Fayetteville, AR - Carlos Cortes' 2-run home run in the top of the fifth proved to be the difference for South Carolina baseball in a 3-2 win over No. 3 Arkansas Thursday night (April 12) in the opener of a three-game SEC set at Baum Stadium.
The Gamecocks struck first in the top of the second frame. Justin Row singled with one out. He moved to second on a Jacob Olson sacrifice bunt and scored on Hunter Taylor's fourth double of the season, a shot down the line in left. Arkansas answered with a run in the bottom of the second, then scored a run in the third on Casey Martin's double to left.
The Gamecocks got out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fourth as Madison Stokes started a 3-2-3 double play. Carolina quickly answered in the fifth. After knocking out Razorback ace Blaine Knight after four innings, Cortes greeted new pitcher Barrett Loseke with a two-run home run to the bullpen in left, giving the Gamecocks a 3-2 lead.
South Carolina got out of another bases-loaded jam in the seventh as Arkansas left 12 men on base. Then in the ninth, Carolina closer Eddy Demurias allowed a one-out infield single but got a strikeout and a groundout on a great play from Jonah Bride to end the game.
Sawyer Bridges earned the win for the Gamecocks, pitching 2.2 innings and allowing four hits but no runs with a strikeout and a walk. Logan Chapman made the start for Carolina, allowing seven hits and two runs with a pair of strikeouts and walks in four innings. Demurias picked up his third save, striking out three batters in 2.1 innings pitched.
Cortes was 3-for-5 on the night with two RBI while Stokes and Row had two hits apiece.
"It was a really good college baseball game. Both sides played really well and pitched well. Both teams had double-digit hits. At the end of the day, we got the big home run that was the difference in the game." – Head Coach Mark Kingston
Madison Stokes, playing his first game at first base this season, started a big 3-2-3 double play in the fourth inning with the bases loaded and one out to get the Gamecocks out of a jam. Cortes then hit the two-run home run in the next half-inning.
The top three Gamecocks in the lineup (Noah Campbell, Carlos Cortes and Madison Stokes) went 7-for-14 with two runs scored and two RBI in tonight's win.
Carolina now has four wins over nationally-ranked opponents, including two top-five wins, after tonight's victory over No. 3 Arkansas.
Noah Campbell returned to the lineup for the first time since the Georgia series in tonight's win, going 2-for-5 with a run scored.
Madison Stokes made his first start of the year at first base, while Matt Williams earned his first start in right field.
Sawyer Bridges now has a 0.44 ERA after not allowing a run in 2.2 innings pitched tonight.
Jonah Bride extended his reached base streak to 30 games in tonight's win after an eighth-inning single.