down swinging.
T-9th: South Carolina 3, Arkansas 1
LeCroy opened the ninth with a pop out to second. Tippett followed with a full-count walk and then tried stealing second. He was called out on the field thanks to a great tag by Holt, but it was reviewed and overturned. Stone flied out to center for the second out. McEntire struck out Braswell to end the inning.
B-9th: South Carolina 3, Arkansas 1
Slavens flied out to center on the first pitch of the ninth. Holt thought he had a four-pitch walk, but Veach’s pitch at the top of the zone was called a strike. Instead, after fouling off a couple of pitches, he lined out to center. Polk then struck out to end the game.
FINAL: South Carolina 3, Arkansas 1
BOX SCORE – Arkansas vs South Carolina
Starting Lineups – Arkansas vs South Carolina
|South Carolina Baseball||Arkansas Baseball|
|1. Michael Braswell – SS||1. Tavian Josenberger – CF|
|2. Dylan Brewer – LF||2. Kendall Diggs – RF|
|3. Ethan Petry – RF||3. Jace Bohrofen – LF|
|4. Cole Messina – C||4. Ben McLaughlin – DH|
|5. Gavin Casas – 1B||5. Caleb Cali – 3B|
|6. Braylen Wimmer – DH||6. Brady Slavens – 1B|
|7. Talmadge LeCroy – 3B||7. Peyton Holt – 2B|
|8. Will Tippett – 2B||8. Parker Rowland – C|
|9. Evan Stone – CF||9. John Bolton – SS|
|Pitching: Jr. RHP Jack Mahoney||Pitching: So. RHP Brady Tygart|
Baseball Schedule This Week
Friday — Arkansas 4, South Carolina 1
Saturday — vs. South Carolina — 6 p.m. (SECN+)
Sunday — vs. South Carolina — 2 p.m. (SECN+)
Accountability Check — 2023 Arkansas Baseball Predictions
Best of Arkansas Sports managing editor Andrew Hutchinson published his week-by-week predictions for the 2023 season just before the Razorbacks opened the year at the College Baseball Showdown. Those predictions can be read in full here, but we’ll also be doing weekly “accountability checks” in this space.
Prediction: 2-1 on the weekend / 36-13 overall, 15-9 in SEC play
Having won three straight SEC series, the Razorbacks will head to Starkville as one of the hottest teams in the country. That will be important because Mississippi State, despite being picked last in the division, should bounce back from last year’s National Championship hangover. All three games will be close, but the Razorbacks will win two of them.
Actual: 3-0 on the weekend / 36-12 overall, 17-7 in SEC play
We corrected predicted Arkansas to win the series at Mississippi State, but didn’t predict the road sweep – which is understandable because it was just the Razorbacks’ second in seven seasons.
Composite College Baseball Top 25
Unlike football and basketball, which have just the AP and Coaches Polls all year (with football adding the CFP rankings late in the season), college baseball has five major polls. (Collegiate Baseball used to be included, but it was dropped to due severe inconsistencies in its rankings.)
To get a better feel for how teams stack up, BoAS has combined those rankings into a single top 25 by using a points system in which a No. 1 ranking = 25 points, No. 2 = 24 points and all the way to No. 25 = 1 point. We will update this each week throughout the season…
|1. Wake Forest||ACC||+1||125|
|t-6. South Carolina||SEC||-3||99|
|8. Coastal Carolina||Sun Belt||-1||87|
|10. Miami (Fla.)||ACC||—||73|
|11. Campbell||Big South||+1||69.5|
|12. West Virginia||Big 12||+1||68.5|
|13. UConn||Big East||-3||68|
|14. East Carolina||AAC||—||60|
|15. Dallas Baptist||C-USA||-1||45.5|
|19. Oregon State||Pac-12||+1||35.5|
|21. Boston College||ACC||-2||27|
|22. Oklahoma State||Big 12||+3||17|
|23. Maryland||Big Ten||+4||16|
|25. Texas Tech||Big 12||-3||13.5|
MOVED IN: Clemson (t-17), Maryland (23)
MOVED OUT: Oregon (18), Arizona State (21)
- SEC: 7
- ACC: 6
- Big 12: 3
- C-USA: 2
- Pac-12: 2
- AAC: 1
- Big East: 1
- Big South: 1
- Big Ten: 1
- Sun Belt: 1
More coverage of Arkansas baseball from BoAS…