Tonight's matchup between the Arkansas Razorbacks and the South Carolina Gamecocks will be one of the best games we have seen at the 2012 College World Series.
The two teams have already met at the College World Series this year. The No. 2 seeded Razorbacks stole a 2-1 win from the top-seeded Gamecocks after scoring runs in the first and fourth innings.
You should expect more of the same in tonight's matchup at 9 p.m. ET. It will certainly be close, but Arkansas will be able to come away with a win.
The Razorbacks clearly have the advantage in this one, as the Gamecocks will be playing their second game of the day after a rainout forced South Carolina to play a game earlier today against Kent State.
The Gamecocks were able to squeak out a win 4-1 earlier today, but won't be able to get the same result tonight.
South Carolina has had its back against the wall since losing to Arkansas on Monday, and the Razorbacks will finish the job tonight. A double-header is hard enough, but the difficulty is magnified when a team must square off against two different teams in one day.
If the Gamecocks weren't forced to start their best pitcher earlier today against Kent State, they would have a much better chance of pulling off the near-impossible feat.
Starter Michael Roth pitched a complete game, allowing just one run and two hits. He retired the last 22 batters he faced, while striking out eight.
The Gamecocks' pitching talent tails off substantially after Roth. That's not to say their No. 2 starter, Colby Holmes, isn't a talented pitcher, but he hardly baffles hitters the way the team's ace does.
Holmes has compiled a 7-2 with a 2.90 ERA in 77.2 innings pitched. He pitched against the Razorbacks on Monday, allowing two runs in only 3.2 innings, presumably to save his arm for the coming games.
This game is going to be decided more by the fatigue factor of the Gamecocks than by the dominance of Arkansas. South Carolina has scored just five runs in their last two games, while the Razorbacks have put up 10 over that same span.
South Carolina is an extremely talented team, but their energy was surely sapped against Kent State. It's not going to return over the few hours they have to recuperate before they have to take the field against Arkansas.
We've seen a valiant effort from the Gamecocks, but their run will end tonight.