Heading into SEC play, the 20th ranked Gamecocks started out with a test against the 19th ranked Razorbacks. This series would set the tone of the Gamecocks season, whether they were really a top 20 team competing to host a regional or a team fighting just to get into the tournament down the stretch.
As we saw over the weekend, the Gamecocks have a lot of work to do, getting swept in three games.
Here are a few key takeaways:
Veteran pitching for the Razorbacks outmatched young hitting
Scoring under three runs a game, the Gamecocks offense just couldn’t produce, as the young batters of the gamecocks were not able to catch on in early SEC action.
Four of the nine Gamecocks in the starting lineup are freshman, and experience was the difference in this opening series.
Arkansas pitcher Mary Haff produced two wins and a save for the razorbacks over the weekend, shutting down the Gamecocks offense and recording her 11th and 12th wins of the year, leading the nation in that statistic, as well as her second save.
Over the three games, Haff pitched 14.2 innings, giving up only two runs, averaging less than one run given up per game over the three game series.
Razorbacks hitters caught onto gamecock pitching
Pitching 11 innings over the weekend, pitcher Kelsey Oh was caught onto by Razorback hitters. Starting off with 4.2 scoreless innings, the Razorbacks finished the opening game with 4 runs and coasted to an easy opening victory over South Carolina.
Being reinserted on Sunday, Oh was easily remembered by the Razorbacks, going only 4 innings allowing 3 runs and taking her 3rd and 4th losses of the year.
Although the gamecocks lost the series, we saw the emergence of young sophomore pitcher Bailey Betenbaugh.
Going under the radar this season, Betenbaugh quietly has been the best arm for the Gamecocks this season. Pitching 25.2 innings for the Gamecocks this season, she has only given up a total of 2 earned runs, pitching to a 0.55 ERA on the season
This weekend, she emerged as the best pitcher for South Carolina, pitching 5.2 innings of no scoreless baseball, only giving up 3 hits over those innings. She has earned more time on the mound for the Gamecocks.
Next for the Gamecocks is a break in SEC action, as every team has being an odd number of SEC programs.
The Gamecocks will take on Gardner Webb for two games on Tuesday and Charlotte for one game on Wednesday.
They will then face the 24th ranked UCF Knights on the weekend, with a double header on Saturday and concluding the series on Sunday, a they look to get back on track.