OMAHA, Neb. (UA) - The University of Arkansas baseball team dropped a 3-2 final to the two-time defending national champion South Carolina Gamecocks at the College World Series on Friday night at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb., to finish third nationally.
The Razorbacks (46-22) finish tied for third in the nation for the second time in the last four years while South Carolina (49-18) looks to three-peat as baseball's national champion in a best-of-three series against Arizona which begins on Sunday.
Arkansas drew first blood, scoring once in the top of the first. Tim Carver swung at the game's first pitch and chopped a single over the third baseman's head. A sacrifice bunt by Jacob Mahan advanced Carver to second. Matt Reynolds then lined a single to left, scoring Carver from second base to give the Razorbacks the lead.
South Carolina had a scoring chance in the bottom of the first. With one out, Evan Marzilli walked and then advanced to third on a single to center field by Christian Walker. A walk to LB Dantzler loaded the bases with one out. Baxendale worked out of trouble as he got Adam Matthews to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the threat.
The Razorbacks tacked on another run in the top of the third. Jake Wise was hit by a pitch to begin the inning and a double to right-center by Carver off the glove of Marzilli put runners on second and third. After a groundout to third by Mahan, Reynolds drove in his second run of the game with a sacrifice fly to right on a nice sliding catch by Matthews.
Arkansas had a chance to add on to the lead in the fourth, but came up empty. Bo Bigham walked to begin the inning and advanced to second after a sacrifice bunt by Joe Serrano. Matt Vinson then singled to right to advance Bigham to third. After a strikeout of Wise, Vinson stole second to put two runners in scoring position. Carver flied out to right to end the inning and keep the score at 2-0.
South Carolina tied the game with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth. Tanner English led off the inning with a single and then stole second with one out. A walk to Chase Vergason put runners on first and second with one out. Joey Pankake then singled to center to drive home English. A walk to Marzilli loaded the bases. Walker then drew a bases loaded walk to tie the game. The Razorbacks were able to avoid further trouble as Trent Daniel got Dantzler to foul out to third and Colby Suggs stuck out Matthews to end the inning.
The Gamecocks took the lead with a run in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Pankake walked and moved to second on a passed ball. A walk to Marzilli put runners on first and second with one out. After an infield fly out by Walker, Dantzler reached on an infield single to load the bases. Matthews then drew a bases loaded walk to put South Carolina in front.
Arkansas seniors Bigham and Carver ended their Razorback careers with a fight, going a combined 3-for-7 in the game with a walk and run scored. The seniors accounted for three of Arkansas' five hits in the game. Bigham also made a highlight diving grab on a line drive early in the contest.
For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.