Hogs win on walk-off Homer

Arkansas rallies for 12-11 victory over South Carolina on a grand slam by Jacob House in the bottom of the ninth.

The Arkansas fans got after South Carolina early. The Razorbacks did late, thanks to a pinch hit, walk-off grand slam homer by freshman Jacob House to bring on the annual fireworks show after the game.

Arkansas scored the game's final six runs to overcome a big deficit for a 12-11 SEC victory before 7,116 Friday night.

Arkansas fans behind the South Carolina dugout -- upset that water was thrown into the stands -- engaged the Gamecocks with some heated words in the middle of the game. Carolina coach Ray Tanner was part of the yelling, but later turned on his players after umpire crew chief Mark Chapman explained what had happened.

"This was the biggest win of the season," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "It's been a rough season. But we battled and battled tonight and we deserved to win it."

The Hogs started and closed the game with home runs. Sean Jones and Logan Forsythe hit solo homers. They let the Gamecocks take control by committing errors (one by pitcher Justin Wells and another by Forsythe) that blew a pair of double-play chances that would have ended two big innings. Ultimately, Carolina got seven runs in those two frames, including a five-run fifth for a 9-3 lead.

"We gave up the big inning, but I told 'em to just keep battling," Van Horn said. "I told 'em before the game that we can't give them extra chances because they hit too good."

Van Horn called on House to pinch hit for Jones after Chase Leavitt beat out a grounder in the hole between first and second to load the bases with two outs.

"That was big, Chase just kept hustling and beat the throw," House said. "I really didn't know I was hitting until then. Coach Van Horn made eye contact with me earlier in the inning."

House hadn't played much in the last month, but Van Horn thought he was solid this week in the batting cages.

"He's been doing that in the cage in practice and he took a breaking ball down -- a pretty good pitch -- and put a great swing on it," Van Horn said. "Go talk to him. He made it happen tonight."

House was busy thanking everyone afterwards, including Forsythe, four-for-four with three RBI and three runs scored.

"Forsythe is our captain and our leader," House said. "I am thankful for him. I'm thankful to God for the opportunity tonight. I give glory to Him. I thank Coach Van Horn for putting me in."

The Hogs pounded out 19 hits, but it was the two errors, both throwing errors that almost did them in.

"There are going to be errors," Forsythe said. "You have to forget them and just keep playing. There have been errors before and there will be some again. You don't want them, but you better play on. That's what we did. That's what I had to do. I knew I had to keep playing for this team."

Forsythe has been on a hitting tear over the last month.

"I'm just glad I'm finally healthy," he said. "It's been a tough year and I just wanted to be healthy for this team and try to help them."

The injuries might have settled out for the Hogs. Jones has missed most of the season with a broken hand. Andy Wilkins, four for five on the night, played for the first time in over a month against the Gamecocks. However, they lost shortstop Scott Lyons in warmups Friday night when he pulled a hamstring.

The victory lifted the Hogs to 11-13 in the SEC anhd 29-20 overall. They still have some playing to do before they can claim a spot in the conference tournament. A loss might have put them too far behind.

"We couldn't afford to lose," Van Horn said. "It's been tough, like I said. But they have kept battling.

"We've had some injuries and might have gotten another guy hurt tonight. We'll see how Lyons is. Wilkins came back tonight, but he had a big swing on that last at bat, his last hit and he was bent over at first. I want to see how he is now."

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