It wouldn't be surprising if Arkansas starting pitcher Trey Killian sues his teammates for non-support sometime soon.
Killian pitched seven scoreless innings before giving up a pair of runs in the eighth – which proved to be enough for No. 1 South Carolina to down Arkansas 2-1 Friday afternoon in the opening game of an SEC doubleheader.
"It was a disappointing game," Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. "We had a one-run lead going into the eighth and just disappointed we didn't finish it up. We left a few runners out there. I think we had runners in scoring position four or five times with two outs mostly. But we just needed a big two-out hit and we never got it.
"I thought we pitched well, played good enough in the field to win. We just didn't do it, which was disappointing," Van Horn added. "Especially when you're playing a team as talented as South Carolina."
The Razorbacks took the nightcap 4-1 to set up Saturday's 6 p.m. rubber game.
Killian, whose team has scored just eight runs for him in his six starts, had a 1-0 lead entering the eighth due to Blake Baxendale's sixth-inning double against Gamecocks starter and winner Jordan Montgomery (4-2).
South Carolina (26-3, 7-3) had seven hits in the opener, but only three against Killian (1-5) heading into the eighth with the Razorbacks (18-12, 4-6) ahead at that point.
DC Arendas doubled with one out in the eighth and then rode home on Tanner English's double a batter later to tie it 1-1.
Marcus Mooney then laced a two-out single to plate the speedy English on what proved to be the winning run before Michael Gunn relieved and got the final out of the eighth.
Killian was asked if frustration was setting in.
"I feel like I get asked this question a lot, but like (Tyler) Spoon said our pitching staff is always trying to pick the pitchers up," Killian said. "We don't always go out there and have our best outings and they pick us up. I feel like they don't get enough credit for that.
"I think that game is probably on my hands right there," Killian added. "I did only give up two runs, but I want to go out there and compete and I should have given up none. We had the 1-0 lead and if I could hold it for that one more inning then hopefully get Gunn or whoever wants to come in there and close. They would probably get the job done.
"They got some seeing eye base hits, some ground ball base hits and it was a tough situation for us," Killian continued. "I just went out there and battled. But yes, it is frustrating I guess – maybe not getting runs scored all the time – but we are backing each other up all the way, the staff and the hitters, and like Spoon said they are going to get the job done."
Arkansas had its chance to tie in the eighth when Krisjon Wilkerson drew a lead-off walk while pinch-hitting for frustrated Razorback freshman lead off man Andrew Benintendi - who had fanned three times on just nine pitches from Montgomery.
Pinch-runner Clark Eagan moved up on Joe Serrano's sacrifice bunt, but reliever Cody Mincey came on in place of Montgomery and fanned both Brian Anderson and Tyler Spoon to end the threat.
Joel Seddon worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to close out the game and pick up his eighth save of the season.
The three visiting pitchers combined to allow just four hits – one each by Seranno, Anderson, Spoon and Baxendale – and fanned 13 Arkansas hitters.
The Razorbacks got their lone run when Anderson singled, stole second, went to third on an overthrow and came home on Baxendale's double.
The oft-injured Baxendale- who redshirted his true freshman year - started the first game at designated hitter and game two at first base.
He said it felt great to finally be healthy and contributing.
"It definitely felt great," Baxendale said. "I got an opportunity and I wanted to make the most of it. To come through for these guys like Trey Killian and Jalen Beeks, they come through and give us eight, nine every time they pitch. So you want to give them your best and it felt great.
Killian allowed the two run on six hits, fanned five and walked a pair while throwing 96 pitches (64 strikes) in 7 2/3 innings of work while Gunn allowed one hit, walked one and whiffed one while getting the final four outs.
Mooney and English both had two hits to lead the Gamecocks.
Photos by Jason Ivester
Blake Baxendale celebrates after his sixth-inning RBI double that out Arkansas up 1-0.
South Carolina center fielder Tanner English slides past Arkansas catcher Jake Wise in with what proved to be the game-winning run in the opener.
Arkansas starting pitcher Trey Killian fires one to the plate.
Arkansas left field Joe Serrano makes a catch in foul territory Friday to end a South Carolina threat in game one of his team's doubleheader with the Gamecocks.
Dave Van Horn looks on during the first game.
South Carolina 2, Arkansas 1
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