Gamecocks break up a perfect game but Arkansas ties series
April 14, 2018
After surprising the nation's No. 2 team this past Friday for the upset, South Carolina baseball came crashing back to earth in a major way in the first game of a doubleheader on Sunday.
Arkansas junior lefty Kacey Murphy delivered a sterling performance, not allowing a baserunner for six innings and surrendering just one hit all game as the Gamecocks lost, 2-0.
The Razorbacks (26-10, 9-5 SEC) got all the offense they needed in the bottom of the second inning when redshirt senior second baseman Carson Shaddy launched a 2-0 offering from Adam Hill out of left-center field for a home run.
They then added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning off a hit by pitch, a single and a wild pitch.
USC (20-15, 6-8 SEC), meanwhile, was baffled by Murphy and unable to force him out of the abbreviated game until the seventh inning., Due to a rainout on Saturday, SEC rules dictate that both of the games in the doubleheader Sunday must be seven innings.
In the top of the seventh inning, senior second baseman Justin Row broke up Murphy's perfect game effort with a single to left field, but he was stranded at second after advancing there.
Star of the game: How could it not be Murphy? The 6-foot lefty came up short in his quest for a perfect game, but he still needed just 70 pitches to retire 18 batters.
For South Carolina, junior staff ace Adam Hill bounced back from a rough outing against Kentucky to throw five-plus solid innings, giving up just three hits and one earned run. Unfortunately, his big mistake loomed large as his offense let him down.
Play of the game: While Shaddy's home run was the deciding play of the game, Row's seventh-inning single saved South Carolina from the embarrassment of being on the receiving end of a perfect game.
Stat of the game: 14 of 21 batters for South Carolina who took a first-pitch strike from Arkansas pitching, putting themselves at an immediate disadvantage that allowed the Razorbacks to keep their pitch count low.
Bride's streak snapped: Senior third baseman Jonah Bride entered Sunday's Game 1 having reached base in 30 consecutive games, a team-high. But a tough play by Arkansas's outfield in the second, a groundout to third and a flyout in the seventh ended that stretch.
USC kept grounded: Against Murphy, USC had eight groundouts, seven strikeouts and just five flyouts on an extremely windy day in Fayetteville. The few times the Gamecocks did put the ball in the air, Arkansas had to make some tough defensive plays, but South Carolina simply didn't give the Hogs many chances to make mistakes.
Who: South Carolina (20-15, 6-8 SEC) vs. Arkansas (26-10, 9-5 SEC)
When: 4 p.m.
Where: Baum Stadium, Fayetteville, Arkansas
Watch: Streaming online on SEC Network Plus via WatchESPN app
Listen: 107.5 FM in the Columbia, SC, area
Probable pitchers: South Carolina — So. RHP Cody Morris (6-2, 4.04 ERA); Arkansas — So. RHP Isaiah Campbell (2-3, 4.03 ERA)