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#12 South Carolina Gamecocks vs. #13 Arkansas Razorbacks: Weekend Preview and How to Watch

Arkansas visits Founders Park for the opening weekend of conference play

TheBigSpur

South Carolina beat Davidson 15-2 on Wednesday to improve to 17-2 on the season and with that victory the Gamecocks have won seven straight games since their two losses to Clemson at the beginning of March. They will try to continue to keep the winning streak going as they host Arkansas in the opening weekend of conference play.

Arkansas holds a 37-28 lead in the all-time series against Carolina and last season was the first year since 2007 that the Gamecocks and Razorbacks didn't play each other. After losing both the regular season series and two of three meetings with the Gamecocks in Omaha in 2012, Arkansas swept USC in Columbia in 2013 and won the 2014 series in Fayetteville.

The Razorbacks enter the weekend with a 15-3 overall record and on a five-game winning streak. Arkansas has midweek losses to Louisiana Tech and Gonzaga and a weekend loss to Eastern Illinois, though the Hogs did win the series. Friday's game will be the first true road game of the season for Arkansas, as they've only played at home or in a neutral location.

South Carolina Arkansas
Batting Average .323 .295
On-Base % .415 .402
Slugging % .452 .487
ERA 1.97 3.27
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio 3.17 2.79
Fielding % .981 .976

Carolina's 1.97 ERA is the 5th-best in the country. That 1.97 ERA also leads the SEC, though there are three other SEC teams that have an ERA in the top ten nationally. Arkansas is not the most formidable team in the SEC in terms of batting average (they're actually below the SEC average of .300), but they lead the league in homers and are patient enough at the plate to draw walks nearly as much as they strike out. This weekend will provide a good opportunity to see whether Carolina's young starting weekend rotation can continue to perform at a high level against more talented hitters.

The Gamecocks are sticking with the new rotation that they used last weekend against Charleston Southern. Clarke Schmidt, who has the best ERA of any pitcher in the SEC, will start on Friday. The sophomore right-hander boasts a 0.32 ERA with 32 strikeouts and just 5 walks. Freshman RHP Braden Webb, who has a 1.80 ERA with 21 strikeouts and 13 walks, will take the mound on Saturday. Adam Hill, Carolina's freshman RHP that made his weekend debut against Charleston Southern, will remain in the Sunday spot to open SEC play. Hill has a 0.47 ERA, which is good for second best in the SEC behind Schmidt. Hill also has 32 strikeouts and just 3 walks on the year, giving him a team-best 10.67 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Arkansas junior RHP Dominic Taccolini will take the mound against the Gamecocks Friday night. Taccolini has a 2.16 ERA with 23 strikeouts and 5 walks. Arkansas has not announced a starter for the Saturday game. Sophomore right-hander Keaton McKinney, who has a 6.46 ERA and just 4 strikeouts to 9 walks, is expected to get the start for the Hogs on Sunday.

Game 1, Friday

When: 7:30 p.m.

How to Watch: SEC Network Plus*

How to Listen: 1320 AM The Fan

Game 2, Saturday

When: 4 p.m.

How to Watch: SEC Network Plus

How to Listen: 107.5 The Game

Game 3, Sunday

When: 1:30 p.m.

How to Watch: SEC Network Plus

How to Listen: 107.5 The Game

*The SEC Network will be doing a SEC Bases Loaded feature with whip-around coverage to all seven opening SEC series on Friday night. The Carolina-Arkansas game will be included in that coverage, but fans that want to watch the entire game will need to do so online through SEC Network+.