FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas gave up a six-run lead and lost to South Carolina 8-6 in 10 innings Friday night at Baum Stadium.
After trailing 6-0 through three innings, the No. 5 Gamecocks rallied for their largest comeback win of the season. Evan Marzilli's RBI double off Razorbacks reliever Barrett Astin in the top of the 10th inning gave South Carolina its first lead.
The Gamecocks (35-11, 15-7 SEC) won their 12th consecutive conference game and moved into sole possession of first place in the league's eastern division.
“I’m really proud of the effort we put forth tonight," South Carolina coach Ray Tanner said. "With Arkansas swinging the bat early in the game, they were executing some hit-and-runs and we mishandled a couple of balls.
“It was a great win for us coming from behind like we did.”
Arkansas (33-14, 11-11) stalled after a hot start at the plate. Jimmy Bosco's two-run single gave the Razorbacks their first runs and Brian Anderson's RBI fielder's choice the next at-bat gave Arkansas a 3-0 lead after the first inning.
The Razorbacks added two in the second on RBIs from Tim Carver and Jacob Mahan, and another in the third when Matt Reynolds scored from second base on an Anderson flyout to right-center field.
"We knew that six runs might not be enough the way they were swinging the bats there in the middle innings," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "But I wouldn’t call it the most disappointing loss of the year. We’ve had a couple that were pretty disappointing that were in nine innings instead of 10.
"Give credit to their pitching staff. They held us down the back end of that game."
South Carolina began its rally with three runs in the fourth off Arkansas starter Ryne Stanek. Marzilli, Christian Walker and LB Dantzler all reached with no outs in the inning, eventually scoring to cut the Razorbacks' lead in half.
Grayson Greiner's two-run home run in the top of the sixth chased Stanek and pulled the Gamecocks within 6-5.
South Carolina added another run in the inning when Tanner English scored on a sacrifice fly by Joey Pancake. Anderson made a good throw to the plate on the play, but Arkansas catcher Jake Wise failed to field it on one bounce.
It was a rough night for both starters, considered two of the SEC's best. South Carolina left-hander Michael Roth settled down after giving up six runs, earning a no-decision by pitching six innings.
Stanek pitched five innings, allowing five runs on six hits. He struck out five batters.
"His breaking ball got flat," Van Horn said. "He wanted to throw it too much. We wanted him to throw the fastball more, and he shook (it off) a few times. He’s got good stuff. Sometimes you’ve just got to trust it."
The Gamecocks had several more opportunities after the three-run sixth, but relievers Colby Suggs and Astin combined to strand eight runners from the sixth to eighth innings.
Anderson led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk for Arkansas and advanced to third with two outs, but was stranded when Tim Carver grounded out to send the game to extra innings.
Arkansas fell to 2-6 this season in conference games on Friday night.
The two teams will play again Saturday with a first pitch scheduled for 12:05 p.m. The game will be televised nationally by ESPN2.