Walk-off Grand Slam Kills USC 12-11

Pinch hitter Jacob House's two-out bases loaded home run in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted Arkansas to a 12-11 come-from-behind victory over South Carolina in game one of a three-game SEC baseball series. The win improves Arkansas to 29-20 and 11-13 in the SEC while the loss drops Carolina to 34-16 and 13-12 in the conference.

Carolina held an 11-8 advantage entering the bottom of the ninth inning when the Razorbacks mounted their rally. Andy Wilkins singled to lead off the frame and Brett Eibner walked to put two Arkansas runners on base with no outs. Gamecock reliever Parker Bangs battled for the Gamecocks as he set down Jeff Nutt on a strikeout and got Ben Tschepikow to line out to left field to get the Gamecocks to two outs in the inning. Arkansas leadoff hitter Chase Leavitt then rolled a grounder through the right side that Gamecock second baseman Scott Wingo dove for and fielded. On the play, Wingo threw from his knees on the ground but Leavitt just beat the throw to load the bases and preserve the game. Arkansas summoned House then in a pinch-hit role and he delivered on a 1-0 pitch that he drove to right field for the game-winning home run to give Arkansas the victory.

Arkansas reliever Evan Cox earned the win with two scoreless innings of relief allowing just one hit. He struck out three batters. Bangs suffered the loss and is 3-3 on the year. He worked 2.1 innings and allowed five runs on six hits. He struck out two batters and walked three. Arkansas finished with a 19-10 hit advantage including a 4-for-4 performance from Logan Forsythe, who homered twice for the Hogs. Wilkins also had four hits for Arkansas with Chase Leavitt tallying three and Sean Jones, Casey Coon and Ben Teschepikow adding two apiece as well.

The Gamecocks were led by Phil Disher, Andrew Crisp and DeAngelo Mack, who all tallied two apiece.

Arkansas would take the early 2-0 lead in the first inning on back-to-back home runs by Jones and Forsythe. Jones delivered with his first homer of the year on a 1-1 pitch from Carolina starting pitcher Will Atwood to left center and Forsythe followed with his sixth of the season just to the right of the batter's eye in center field on a 3-2 pitch to put the Razorbacks on top by two runs.

Carolina answered Arkansas with a pair of runs in the second inning and took advantage of an Arkansas error. Phil Disher reached base on a one-out single followed by a walk to Harley Lail that gave Carolina two runners. Andrew Crisp knocked a grounder that was fielded cleanly by Arkansas pitcher Justin Wells. On the play, Wells went for the force at second base but threw past shortstop Tim Smalling to give the Gamecocks bases loaded. DeAngelo Mack would drive in the first Gamecock run then as a 0-1 pitch from Wells was too inside and hit Mack on the leg allowing Disher to score. Carolina then scored its second run on a RBI sacrifice fly to left field by Scott Wingo.

The teams traded runs in the third inning. Whit Merrifield walked, stole second base and scored on a two-out RBI single from Disher. The Razorbacks would get three singles in the bottom half of the inning including a RBI base hit from Forsythe that tied the game at 3-3.

The Gamecocks grabbed a 4-3 lead in the top of the fourth inning on the back of DeAngelo Mack, who launched a solo homer to right center that went off the brick façade that surrounds the scoreboard behind the wall. It marked Mack's fifth home run of the year and his first since April 8 against Western Carolina.

With a one-run lead, the Gamecocks gained some breathing room with five runs in the top of the fifth inning to take a 9-3 lead. Merrifield led off the inning with a single and stole second base. With one out, James Darnell was hit by pitch giving Carolina runners on first and second base. South Carolina caught a break then as third baseman Forsythe fielded a ground ball from Phil Disher but threw wide when going to second for the force out against Darnell that allowed Merrifield to score from second base. With runners on the corners and one out, the Gamecocks then gambled as Harley Lail set down a suicide squeeze with Darnell just beating the play at the plate for the second run of the inning. Carolina then used the long ball for the second time in the game as Andrew Crisp launched a three-run homer to left field, his second homer of the year.

Arkansas would cut the deficit to 9-5 with single runs in the fifth and sixth inning. Arkansas took advantage of an error to score the run in the fifth inning and Logan Forsythe hit his second homer of the game. The Hogs looked to rally then as they loaded the bases with two outs against Atwood. The Gamecock left-hander however got out of the jam with a strikeout against Ben Tschepikow to end the sixth inning.

South Carolina and Arkansas each had two runs in the seventh inning. Mack and Wingo each delivered with RBI hits for Carolina with Arkansas getting a two-run single from Casey Coon. The Hogs would creep to within three runs then in the eighth inning on another RBI hit from Coon.

Game two of the series is scheduled for 3:05 pm ET at Baum Stadium.

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