FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — LT Tolbert was recruited to South Carolina in the wake of the school's three straight NCAA national championship series appearances, including back-to-back national championships in 2010 and 2011.
The shortstop made sure the Gamecocks will have a chance at returning to Omaha for the first time since 2012 on Sunday, hitting a grand slam that helped South Carolina to an 8-5 win over national No. 5 seed Arkansas in the second game of their super regional.
"I kind of blacked out when I was running the bases; I don't even remember what happened," Tolbert said. "This is what I've been waiting for my whole life, to play in this moment. This is why I came to South Carolina, and now we're one game away."
Arkansas (43-19) opened the super regional with a 9-3 win but never led on Sunday. Kacey Murphy (8-5) allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings and took the loss, and Heston Kjerstad and Carson Shaddy had home runs in the defeat.
The loss was only the fourth at home this season for the Razorbacks, who fell to 34-4 at Baum Stadium and had their 14-game home winning streak snapped. Their last loss at home before Sunday was on April 12 and also to the Gamecocks, who have now won nine of their last 12 games and have put a disappointing 13-11 start to the season well behind them.
"This is probably the way it's supposed to be," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "It's supposed to come down to one game, winner take all, and the other team goes home."
Justin Row and Hunter Taylor each added home runs for South Carolina on Sunday, and Carlos Cortes had three hits. Cody Morris (9-3) earned the win after allowing only one unearned run in five innings, and Sawyer Bridges pitched the final 3 1/3 innings to earn his fifth save.
"We're happy with the win, but now we're 100 percent focused on tomorrow," South Carolina coach Mark Kingston said.