Photo: Walt Beazley, arkansasrazorbacks.com
Arkansas relied on solid pitching again Monday night to defeat a familiar conference foe, and are now in the all-important winners bracket of the College World Series.
Starter Ryne Stanek allowed just one run in six innings, and reliever Barrett Astin threw three innings of shut-out baseball to close out a hard fought victory over two-time defending national champions South Carolina, 2-1.
The Hogs jumped out to an early lead on the Gamecocks, as senior shortstop Tim Carver led off the game with a single in the top of the first, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, and was driven in by cleanup man Dominic Ficociello. The Hogs added another run the fourth to take a 2-0 lead, and it was all the pitching staff needed to hold on for the victory.
“I thought it was just a great college game,” said Razorback head coach Dave Van Horn. “I thought both teams played extremely well, the pitching was outstanding…we had just enough offense…and we held on. It’s just kind of the way we’ve been doing it.”
Arkansas’ two wins at the College World Series match its total from the 2009 season, but for the first time since 1979, the Hogs have won their first two games at the event. The Hogs also ended South Carolina’s 22-game NCAA post-season win streak Monday night.
Arkansas will face the winner of Wednesday’s Kent State-South Carolina elimination game on Thursday night at 8 p.m. The game will be televised by ESPN2.
Since Arkansas is still undefeated in the College World Series, whoever emerges to face the Hogs on Thursday night would have to defeat Arkansas twice to advance to the championship series.
Updated College World Series Bracket