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South Carolina takes Game 1 of doubleheader with Arkansas

No. 21 South Carolina used two big innings at the plate, including a four-run sixth, to take down No. 2 Arkansas, 6-3, in Game 1 of a doubleheader in SEC play Saturday at Founders Park.

South Carolina struck first with a sharp two-run single from Talmadge LeCroy off Arkansas starter Mason Molina in the second inning for an early 2-0 lead.

In the sixth, the Gamecocks got run-scoring hits from Austin Brinling and Parker Noland to help build a 6-1 lead. All four sixth-inning runs came against Arkansas relievers Parker Coil and Koty Frank.

The Razorbacks threatened a half-inning later by loading the bases with one away against South Carolina reliever Matthew Becker. But the Hogs could only settle for one run, an RBI fielder’s choice from Kendall Diggs. Left-hander Garrett Gainey got Jack Wagner on a routine fly to right to avoid further damage, keeping the score at 6-2.

Arkansas attempted a ninth inning rally with a leadoff home run from Peyton Stovall. Three singles later, the Razorbacks had the bases loaded with one away for Peyton Holt, who already had two hits in the game.

Holt tapped a pitch back to the mound, allowing Connor McCreery to go home for a force play for the second out. Jayson Jones then struck out chasing a pitch out of the strike zone for the final out to give South Carolina the victory.

Arkansas finished with 12 hits but stranded 13 runners on base. Stovall (3-for-5) had three hits, and Holt (2-5) and Ross Lovich (2-2) each had two hits apiece.

Molina (3-1) suffered his first loss of the season for Arkansas. He left in the fourth after walking two batters that inning and throwing 70 pitches in just 3 1/3 innings — his shortest start of the season. Molina issued seven walks and surrendered two runs.

Becker (5-2) earned the win in relief for South Carolina, holding Arkansas to one run in 2 1/3 innings.

Story originally appeared on Razorbacks Wire