Arkansas Pitcher Hagen Smith Dominates in 2-1 Loss to South Carolina

Arkansas' star pitcher Hagen Smith delivers dominant performance against No. 20 South Carolina, solidifying his status as a top MLB draft prospect, despite Arkansas' 2-1 loss.

Salman Khan
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Arkansas Pitcher Hagen Smith Dominates in 2-1 Loss to South Carolina

Arkansas Pitcher Hagen Smith Dominates in 2-1 Loss to South Carolina

Hagen Smith, Arkansas' star left-handed pitcher, delivered a commanding performance against No. 20 South Carolina in the series opener on Friday night.

Despite the Razorbacks falling short in a 2-1 loss, Smith showcased his dominance on the mound, allowing just one run and two hits while striking out 11 batters over six innings.

The Gamecocks broke through in the fifth inning, loading the bases and scoring one run. However, Smith struck out the final batter to end the threat. In the sixth inning, a pair of walks and a bunt single loaded the bases for Arkansas, leading to one run scoring on a wild pitch and another on a sacrifice fly, giving the Razorbacks a 2-1 lead.

South Carolina threatened in the seventh and ninth innings but was unable to score, as the Arkansas bullpen held on for the win. The Gamecocks finished the night 1-13 with runners in scoring position and left ten on base. USC head coach Mark Kingston was ejected in the top of the ninth for arguing a call.

Why this matters: The matchup between No. 2 Arkansas and No. 20 South Carolina carries significant implications for the SEC standings. Smith's dominant outing, despite the loss, solidifies his status as one of the top pitching prospects in the upcoming MLB draft.

Smith, who leads the SEC with a 1.53 ERA and boasts a perfect 7-0 record this season, is expected to be one of the first pitchers selected in the draft. South Carolina coach Mark Kingston praised the left-hander, saying, "He will likely be the first pitcher off the board in this year's MLB draft." The Razorbacks' pitching staff has been a key factor in their success, posting a 2.96 ERA through 15 conference games.

The series will continue with a doubleheader on Saturday due to rain in the forecast for Sunday. Arkansas, now 32-5 overall and 12-3 in the SEC, looks to maintain their lead in the SEC Western Division, while South Carolina, at 26-11 and 8-7 in the SEC, aims to improve their conference standing in front of their home crowd at Founders Park.

Key Takeaways

  • Arkansas' Hagen Smith pitched 6 dominant innings, allowing 1 run and 2 hits with 11 Ks.
  • South Carolina won 2-1 despite Smith's performance, scoring the winning run on a wild pitch.
  • Smith is a top MLB draft prospect, leading the SEC with 1.53 ERA and 7-0 record.
  • Arkansas' pitching staff has 2.96 ERA, key to their 32-5 overall, 12-3 SEC record.
  • Series continues Saturday with doubleheader, as Arkansas aims to maintain SEC West lead.