Maybe all Arkansas pitcher Ryne Stanek needed was a rain delay.
The 6-4 junior righthander had trouble locating his 95 mph fast ball in his first five starts and has been a slow starter in all three of his Razorback seasons. But waiting 45 minutes for the start after morning rains maybe did the trick for the Kansas City product, hailed as one of the top three collegiate prospects in draft speculation.
Stanek located Saturday to put down No. 6 South Carolina on just three hits -- one on a bunt and another on a swinging bunt -- to lead No. 17 Arkansas to a 4-2 victory Saturday at Carolina Stadium. Stanek threw 124 pitches, 78 for strikes.
The Hogs lowered their team ERA to 1.79 with Stanek dropping his ERA to 2.35. The Hogs are hitting .286 as a team with Tyler Spoon (.348), Brian Anderson (.333), Jacob Mahan (.333) and Matt Vinson (.320) all above .300.
The Hogs (16-7, 3-2) hammered the Gamecocks (18-5, 2-3) by a 15-3 count on Friday. They take a 2-0 series lead into the 12:30 p.m. Sunday finale with senior lefty Randall Fant on the mound.
South Carolina jumped on top with an unearned run in the fifth inning when shortstop Brian Anderson committed a two-base throwing error. A sacrifice bunt moved up the runner and a sacrifice fly to center scored the lead run -- despite a protest from Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn that the runner left early.
Arkansas tied it in the top of the sixth, with Jacob Mahan's single, a sacrifice by Joe Serrano and Tyler Spoon's single. The Hogs went ahead in the seventh after Dominic Ficociello singled, moved up on a pair of ground outs, then scored on a Jacob Morris two-strike, two-out bunt when pitcher Nelson Belcher lost his balance while trying to turn for a throw.
The Hogs would take advantage of a Joey Pankake error for a 3-1 lead and added a solo homer by Matt Vinson in the eighth.
Stanek allowed another unearned run in the eighth when Anderson tried to double up a runner at first on a line-out and threw into the Carolina dugout. The runner reached on a liner over the bag at first, just eluding Eric Fisher's diving stab.
Stanek, 2-1, had walked 13 in 21 innings in his first five starts, never making it past the sixth inning. But he was in command against the Gamecocks. Vinson chased down a fly ball against the all in left for the only hard-hit ball by the home team.
Facing a lineup stacked with lefty batters, Stanek put a moving fast ball on the outer part of the plate and had his slider dancing for strikes against righthanders. He had seven strikeouts and walked only one.
Arkansas managed 10 hits, the fourth straight time they've done that in SEC plays. They were checked with only three in the SEC opener last weekend. Anderson, Mahan and Ficociello all had two hits for the Hogs.
Arkansas 4, South Carolina 2
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