FAYETTEVILLE – The Arkansas baseball team (20-12, 6-6 SEC) picked up its second straight win against the No. 1 team in the country Saturday evening, blanking South Carolina (26-5, 7-5) 7-0 at Baum Stadium in SEC action.
Junior Chris Oliver (3-3) put together his best performance as a Razorback, lasting 8.0 innings and giving up just four hits and no runs. He tallied a career-high 10 strikeouts and became the first Arkansas pitcher since Ryne Stanek in 2012 against No. 15 LSU to record double-digit strikeouts in a contest.
The offense backed Oliver from the opening pitch, scoring five runs in the second inning to jump out to its biggest lead of the series. Brian Anderson led the way with his third three-hit game of the year and his team-leading 10th multi-hit contest of the season. Joe Serrano provided the big hit the second inning with a bases loaded single down the right field line to send all three runners racing home.
Arkansas added two more insurance runs later in the game, as Jake Wise converted a squeeze bunt in the fifth and Eric Fisher singled home a run in the sixth to give the Razorbacks all the runs they would need in a 7-0 victory.
Zach Jackson came on in the ninth and kept the Gamecocks off the board to give Arkansas its seventh shutout of the season and hand Oliver his third win of the year.
Arkansas returns to action Tuesday, April 8 for the first of two straight games against No. 25 UNLV at Baum Stadium. First pitch is slated for Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. and Wednesday at 6:05 p.m. in the nonconference midweek series.
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Head Coach Dave Van Horn Quotes
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn (Opening statement) – “This was great win for our team. I think we played one of our best games of the year. As far as offense, we had clutch hitting and laid down some nice bunts. We made all the plays in the field, and obviously Chris Oliver did a great job and had great stuff. He probably had his best breaking ball of the year tonight.”
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn (On getting back to .500 in SEC) – “It was big. The coaches in this league talk about just trying to win the series and trying to stay .500, and anything above that is great. You never know how it is going to go because this league is so equal and the pitching is really good this year.”
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn (On dominant pitching in series) – “All three starters this weekend were outstanding and they gave us a chance to win all three games. I am really excited to win two out of three. When you look back and you were so close to getting the first one it is tough, but it was a good weekend for us.”
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn (On the series win) – “Mentally for us it tells us that we can play with anyone when we play well. We have great pitching, and it is all about timely hitting and executing for us. We aren’t a team that is going to light it up all the time, but we can hang with anyone if our pitchers are on and we make plays behind them.”
• The Razorbacks have won at least one game in 21 straight SEC series dating back to the 2012 season, currently the second-longest streak in the league behind Vanderbilt at 23.
• Arkansas has won four straight SEC series at Baum Stadium dating back to the 2013 season.
• The Razorbacks defeated the No. 1 in the country in consecutive days for the first time since the 2009 season against top-ranked Arizona State at Baum Stadium.
• Arkansas has defeated the No. 1 team in the country seven times under head coach Dave Van Horn.
• The Razorbacks recorded their seventh shutout of the year and allowed less than two runs in a game for the 19th time in 32 games this season.
• Brian Anderson extended his hitting streak to a season-long eight games and recorded his third three-hit game of the year and the 41st multi-hit game of his career.
• Arkansas was not hit by a pitch in either game of the series, breaking a streak of 15 straight games with a hit by pitch and marking the first time this season the Razorbacks were not been hit by a pitch in three consecutive games.
How They Scored
• Arkansas 1, South Carolina 0; Bottom 2: Andrew Benintendi walked; Clark Eagan scored from third base.
• Arkansas 4, South Carolina 0; Bottom 2: Joe Serrano doubled to right field; Jake Wise scored from third base, Tyler Spoon and Andrew Benintendi scored off E6, E9.
• Arkansas 5, South Carolina 0; Bottom 2; Brian Anderson doubled to right-center field; Joe Serrano scored from second base.
• Arkansas 6, South Carolina 0; Bottom 5: Jake Wise laid down sac bunt; Brian Anderson scored from third base.
• Arkansas 7, South Carolina 0; Bottom 6; Eric Fisher singled to right field; Andrew Benintendi scored from second.