After a season of tough defeats and putting themselves on the brink of no post-season play, the Diamond Hogs are refusing to go away quietly – if at all.
Ben Tschepikow and Logan Forsythe both had a pair of hits – one each in a four-run seventh – as the University of Arkansas rallied to a 6-3 win over No. 17 South Carolina Saturday afternoon before 5,284 fans at Baum Stadium.
That rally combined with solid pitching from starter Cliff Springston and reliever and winner Mike Bolsinger (4-0) kept the Razorbacks' SEC and NCAA Tournament hopes alive.
"I thought we did a good job just being opportunistic and taking advantage," Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. "We've played a lot of games this year and a lot of things haven't gone our way, but our guys feel like they can win now and things are going our way."
It was the second straight game that the Razorbacks (30-20, 12-13) had rallied from behind to down the Gamecocks (34-17, 13-13) – albeit a little less dramatic than Jacob House's ninth-inning grand slam on Friday night that won it 12-11.
The home team won despite getting out-hit 11-7, but six of the eight hits against Springston never left the infield in a game that was delayed 45 minutes at the start by rain.
"I had a great feeling (going into Saturday's game)," Forsythe said. "We came in today and they told us it was going to rain and I was like I hope it doesn't rain because we needed to play.
"We came out and got after them," Forsythe added. "The pitching was great, the defense was great, we got some key hits and a couple of things went our way."
With the two wins, the Razorbacks find themselves just a half-game out of an SEC Tournament berth in a jumbled race to the finish line that really has just Georgia, Vanderbilt and LSU in solid shape of making the eight-team event.
Alabama, Ole Miss, Kentucky and South Carolina are all 13-13 with the Razorbacks at least taking over South Carolina's spot if they complete the sweep the Gamecocks Sunday at 12:05 p.m.
"We just want to out-work and out-hustle people," Tschepikow said. "Winning today makes it easier to win the next game, but every win is huge. We are not in the tournament – the SEC Tournament or a regional. We have just got to keep fighting and keep finding ways to win. That is the most important thing – just keep hustling out there and never say quit."
Reese Havens powered South Carolina ahead 3-2 in the seventh with a homer off Bolsinger.
It was the only run that Bolsinger allowed in a 3 1/3-inning stint where he gave up 3 hits and fanned 3 in relief of Springston, who gave up 8 hits and a pair of runs in 5 2/3 innings with one walk and one strikeout.
His teammates had his back by plating the four runs in the bottom of the seventh in a rally that was started by Forsythe's single.
Andy Wilkins, who has five hits in two games since a return from injury, moved him up with his own one-out single before Tim Smalling tied it with his RBI single.
Arkansas then scored what proved to be the game-winning run when Jeff Nutt's potential double play was thrown wildly past first allowing Wilkins to race all the way home for a 4-3 advantage.
Sean Jones and Tschepikow then both added RBI singles later in the inning to put the Razorbacks up 6-3 and Bolsigner took it home from there.
"I do like this role," Bolsinger said of being a reliever in pressure situations. "Baseball players live for stuff like that."
South Carolina, whose first six hits were all of the infield variety, took a 1-0 in the top of the fourth.
Havens's swinging bunt got him on, he moved up on a sacrifice, went to third on a groundout and scored on desiginated hitter Phil Disher's swinging bunt.
But Arkansas grabbed the lead in the bottom of the frame when Chase Leavitt walked and Tscheipkow singled to get things going.
Forsythe's single plated Leavitt and then Tschepikow crossed for a 2-1 lead when Casey Coon hit into a double play.
South Carolina finally got it out of the infield in the sixth en route to tying the game up 2-2.
Whit Merrifield singled and rode home on Disher's RBI single before Bolsigner entered the game with two on and got the final out of the inning.
"We told ourseleves that we would like to save him for Sunday, but if you have the chance you have to try and win it," Van Horn said. "If we had been down more than that, we probably would have just tried to battle our way back into it."
Bolsinger has pitched well since returning from injury and has notched three wins since April 26.
"He is the guy now that we thought we were getting," Van Horn said. "He had a good arm in junior college last year and we thought ‘wow, this guy is going to be something else.' He just pretty much threw the fast ball today with a few sliders, but just went after them. He has really bounced back physically – getting that arm right – and mentally with the courage he is showing on the mound against some good hitters."
The Razorbacks will send sophomore southpaw Dallas Keuchel (3-2, 4.37) to the mound on Sunday against righty Blake Cooper (5-4, 3.72) to try and complete the sweep.
Arkansas second baseman Ben Tschepikow tags out a South Carolina runner trying to steal.
Razorback CF Brett Eibner hauls one in.
Jeff Nutt beats a throw home to score one of Arkansas' four seventh-inning runs.
Winning pitcher Mike Bolsinger celebrates the final out of the victory.
Arkansas starter Cliff Springston lets one go toward the plate.
Springston tries to make a play on one of the six infield hits he allowed.
Arkansas 6, South Carolina 3
Hawgs Daily Top Stories
Longhorns Preview Oklahoma StateTexas offensive players discuss the Longhorns' upcoming game at Oklahoma State to kickoff Big 12 Conference play.
Horns DigestYesterday at 6:21 PM
Louisiana CB 'Real Close' to a DecisionIt may not be too long before one of the top cornerbacks in Louisiana makes his decision. Four schools are high on his list and you can get the latest here...
Scout FootballYesterday at 6:15 AM
JC defensive back talks ISU official visitOver the weekend, Iowa State played host to one of their top 2017 targets in the current recruiting cycle in Paramount, CA three-star JUCO CB Keisean Nixon. This visit for the…
AllCyclonesSunday at 6:34 PM
TCU vs Iowa State primerAfter falling in double-overtime to Arkansas, TCU looks to get back to their winning ways against Iowa State.
Horned Frog Insider09/15/2016