Andrew Hutchinson is a multimedia reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas.
Diamond Hogs cruise to series win
Arkansas pitcher Chris Oliver fires a pitch in the 4th inning of the Saturday, April 5, 2014, game against South Carolina at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas entered the week at No. 116 in college baseball RPI rankings. A series win over South Carolina, who was No. 1 in the RPI, should give that a boost.
In front of a season-high 7,023 fans, the Razorbacks jumped on the Gamecocks early in the rubber game Saturday night at Baum Stadium. They scored five runs in the second inning on their way to a 7-0 win.
After a nine-pitch at bat, Tyler Spoon reached on an infield hit that loaded the bases with two outs. Andrew Benintendi followed with an eight-pitch walk that gave Arkansas the only run it needed.
The Razorbacks added four more runs thanks to a pair of hits by Joe Serrano and Brian Anderson and a pair of South Carolina errors.
The five runs were plenty of run support for right-hander Chris Oliver, who went eight innings and didn't give up a run. He also struck out a career-high 10 batters.
Arkansas' starters pitched 24 2/3 innings out of a possible 27 innings of the series and allowed only two earned runs.
In total, South Carolina scored three runs over the three-game series. Coming into the week, the Gamecocks ranked second in the SEC in runs per game, averaging 6.4.
A squeeze bunt by Jake Wise in the fifth inning and RBI-single by Eric Fisher in the sixth stretched the lead to 7-0.
The win improved the Razorbacks' record to 20-12 overall and 6-6 in SEC play.
The Razorbacks return to action for a two-game midweek series at Baum Stadium against UNLV beginning Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.