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’Hogs end Carolina’s win streak; Gators out

’Hogs end Carolina’s win streak; Gators out

Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 7:00 pm

By ERIC OLSON
AP Sports Writer
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Advantage, Arkansas.
The Razorbacks, who lost two of three to SEC rival South Carolina in the regular season, now find themselves one win from the College World Series finals after beating the Gamecocks 2-1 on Monday night.
Ryne Stanek and Barrett Astin combined on a four-hitter, and Arkansas ended the Gamecocks’ NCAA tournament record winning streak at 22 games.
“It’s almost unimaginable that you could win 22 games in a row in the postseason. It’s incredible,” Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. “Hats off to coach (Ray) Tanner and his group. They’ve done a tremendous job. But our guys just came out and did what they do — play hard and throw a lot of strikes.”
The Gamecocks (46-18) will have to beat Kent State on Wednesday to keep alive their hopes of winning a third straight national title. Even if they defeat the Golden Flashes, they still would have to win two more games against Arkansas to get back to the championship round.
Kent State won Monday’s other game, stunning top-seeded Florida 5-4 to eliminate the Gators.
The Razorbacks (46-20) have won their first two games at the CWS for the first time since their initial appearance in Omaha in 1979. They’ve been here six times since.
They earned two days off while they wait to see who they’ll play Thursday.
“It was the biggest game of the year, and they’ve heard that 15 times now,” Van Horn said of the win.
Matt Vinson’s RBI single in the fourth inning gave Arkansas a 2-0 lead. Evan Marzilli’s two-out triple pulled the Gamecocks within a run in the fifth, but they got just one hit the rest of the way.
Stanek (8-4) allowed three hits and turned the game over in the seventh inning to Astin, who earned his 11th save.
Arkansas pitchers have allowed just two runs over their last 32 1-3 innings. The Hogs have an ERA of 1.75 in eight NCAA tournament games.
Stanek was effective with four pitches, but neither he nor Astin was overpowering. They combined to induce 14 outs on groundballs and nine on flies. They struck out four.
“I was able to throw my fastball for a strike and mix early, and continue to mix and throw everything for a strike throughout the game,” Stanek said.
Stanek had faced the Gamecocks in May and got no decision after allowing five runs in five innings of an 8-6 loss.
He was Most Outstanding Player of the Houston Regional after throwing seven shutout innings against Rice. He struggled against Baylor in super regionals, walking four in a four-inning start.
“He was a little more under control with his mechanics,” Van Horn said. “It just seemed easy, smooth. He just looked like a polished pitcher tonight.”
South Carolina starter Colby Holmes (7-2) allowed two runs on four hits in 32⁄3 innings. Tyler Webb shut down Arkansas on two hits over a season-high 51⁄3 innings, but his teammates couldn’t get much going against the hottest pitching staff in the nation.
South Carolina came from behind to win 11 times during the 22-game streak that started at the 2010 CWS.
Kent St. 5, Florida 4
Kent State scored four unearned runs and another on a wild pitch, then held off Florida’s comeback bid in the ninth to eliminate the top-seeded Gators from the College World Series with a 5-4 victory Monday.
The Gators loaded the bases with one out in the ninth against shaky relievers Michael Clark and Josh Pierce.
Pierce fought back from a 3-0 count to strike out Casey Turgeon when Turgeon couldn’t check his swing and got called out on an appeal to the third-base umpire. Justin Shafer flew out to right to end the game.
The Gators, who reached the CWS finals last year, committed five errors in two games after coming to Omaha seventh in the nation in fielding.
Florida’s Hudson Randall (9-3) left after the first inning because of heat-related symptoms. Ryan Bores (10-3) got the win for Kent State, making its first CWS appearance.

Published in The Messenger 6.19.12

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