Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Big inning enough as Gamecocks tie series with Razorbacks
South Carolina catcher Cole Messina (19) is congratulated after scoring a run during a game against Arkansas on Saturday, May 13, 2023, in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE — The first four hitters reached against Arkansas relief pitcher Will McEntire in the fourth inning and that was the difference as South Carolina tied the series between teams Saturday night.
The seventh-ranked Gamecocks defeated the third-ranked Razorbacks 3-1 in front of 10,432 at Baum-Walker Stadium. The teams are scheduled to play their series finale Sunday at 2 p.m.
South Carolina (37-13, 15-10 SEC) snapped a five-game losing streak and snapped Arkansas’ seven-game winning streak in SEC play.
The Razorbacks (37-13, 18-8) lost for the fourth time in 33 home games.
McEntire replaced starter Brady Tygart, who threw three scoreless innings and 37 pitches on a pitch count. He hit Ethan Petry with a 1-1 pitch before Cole Messina, Gavin Casas and Braylen Wimmer singled in consecutive at-bats.
Gasas and Wimmer each drove in runs, and Evan Stone added a two-out RBI single to put South Carolina ahead 3-0.
Arkansas did not score until the eighth inning when Tavian Josenberger drew a lead-off walk against Gamecocks right-handed closer Chris Veach and scored on Jace Bohrofen’s one-out single.
It was one of the few successes for the Razorbacks with runners on base. Arkansas stranded base runners in every inning but the sixth and ninth innings, and went 2 for 14 with runners on.
South Carolina right-hander Jack Mahoney was responsible for most of the Razorbacks’ struggles. He pitched seven scoreless innings.
Mahoney allowed 5 hits, walked 2 and struck out 6 during his 90-pitch start. He threw 55 pitches for strikes.
McEntire pitched well after the bad start to his outing. The right-hander tied a career high with 9 strikeouts during his 6-inning, 98-pitch appearance. He allowed 3 runs, 5 hits and 2 walks.
Tygart allowed 1 hit, struck out 4 and hit 1 batter in his third start since returning from an elbow injury. He has pitched six scoreless innings in his three starts since returning to action April 28.
Arkansas remained in first place in the SEC despite the loss, one-half game ahead of LSU which lost 9-4 to Mississippi State on Saturday.
Vanderbilt and Florida are tied one game behind the Razorbacks. South Carolina is 2 1/2 games back.
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