FAYETTEVILLE -- Southern Cal Coach Dan Hubbs brought his team to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville this weekend hoping to find an atmosphere that could prepare the Trojans for a possible NCAA regional later this year.
Arkansas fans delivered a regional-like attendance of 10,732 at Baum Stadium on Saturday, but they left unhappy after a 3-1 USC victory over the No. 6 Razorbacks that tied the three-game series. The teams are scheduled to play the rubber match today at 12:30 p.m.
ARKANSAS vs. USC
WHEN 12:30 p.m.
WHERE Baum Stadium, Fayetteville
RECORDS USC 8-2; Arkansas 8-3
SERIES RECORD Tied 1-1
STARTING PITCHERS USC RHP Kyle Hurt (1-0, 5.00 ERA); Arkansas LHP Kacey Murphy (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
RADIO Razorback Sports Network
INTERNET SEC Network-Plus
Arkansas sold 13,472 tickets to Saturday’s game, which is a record at the 23-year-old Baum Stadium. The previous tickets-sold record was 12,589 for a 2015 game against Mississippi State that was played on the same day as the Razorbacks’ spring football game. … Saturday’s actual attendance of 10,732 was the 10th-largest all-time at Baum and second-largest for a regular-season nonconference game, behind a 2009 midweek game against then-No. 1 Arizona State. … Saturday’s loss was Arkansas’ first this season at home. The Razorbacks outscored their opponents 79-7 in the first six games at Baum. … Arkansas and USC are scheduled to play on Feb. 22-24, 2019, in Los Angeles, according to a signed game contract.
TODAY USC, 12:30 p.m.
FRIDAY Kent State, 3 p.m.
SATURDAY Kent State, 2 p.m.
USC left-hander Quentin Longrie pitched 7⅓ innings and did not allow a run until Eric Cole's leadoff home run in the eighth inning pulled Arkansas within 2-1.
Longrie scattered 8 hits and 3 walks while striking out 4 to record his second win of the season. The junior entered with an 8.00 ERA.
"The big thing for me with Longrie was that he didn't beat himself today," Hubbs said. "The first couple of outings he had 7 walks in 9 innings, and today he only walked 3 in 7⅓. That was key because he does have stuff, and he runs his fastball up to 93, and can throw a changeup and a breaking ball. He just didn't make an inning continue by putting another guy on base. He forced them to make contact, and he made pitches when he had to."
Longrie pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning when Arkansas second baseman Carson Shaddy grounded out on a 3-2 pitch. He also worked around a leadoff single by Jax Biggers in the first and a leadoff double by Heston Kjerstad in the sixth.
"He got into a couple of jams and was able to pitch out of them," Hubbs said. "The big spot, obviously, was when he got Shaddy to bounce back to him with the bases loaded. He made a pitch. He did that a couple of times tonight, and he did a really good job of throwing all three of his pitches and moving the ball around."
The Razorbacks (8-3) outhit the Trojans 9-5 but stranded nine runners. Arkansas' 5 through 9 hitters were a combined 2- of 17 with 3 walks.
"The lefty kept us off-balance, and I don't think we did a very good job with him," Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said. "I don't think we did a very good job when we were ahead in the counts of getting hitters-type pitches; some weak outs there when we had hitters-type counts.
"We haven't swung the bats very well once we got past the four-hole. From five on, it hasn't been very good the last couple of days."
Longrie and Arkansas starter Isaiah Campbell were engaged in a scoreless duel through five innings, but the game turned when the Trojans recorded consecutive singles and drew a walk against Campbell with one out in the top of the sixth.
That chased Campbell, who suffered his first loss with a 5⅓-inning outing that included 3 hits, 3 walks and 2 strikeouts.
"He got out of two or three jams, and they got his pitch count going up there a little bit, and then it just looked like he ran out of gas," Van Horn said.
USC (8-2) took a 1-0 lead on Matthew Acosta's bases-loaded RBI single to left field. The Trojans tried to score a second run on the hit, but Kjerstad gunned down Blake Sabol at home plate.
Acosta's RBI snapped an Arkansas streak of 23⅓ innings without allowing a run.
"It gave us a breather," Hubbs said. "We couldn't do anything against Campbell for five innings, and then we get a couple of guys on and we were able to get a big hit. That was nice."
USC extended its lead to 2-0 in the seventh when Brandon Perez doubled with one out, advanced on a Matt Cronin wild pitch and scored on a Brady Shockey sacrifice fly to left field. The Trojans tacked on a run in the ninth when Acosta scored after a leadoff walk.
Longrie faced one batter after Cole's home run. Luke Bonfield doubled on the second pitch by reliever Brad Wegman, but Arkansas nearly took the lead but the wind pushed Grant Koch's long drive to left field foul. Koch struck out looking in the inning, as did Dominic Fletcher after a Jared Gates' two-out walk.
USC closer Connor Lunn recorded his fifth save by retiring all three batters he faced in the ninth.
Sports on 03/04/2018
Print Headline: USC left-hander silences UA's bats to even series