Before we get to recapping this bummer of a game, let’s take a moment to reflect on the Gamecocks going from not even making a Regional in 2017 to making - and winning - one in 2018, then forcing a winner-take-all third game in the Super Regional. The turnaround after the midseason struggles that culminated in an embarrassing loss to Presbyterian can’t be overstated, nor can what it says about every player and coach on this team. Instead of deciding the season was a lost cause and mailing it in, this team came together, went to work, and racked up a bunch of big wins en route to the postseason. Even though the ride is over and we likely won’t remember the individual plays of the regular season, the big plays from the postseason - Danny Blair’s hero moment, Justin Row coming through in the clutch, LT Tolbert blasting two grand slams - will be talked about for years to come. This team took us on a hell of a fun ride in the second half of Coach Kingston’s first year, and it won’t soon be forgotten.
More of a disappointment than this loss is that some of the guys who were so key this season won’t get to experience Omaha and the College World Series. The leadership shown by the juniors and seniors was crucial to the success of this team this year, and they’re going to be missed. Next season’s juniors and seniors had a great example set for them, and the future is bright.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled recap.
After a season full of ups and downs, South Carolina struggled on Monday night against Arkansas, a tough ending after the resurgence shown during the last few months.
The Razorbacks got on the board early and never looked back, taking a 5-0 lead in the first inning on an error, an RBI single, and a three-run homer. Arkansas tacked on two more runs in the second thanks to an RBI single and an RBI sac fly, making the score 7-0.
The Gamecocks ended the shutout in the top of the fourth inning, making it 7-2. With one out, Jonah Bride knocked a base hit, Justin Row doubled, and both scored on a weird wild pitch play. The Razorbacks got one of the runs back in the bottom of the inning, making the score 8-2 with an RBI sac fly.
Arkansas added five more runs in a nightmare fifth inning that seemed to last forever. The runs, which put the Razorbacks up 13-2, came courtesy of a bases-loaded walk, a two-run double, an RBI sac fly, and an RBI single.
Both teams tallied a solo homer in the seventh inning, with Jacob Olson going yard to start things off in the top of the inning. Olson hit another home run in the eighth inning, this time with two outs.
Pitching was not USC’s strong suit in this game, going through stretches where seemingly no one could throw a strike. Starter Carmen Mlodzinski took the loss and pitched just one inning, allowing four hits and five runs. He walked one batter and struck one out. Graham Lawson, Logan Chapman, Eddy Demurias, John Gilreath, Ridge Chapman, and Parker Coyne also pitched in this game.
South Carolina finishes the season with a record of 37-26.