The Razorbacks snapped the Gamecocks' 12-game conference winning streak in the first week of May and snapped USC's 12-game winning streak in Omaha and 22-game winning streak in the NCAA Tournament with a 2-1 victory over the two-time defending national champions Monday at TD Ameritrade Park.
"It's a big win, but we never discussed (the streak) with our team," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "To our team, it was another SEC battle and we're used to it. We had 30 of them – two in the conference tournament which didn't go well – but it's a big win.
"They're a great team. I can't imagine winning 22 games in a row in the postseason. That's incredible."
Tim Carver began the game with a single, Jacob Mahan bunted him to second, the senior shortstop advanced to third on a groundout and Dominic Ficociello hit a two-out, RBI double to give Arkansas its second first inning lead in as many games in the College World Series.
The Razorbacks added another run in the fourth inning when Brian Anderson marked the fourth consecutive Arkansas lead-off hitter to reach base, stole second and scored on Matt Vinson's two-out, RBI single.
"He must be doing something different. Maybe he's eating his spinach," Joe Serrano said of Vinson's three RBIs on two-out hits so far in the College World Series. "He's been on fire and it's been awesome. He's a new person and he's been seeing the ball well from both sides of the plate. He's tracking balls down, throwing people out.
"He has re-energized our team again and it's been awesome having him back."
The second Arkansas run was enough to chase USC starter Colby Holmes. The junior right-hander allowed just four hits, but was replaced by Tyler Webb in the fourth inning. Webb tossed 5 1/3 shutout innings and allowed just two hits, but the two runs Holmes (7-2) allowed up were too many for the Gamecocks to overcome.
"We had just enough offense," Van Horn said. "I thought we did a good job early in the game of working some counts. We laid down a few nice sacrifice bunts. We got a couple big two-out hits to drive in some runs and we held on just the way we've been doing it."
USC (46-18) was able to cut into Arkansas' lead in the fifth when Chase Vergason walked to begin the inning and was bunted to second. Evan Marzilli later tripled in the inning to score Vergason, but the Gamecocks stranded him at third and Arkansas preserved its 2-1 lead.
Ryne Stanek (8-4) threw 91 pitches in just six innings, but gave the Razorbacks a quality start and earned his eighth win by allowing just one run on three hits. Barrett Astin took over in the seventh and closed out the game. The sophomore right-hander allowed just one base runner in three scoreless innings to earn his 11th save of the season. The Arkansas pitching staff has now allowed just two runs in its last 32 1/3 innings pitched.
"From my vantage point, I thought Arkansas was very, very good," USC coach Ray Tanner said. "Tyler Webb came in and battled his rear end off to give us a chance, but we weren't able to push any runs in against their pitching staff.
"Stanek and Astin are very special. Surprisingly, they only had four strikeouts. We battled, but their stuff was on and we couldn't capitalize on some situations. They are good pitchers."
The 2-0 start in the 2012 College World Series is just the second in school history with the other happening in 1979. Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said the day off puts the Razorbacks in a good position for the remaining games.
"The biggest game of the year to date was today and our players knew that," Van Horn said. "They've heard it 15 times now. Being 2-0 gives you a chance to rest a little bit and not have to use pitching while the other teams are.
Kent State and USC will play in an elimination game Wednesday at 7 p.m. The winner will play Arkansas Thursday night at 8 and the Razorbacks will have two chances to win and earn a spot in the championship series that begins Sunday, June 24.