June 18, 2012

CWS Game 8 Notes


Stanek, Astin pitch Arkansas past South Carolina

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder



OMAHA, Neb. – The streaks are over.


Ryne Stanek and Barrett Astin combined on a four-hitter as Arkansas edged No. 8 South Carolina 2-1 Monday in the 2012 College World Series in front of 23,537 fans at TD Ameritrade Park.


The Gamecocks (46-18) will face Kent State on Wednesday at 7 p.m. CT in an elimination game. The winner will have to beat the Razorbacks (46-20) on both Thursday and Friday to reach the championship series.


South Carolina had two win streaks snapped. The Gamecocks had won 12 straight CWS games and 22 consecutive NCAA Tournament contests, both records.


“It was a great run,” said South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner said of the streaks. “It’s one of those things that you don’t know if it will ever happen again. It’s been a pretty good run. I’m proud of what these guys did and how they battled. But Arkansas tonight was a better team.”


Stanek (8-4) allowed three hits and one run in six innings with three walks and three strikeouts to record the win.


“The fastball was jumping out of his hands,” said Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn, “it was easy. It wasn't like he was overthrowing. He'd go 2-0, and he was able to throw a strike. That was huge. He just looked like a polished pitcher tonight. I thought he did a great job on a tough stage. I was just real proud of him.”


Astin allowed one hit in three innings with one strikeout to record his 11th save. Seven of his nine outs came on ground balls.


“We had a fresh bullpen, so we decided to go with Barrett,” Van Horn said. “And Barrett came in and did an outstanding job of throwing strikes. Just about everything he throws moves. We don't ask him to go out there and strike people out. We just want him to go out there and make them swing, and that's what he did.”


Arkansas got on the board first. Tim Carver had a leadoff single in the top of the first, was sacrificed to second, moved to third on a groundout and scored on a double to left center by Dominic Ficociello to give the Razorbacks a 1-0 lead.


The Razorbacks added to their lead in the top of the fourth. Brian Anderson got a leadoff walk and attempted to steal second with Bo Bigham (2 for 4) at the plate. But Bigham was called for batter’s interference and Anderson returned to first. After Joe Serrano flew out to right, Anderson did steal second. Matt Vinson singled to right to plate Anderson, giving Arkansas a 2-0 advantage.


South Carolina cut into the lead in the fifth. Chase Vergason drew a leadoff walk and was sacrificed to second. With two away, Evan Marzilli (2 for 4) lined an 0-2 pitch to the gap in left center for a triple to drive in Vergason and make it 2-1.


Both teams had other opportunities to score, as each stranded seven overall and six in scoring position. The Gamecocks went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position, while the Razorbacks were 2 for 11.


Colby Holmes (7-2, 3.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 2 K) suffered the loss for South Carolina. Tyler Webb (5.1 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 4 K) was terrific in relief for the Gamecocks.