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OMAHA -- Something had to give. The Arkansas Razorbacks (2-2) came into tonight's game with a 5-0 record in the 2012 postseason when scoring two or more runs, and the South Carolina Gamecocks (4-1) came into the College World Series looking to advance to their third-consecutive Series Championship Game. Could the back-to-back defending National Champions hold off the feisty Hogs and advance to a College World Series match up with the Arizona Wildcats?
Arkansas' lead-off man Tim Carver reached base in the top of the first inning. DH Jacob Mahan became the first out, on a sacrifice bunt, and then third baseman Matt Reynolds smashed a single to left field to score Carver from second base to give the Hogs a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the third inning, with two on and no one out, South Carolina had to make a pitching change. The Gamecocks brought in lefty Tyler Webb, and were able to get the first out, but Reynolds came through again and fired a ball to right field for a sacrifice fly to push Arkansas' lead to 2-0.
The Gamecocks answered in the bottom of the fifth inning. Joey Pankake hit a single to centerfield that scored Tanner English and cut the Hogs' lead to 2-1. With the bases loaded, Razorbacks starting pitcher D.J. Baxendale walked Christian Walker, with the bases loaded, to tie the game at 2-2.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Razorbacks pitcher Barrett Astin gave away another run when he walked the bases loaded to give the Gamecocks their first lead of the night, 3-2. A pitch then got away from catcher Jake Wise, against the next batter, but he was able to recover and throw out the runner before scoring.
But the damage was done, as USC's Matt Price shut down the Hogs to be named the winning pitcher, with 3.0 innings worked holding the Hogs to no runs. South Carolina edged out the Razorbacks 3-2 to advance to the College World Series Finals and a possible third-consecutive National Championship.
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College World Series Finals schedule:
Game 1 Sunday 8 E.T. ESPN2
Game 2 Monday 8 E.T. ESPN
Game 3 Tuesday 8 E.T. ESPN (if necessary)