FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas Razorbacks will have to wait until Friday to host the No. 1 ranked South Carolina Gamecocks due to threatening weather, as the two SEC baseball rivals will continue conference play with a three-game weekend series that is now set to commence with a Friday doubleheader – as Game 1 is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. (ET), to be followed by Game 2 within half an hour of the completion of the first contest at Baum Stadium.
South Carolina is coming off a 2-1 victory over Appalachian State on Tuesday, having swept No. 24 Tennessee over the weekend to cap a week that saw the Gamecocks turn in a perfect 5-0 record. As for Arkansas, the Razorbacks are fresh off splitting a pair of midweek contests against Nebraska, having lost their weekend series to Mississippi State on the road two games to one, their lone victory being that of a 4-0 shutout on Saturday.
Nevertheless, it will be the first match-up between both teams this season and the first since Arkansas grabbed a three-game sweep of South Carolina on the road last season. Despite the success South Carolina has experienced two months into the season, Arkansas leads the all-time series, having registered victories in 35 of 63 meetings. At home, the Razorbacks have had even greater success against the Gamecocks, posting a 16-9 record in games at Baum Stadium; however, that success is rather intriguingly predated, as the Gamecocks have grabbed five of their last six from the Razorbacks in Fayetteville.
Whichever way you may wish to look at it, this weekend’s series should be competitive, as much of that competition will be fostered on the mound from a pair of stout pitching staffs. Through 253.0 innings across 29 games this season, Arkansas boasts the sixth-best team-ERA (2.35) among SEC teams, a mark that currently ranks as the second-best in program history, second only to last season’s 1.89 ERA over 61 games.
Trey Killian (1-4, 2.78 ERA), Jalen Beeks (4-2, 1.27 ERA), and Chris Oliver (2-3, 2.41 ERA) have displayed impressive stuff this season, but have had little to rely on in terms of offensive support. Despite the fact the Razorbacks have worn an SEC-high 58 pitches this season, they rank among the worst offensive clubs in the conference, wherein they currently sit 12th in batting (.261), 11th in slugging percentage (.345), 12th in runs scored (143), 13th in hits (238), 13th in total bases (315), and 12th in walks (97), mind you there are only 14 teams that comprise the SEC.
Much like the Razorbacks, the Gamecocks bring with them a formidable pitching staff of their own, one comprised of depth from the front of the rotation to back end of the bullpen. Jordan Montgomery remains in the Friday night role after rebounding rather nicely against Tennessee this past weekend and is accompanied by a crafty southpaw in Jack Wynkoop and an impressive freshman right-hander in Wil Crowe. Joel Seddon has been lights out as the anchor of the bullpen, having saved seven games in 12 appearances and has yet to surrender an earned run – which can be said about fellow bullpen ringers Evan Beal, Vince Fiori, Reed Scott, and Taylor Widener.
And that’s not even counting an offense that ranks second in the SEC in hitting (.301), slugging percentage (.416), and RBI (162), a lineup that knows how to punish opposing staffs and rally late in games (see Clemson, Ole Miss, Tennessee).
Nonetheless, expect Montgomery and Killian to square off in Friday’s opening contest, as the Gamecocks and Razorbacks commence what should be yet another competitive and intriguing SEC match-up this weekend.