Arkansas drops finale at South Carolina

COLUMBIA, SC (UofA) - Steven Neff homered twice and drove in three runs, while Colby Holmes threw 8.2 innings, allowing just one run, as No. 4 South Carolina defeated No. 23 Arkansas 7-1 on Sunday afternoon at Carolina Stadium.

Arkansas is now 33-17 and 13-14 in Southeastern Conference play, while South Carolina is 41-11 and 20-7 in league play. Entering the final weekend of league play, Arkansas is in a four-way tie for first in the SEC West with Alabama, Auburn and Mississippi State.

Dominic Ficociello had his third-straight, multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 11 straight games. For the series, Ficociello hit 8-for-14 with three RBI and two runs scored. Tim Carver also added two hits for the Razorbacks. Matt Vinson had the only run of the game for Arkansas on his ninth inning home run, his second round-tripper of the season.

Neff continued his hot hitting over the weekend series, going 3-for-4 with two homers, three RBI and two runs scored. Robert Beary also added three hits and had a RBI and a run scored, while Peter Mooney and Scott Wingo each had two hits.

Cade Lynch took the loss to drop to 4-3 on the season. Lynch allowed two runs on three hits with a strikeout in an inning of work.

Holmes earned the win to improve his record to 5-2. Holmes threw a career-best 8.2 innings, striking out seven and allowing just a run on six hits.

South Carolina drew first blood, scoring a run in the bottom of the first. The Gamecocks loaded the bases with nobody out after a single by Mooney, a hit by pitch to Wingo and a walk to Christian Walker. However, Lynch was able to get out of the jam, allowing just one run as Brady Thomas grounded into a double play to score Mooney and Adrian Morales struck out to end the inning.

The Gamecocks again loaded the bases with nobody out in the second, but were again only able to get one run. Mooney hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Evan Marzill. Wingo then looped a single just in front of Collin Kuhn in left field. However, Beary, who was running at third, had to hold up to make sure Kuhn didn't catch the ball in the air and Kuhn was able to throw him out at the plate for the second out. Walker then grounded into a fielder's choice to end the inning.

South Carolina doubled its lead with two runs in the fourth. Beary singled to lead off the inning and then scored on a two-run home run by Neff.

The Gamecocks added single runs in the fifth and sixth innings as Beary drove in a run with a single in the fifth and Mooney scored on a bunt single by Wingo and a throwing error by Ficociello.

South Carolina scored its seventh run of the game on an eighth inning leadoff homer by Neff, his second of the game and third of the series.

Arkansas got on the board with a run in the top of the ninth. With two outs, Vinson broke up the shutout with a solo home run over the right field fence, his second homer of the season.

Arkansas opens a season-ending, four-game homestand on Tuesday when it faces UT Martin in its final non-conference game of the regular season. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. and the game will be televised on CST.