Gamecocks and Razorbacks battle it out in a stellar 3 game series
I could very easily write this post in only caps lock and exclamation points, there were so many highlights to this past weekend’s series with Arkansas. I’ll do my best to refrain, but no promises.
Everyone knew what a big series this was. Heading into the series, Arkansas boasted an SEC leading team ERA of 2.61, which was also good enough to be 3rd nationally. As finicky as USC’s bats have been, it seemed like it might be an uphill battle. Fortunately for the Gamecock faithful, USC played a spectacular series of baseball. Even Saturday’s loss had some highlights. These may have been the most solid three games that the Gamecocks have played this year. If they can springboard that success into the upcoming games with Georgia and LSU, they will have put themselves in a prime position for another post season run.
ADAM MATTHEWS!!!! What a weekend for the senior rightfielder. Matthews threw out two runners at the plate on Sunday (!) and ignited the Gamecocks’ scoring drive in Sunday’s game with a two-out RBI single in the 7th.
GRAYSON GREINER!!!! The Gamecocks’ freshman catcher was behind the plate for each of the 28 innings played this weekend. He threw out five runners (!) over the course of the weekend. Greiner also was the key to Friday’s come-from-behind victory, hitting a 2-run home run, a sac fly, and an RBI single in the 10th. On Sunday, Greiner added another two RBI to his total, as he knocked in a pair with a single during the Gamecock’s big scoring rally in the 8th.
FORREST KOUMAS!!! After being out for a month with an injury, Koumas looked great through 5.1 innings on Sunday. It was only his second start of the year. He struck out four, walked two, gave up five hits, and, most importantly, did not allow a run. Not too shabby for a guy who hasn’t seen too much action this year.
CHASE VERGASON!!! The 2nd baseman hit .500 for the weekend, including a home run, two doubles, and 3 RBI. Vergason has been solid on defense all year too, and appears to have emerged as the everyday 2nd baseman down the stretch.
I could go on, citing each player on the Gamecocks’ roster and listing their accomplishments against Arkansas, but I think that would get too long, given that everyone contributed something this weekend.
Not that it was easy. Arkansas is a fantastic baseball team. The Razorbacks led the Gamecocks in each of the three games. If not for the ‘Cocks finally figuring out how to rally, Arkansas would have had the sweep. This was one of the best played and hardest fought series of the year. I have no doubt that the Razorbacks will enjoy a nice post-season run – they have all the tools to play deep into June. Right now, it looks like the Gamecocks are getting hot at the right time, so it may be that these two teams face each other again in a month. But, baseball is a fickle game, which is part of its beauty. Anything can happen, but frankly, I’d be surprised not to see one, if not both, of these teams playing in Omaha in June.
vs. Furman – 5/9 at 7 p.m. (FS South / FS Carolinas)
at Georgia – 5/11 at 7 p.m.
at Georgia – 5/12 at 1 p.m. (CSS / TWC Channel 506)
at Georgia – 5/13 at 2 p.m.
The Gamecocks are currently ranked #4 in the Baseball America poll, #3 in the NCBWA poll, and #3 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll. The Gamecocks are currently tied for 1st place in the SEC with LSU, and is one game ahead of Kentucky in the SEC East.