WHO: No. 3 Arkansas (25-9, 8-4) vs. South Carolina (19-14, 5-7)
WHERE: Baum Stadium, Fayetteville (Ark.)
WHEN: Thursday 6:00 pm (CDT), Friday 6:30 pm (CDT), Saturday 2:00 pm (CDT)
TV: SEC Network on Thursday, SEC Network+ on Friday and Saturday
Arkansas carries an undefeated record at home in conference play (6-0) into a three-game weekend series with South Carolina starting Thursday night.
The Razorbacks (25-9) are 6-0 in SEC home games for the first time since 1990. They swept Kentucky in three games to open the conference slate and swept then No. 13 Auburn last weekend to claim first place in the SEC West. The Hogs avoided a massive upset Tuesday night in North Little Rock by using a four-run eighth inning to defeat Grambling State 7-6. Arkansas leads the all-time series 37-31.
The Gamecocks (19-14) are the first unranked SEC opponent Arkansas has played this season. They’re 1-3 in conference series so far this year and lost two of three to Kentucky last weekend. Their lone SEC series victory came in a three-game sweep at home against Tennessee. On Tuesday, South Carolina defeated The Citadel 12-1. They’re 2-6 on the road this season. The Gamecocks swept Arkansas in their last meeting in 2016 but are 10-18 in Fayetteville.
Regular Friday starter Blaine Knight (6-0, 1.93 ERA) takes the mound in Thursday’s game one against Logan Chapman (2-0, 3.86 ERA). Kacey Murphy will get the nod on Friday night, facing South Carolina’s Adam Hill (3-3, 4.79 ERA). Isaiah Campbell will start on Saturday afternoon opposite Cody Morris (6-2, 4.04 ERA).
Here are three things to know about the Gamecocks:
The third baseman is USC’s best batter.
Infielder Jonah Bride leads the charge for the Gamecocks this season, leading the team in batting average at .322. The 5-10 senior has reached base in 32 of 33 games and has a current on-base streak of 29 straight contests. Bride has 2 home runs, 17 RBIs and has drawn 20 walks on the year. In conference play, he’s hitting .405 with an on-base percentage of .510.
South Carolina’s Thursday starter has yet to face an SEC opponent.
Freshman Logan Chapman is 2-0 with an ERA of 3.86 in seven starts and eight appearances but they’ve all come against non conference foes. Named the Gatorade Player of the Year in South Carolina in 2017, Chapman was drafted in the 36th round by the Cincinnati Reds but chose to head to Columbia. He made his first career appearance in a win over VMI in February. Chapman has 32 strikeouts and 16 walks in 30.1 innings, including a season-high 5 strikeouts against North Carolina A&T. Arkansas will be the first SEC team he’s faced all season.
The Gamecocks are coming off a series loss at Kentucky.
While there’s no shame in losing two out of three to Kentucky, the defeat at the hands of the Wildcats was the third lost conference series out of four this year for South Carolina. Kentucky smashed USC 14-1 in the opener. The Gamecocks flipped the script and evened the series with a 15-1 victory in game two behind 10 strikeouts from Cody Moore and 15 hits. The Wildcats found their stride once again in the finale, beating South Carolina 10-5 and taking the series.