Baseball Knocks Off South Carolina

Jeff Fletcher ripped a three-run, walk-off home run in the bottom of the 15th inning to propel the Arkansas Razorbacks to an 8-7 come-from-behind victory over the fourth-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks Saturday afternoon.

The home run capped a marathon game that lasted nearly five hours and saw the Razorbacks overcome two extra-inning deficits.

Arkansas improved to 17-11 overall and 4-5 in the Southeastern Conference with the victory, while South Carolina dropped to 24-8 overall and 6-5 in the SEC.

Scott Woods, the fifth Razorback pitcher of the game, got the win to improve his record to 4-0 on the year. Woods pitched one inning allowing one hit and one walk. Matt Campbell took the loss for South Carolina and fell to 0-2 on the year.

Ryan Fox tied for the second-most hits in a game for a Razorback with five and is the first player to have five hits since Ryan Lundquist accomplished the feat against Kentucky on April 9, 1999.

The game is the longest for the Razorbacks since going 17 innings against Auburn in 1994 and is the third longest game ever trailing only the 17 inning contest against Auburn and a 16 inning game against Texas A&M in 1989. The Razorbacks took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Kirk McConnell and Cliff Crouse each singled to begin the inning. Ryan Fox brought McConnell in with a single with one out in the inning. After Nick Pitts walked to load the bases, Cody Clark hit a shot down the first base line that was booted and allowed Crouse and Pitts to score for a 3-0 lead.

South Carolina plated a run in the top of the second on Steve Thomas' solo home run over the left field wall.

Fox gave the Hogs a three-run cushion with a lead-off solo home run in the bottom of the third inning. It was Fox's seventh home run of the year.

The Gamecocks added a run in the top of the eighth and had another run called back. With two outs and two on, Buscher hit a grounder to third that Hagedorn threw in the dirt to first which allowed Yaron Peters (walk) to score. Steve Thomas, who was on first, approached third as the ball rolled into the dugout and was awarded home. But, on appeal by the Razorbacks coaches, the umpires ruled Thomas had not reached third when the ball went into the dugout and was placed back at third, still with two outs.

Layne Berry, who relieved starter Jarrett Gardner in the seventh, then forced Landon Powell to ground out to shortstop to end the inning and preserve the 4-2 lead.

South Carolina tied the game in dramatic fashion. With two outs in the ninth, Peters ripped a 2-2 pitch over the left field fence with Melillo aboard to knot the game at 4-4.

The Gamecocks took a 5-4 lead in the 14th inning on Trey Dyson's solo home run to right. But, the Razorbacks battled back in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game.

Patrick Woodruff doubled to lead-off the inning and moved to third on a wild pitch. Cliff Crouse and Michael Conner each popped up for the first two outs of the inning. Ryan Fox then singled up the middle on a 1-0 pitch to bring in Woodruff and even the score at 5-5. Arkansas wasted a chance to win when Fox stole second and move to third on a wild pitch. But, Nick Pitts grounded out to second to end the scoring threat and send the game into the 15th inning.

South Carolina took a 7-5 lead in the top of the 15th inning on a two-run single by Peters which set up Fletcher's dramatic finish.

The teams combined for 30 hits, 29 runners left on base, five doubles and six home runs in the game.

The two teams will meet in the series finale at 11:30 a.m. Sunday at Baum Stadium.

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