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    SEC Baseball Today: March 31

    Georgia 7, Kentucky 6
    Kentucky 9, Georgia 8
    Alabama vs. Tennessee (Suspended)
    Florida 9, Ole Miss 4
    Vanderbilt 12, South Carolina 4
    Auburn 10, Mississippi State 6
    LSU 2, Arkansas 1

    Georgia Answer Kentucky Rally, Wins 7-6

    ATHENS, Ga. - The No. 25 Georgia Bulldogs defeated 10th-ranked Kentucky 7-6 in game one of a doubleheader Saturday. It was only the second loss of the year for Kentucky as it dropped to 25-2 overall, 5-2 in the SEC.
    The Bulldogs (18-9, 4-3 SEC) built a 6-0 lead before the Wildcats tied the game with a six-run outburst in the seventh. Bulldog catcher Brett DeLoach produced a two-out, run-scoring double in the bottom of the seventh off Sam Mahar that provided a 7-6 lead. Junior Blake Dieterich pitched two scoreless innings for his fifth save. Junior Bryan Benzor picked up the win to move to 4-1.
    Game two is slated to begin at 4:05 p.m., and it will be televised live by Fox Sport South.

    No. 2 Kentucky Outlasts No. 18 Georgia, 9-8


    ATHENS, Ga. -- In a wild contest that saw the lead change hands or the game tied a total of six times, with runs scoring in eight of nine frames, No. 2 Kentucky outlasted No. 18 Georgia in the second game of a doubleheader, evening the three-game series, on a humid Saturday evening in front of a season-high 3,100 at Foley Field.

    Kentucky (26-2, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) outlasted the Bulldogs in a wild affair that saw runs score in eight of the nine innings played, with the teams held out of the run column only in the ninth inning. The game was the second in the three-game series and the second of the day, as rain on Friday forced a doubleheader on Saturday, with Georgia edging UK 7-6 in the first game.

    For the second consecutive game, UK fell behind in an early hole, facing a 3-0 deficit entering the fourth inning, a game after UK fell behind 6-0 in the series opener. UK rallied to take a 4-3 lead with four runs in the frame, before Georgia answered with a run in the bottom of the inning. UK responded to take the lead in the top of the fifth, before the Bulldogs plated two in the bottom of the sixth to take a 6-5 lead. UK again responded with three runs in the seventh inning – courtesy of a monster home run from Cameron Flynn – and despite allowing single UGA runs in the bottom of the seventh and eighth, posted a 9-8 win, dancing around a two-out error in the bottom of the ninth inning.

    The Wildcats were paced by a 14-hit outing from its offensive attack, also drawing four walks and getting homers from Flynn and Thomas McCarthy. Michael Williams led the charge with a career-high three hits and four RBI. Flynn finished 3-for-5 with his team-high seventh homer of the year, with his two RBI coming on his mammoth homer that hit halfway up the light tower behind the rightfield fence.

    UK also got two-hit games from A.J. Reed, Lucas Witt and J.T. Riddle, with Witt and Riddle making strong defensive plays, with Witt making a fully extended catch down the leftfield line early in the game to save a run. UK also got hits from McCarthy and Luke Maile, with freshman centerfielder Austin Cousino drawing a walk, now reaching base safely in 26 of his 27 career collegiate games 

    UK starter Jerad Grundy was roughed up for the first time in his UK career, going 2.2 innings, allowing seven hits and three runs, issuing one walk with one strikeout. UK used six total pitchers in the game, with Reed tossing 1.1 innings with four hits and one run allowed, striking out three as the first reliever to replace Grundy. UK then used Walter Wijas, who worked 1.1 innings with one hit, two walks and three strikeouts. Senior Alex Phillips (4-0) battled for the win, going 1.2 innings, allowing one hit and one run, with one strikeout. Tim Peterson put UK in position for the win by pitching the eighth inning with a two-run lead, with a run scoring on an error, allowing one hit.

    Sophomore righty Trevor Gott picked up his sixth save of the year with a shutout ninth inning, dancing around a two-out throwing error. Gott, a native of Lexington, Ky., and the 2011 Cape Cod League Reliever of the Year, now sits in a tie for the sixth most saves in UK single-season history, with his eight career saves ranking tied for eighth all-time.

    The win gives UK an impressive 8-1 record in 2012 in one-run games, just 28 games into the season, a year after posting a 4-6 record in one-run games through 55 games in 2011. UK’s loss in the series-opener was its first loss in a one-run game in 2012, as the Wildcats are off to the best start to a season in the over-100 year history of the program.

    Georgia (18-10, 4-4 SEC) starter Pete Nagel worked 3.1 innings, allowing four hits and three runs, walking one and striking out two. Georgia also emptied its bullpen as both teams tried to find answers on the mound, with the Bulldogs using seven total pitchers. Chase Hawkins, Jay Swinford, Earl Daniels, Luke Crumley (1-2), Bryan Benzor and Jarrett Brown each worked in relief. Crumley suffered the loss, allowing two runs in his one frame.

    The series will conclude on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET at Foley Field. The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Lexington can hear the action live on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UK will send sophomore lefty Corey Littrell (3-0, 2.04 ERA) to face Georgia senior right-hander Michael Palazzone (0-2, 3.41 ERA).

    Georgia got on the board in the first inning, as Levi Hyams led off with a single through the right side, with Curt Powell replacing him at first on a fielder’s choice. Kyle Farmer then flied out to leftfield and Hunter Cole followed with a laser to deep centerfield. Cousino tracked it all the way to the wall, leaping and securing the ball in his glove before his collision with the centerfield fence bounced the ball out of his glove, allowing Powell to score from first.

    In the second inning, Colby May led off with a double to leftfield, taking third on Conor Welton’s sacrifice bunt. Brandon Stephens then scored him with a single through the left side.

    Georgia added a run to its lead in the third inning, as Brett DeLoach singled to left centerfield with one out, moving to second after a single to centerfield from Welton. Stephens then ripped a single through th left side to score DeLoach.

    The Wildcats got on the board and took a 4-3 lead in the top of the fourth inning, using four hits. After a fly out to leadoff, Reed smacked a single to leftfield and Flynn followed with a single to centerfield. Witt then loaded the bases with an infield single, before Riddle forced home UK’s first run with a bases-loaded, 3-2 walk. Williams then cleared the bases with a double down the leftfield line, giving UK the short-lived lead.

    UGA tied the game up in the fourth frame, as Powell reached on an infield single and Farmer drew a walk. Reed then struck out Cole for the second out, before DeLoach singled to rightfield, with the throw at the plate in time but bouncing out of Maile’s glove after the collision.

    UK regained the lead in the top of the fifth, as McCarthy cranked a solo home run into the trees in leftfield, his third homer of the year.

    Georgia took the lead back in the bottom of the sixth inning as Wijas issued back-to-back walks to start the frame. DeLoach then singled up the middle to score Farmer, before Wijas struck out May looking. Welton followed and reached on a fielder’s choice, with DeLoach out on the play and Cole scoring the go-ahead run.

    The Wildcats immediately answered in the top of the seventh, to take an 8-6 lead. Cousino led off with a full-count walk, taking second on a wild pitch. Reed then scored Cousino with a single through the right side to bring up Flynn. Flynn crushed his seventh homer of the year over the rightfield fence, hitting high off the light tower to give UK a lead.

    Georgia responded with a run in the bottom of the seventh, as Verdin led off with a triple down the leftfield line, scoring on Farmer’s sacrifice fly to rightfield, narrowly beating the throw to the plate with a collision into Maile.

    UK plated a run in the top of the eighth, as Riddle cranked a double down the opposite-field line, taking third on a wild pitch and scoring on Williams’ fourth RBI of the game, a single smacked up the middle in what eventually would be the game-winning RBI.

    The Bulldogs cut the UK lead with an unearned run in the bottom of the eighth, as May reached on a one-out throwing error, scoring on Welton’s double into leftfield.

    Game Two Between Alabama and Tennessee Suspended

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Alabama was trailing the Tennessee Volunteers, 4-2, when severe weather hit Lindsey Nelson Stadium, halting game two of the series in the bottom of the sixth inning. Alabama and Tennessee will continue the game on Sunday at 11 a.m. CT. The final game of the series will be a seven inning affair and is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. CT.

    Alabama took a 1-0 lead when Brett Booth hit his second home run of the season to lead off the third inning. The Crimson Tide added another run later in the inning, when Jared Reaves scored on a groundout by Austen Smith.

    Tennessee scored all four of its runs in the fourth inning. An RBI double by Davis Morgan drove in Zach Luther from first, then a two-RBI single by Chris Fritts gave Tennessee a 3-2 lead. The fourth run of the inning came across on a sac fly by Zach Osborne for a 4-2 Vols lead.

    Josh Rosecrans had just replaced Alabama starting pitcher Justin Kamplain when lightning struck near the stadium. Kamplain threw 5.1 innings, allowing four earned runs on seven hits with two walks, two hit batters and one strikeout.

    For game three, the Crimson Tide is scheduled to start freshman lefty Jon Keller (0-0, 3.18 ERA), while Tennessee will counter with sophomore righty Nick Williams (2-2, 1.71 ERA).

    No. 1 Florida Evens Series At No. 16 Ole Miss, 9-4; O’Sullivan Notches 200th Win

    OXFORD, Miss. – No. 1 Florida (24-3/6-2 SEC) used a six-run eighth inning, highlighted by a tie-breaking, three-run homer by junior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.), to even its weekend series at No. 16 Ole Miss (19-8/4-4 SEC), 9-4, in front of a season-high crowd of 10,064 fans on Saturday afternoon at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.

    Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan picked up his 200th career victory to become the fastest Gator baseball coach to reach that plateau. The fifth-year skipper is now 200-85 (.702) and reached the mark in 20 fewer games than Joe Arnold, who was 434-244-2 (.640) in 11 seasons from 1984-94.

    After being limited to a season-low three hits on Friday night, the Gators banged out 17 hits, including a season-high seven doubles, to match their highest output in a game this year. Senior Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) (3-for-6, two runs), Ramjit (3-for-5, three RBI, two runs) and freshman Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) (3-for-5) each had three hits as eight of nine UF starters chipped in with at least one. Freshman Johnny Magliozzi (East Milton, Mass.) improved to 4-0 by having the Rebels leave the bases loaded in the seventh when they led by a run.

    Trailing 3-2 entering the eighth, Florida erupted for six runs on six hits in the stanza by sending 10 batters to the plate. Junior Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) led off with a single into right field off junior Dylan Chavez (3-1) and junior Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) poked a double into left center for two Gators in scoring position. Turgeon came through with a game-tying single into center field that brought across Maddox. Ramjit moved the visitors in front with a three-run jack to left field, his third big fly of the season, all coming in SEC play. Freshman Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) drew a walk from freshman reliever Sam Smith and Pigott collected his third hit of the day with an infield single before senior Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) (2-for-4) smoked an RBI double down the right-field line to score Shafer for a four-run lead. Freshman Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) (1-for-3, two RBI) expanded the Gators’ margin to 8-3 with a sacrifice fly into right field off junior reliever Tanner Bailey.

    The Gators had used a two-out RBI single by junior Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) off senior R.J. Hively to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Junior Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) had roped a two-out double down the left-field line and Johnson delivered a base-hit into right field to break the ice.

    Johnson retired the first four Rebel hitters of the contest before sophomore Preston Overbey (2-for-3) had a one-out single to center field in the second. A groundout by junior Andrew Mistone on a hit-and-run pushed Overbey to third but Johnson had freshman Auston Bousfield fly out to right field.

    With one out in the third, Pigott blooped a single into right field to extend his hitting streak to a season-high seven games and Tucker followed with a walk. Zunino advanced his teammates into scoring position with a grounder and Hively worked out of the jam by catching pinch hitter Gushue looking on strikes.

    Sophomore Will Allen moved Ole Miss in front, 2-1, with a two-run homer in the fourth. Senior Matt Snyder reached on a one-out fielding error by Turgeon and Allen belted his first homer of the season into the left-field seats. Overbey ripped a double to straightaway center field and Johnson had Mistone and Bousfield each ground out.

    Gushue tied the game at two runs apiece in the fifth with a two-out double to the right-field fence. Pigott had his second hit of the game with a one-out infield single and moved into scoring position with his first stolen base of the year as Tucker went down on the strikes for the second out. Zunino drew a walk for two Gators aboard and Gushue ended a 0-for-15 drought with his sixth two-bagger of the year to bring home Pigott with the equalizer. Hively stranded the runners in scoring position by having Maddox ground out to third base.

    Junior Alex Yarbrough (2-for-5) helped the Rebels re-claim the lead in the bottom of the frame with a two-out RBI single. Senior Zach Kirksey had earned a free pass to start the inning and Johnson (4.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER) was replaced by junior Steven Rodriguez (Miami, Fla.). Senior Blake Newalu laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Kirksey over and junior Tanner Mathis had a grounder that enabled Kirksey to reach third. Yarbrough sliced a 3-2 pitch through the right side of the infield to drive in Kirksey with the go-ahead run. Rodriguez plunked Snyder and senior Greg Larson (Longwood, Fla.) was called upon from the bullpen and had Allen ground out to keep the Gators down by one.

    Turgeon and Ramjit had consecutive one-out infield singles in the sixth to prompt a pitching change. Chavez came in for Hively (5.1 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 8 K, 2 BB) and had pinch hitter Shafer fly out to center field and Pigott fly out to right field to preserve UM’s advantage.

    Tucker began the seventh with a base-hit into right field but was later thrown out trying to take second base during Zunino’s at bat when the ball got past Allen. The Rebel catcher recovered and threw a perfect strike to Yarbrough covering the bag. Soon after, Chavez induced consecutive fly-outs by Zunino and Gushue to complete the frame.

    A one-out pinch-hit single by sophomore Austin Anderson caused another pitching move, as sophomore Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.) came in for Larson (1.2 IP, 1 H). The southpaw caught Mathis looking on strikes and Yarbrough roped a single into left field for two runners on base and Gibson hit Snyder to load the bases. Magliozzi replaced Gibson and had Allen fly out to hold the Gators’ deficit at a run.

    After the Gators moved in front, Magliozzi hit Overbey to start the home part of the eighth inning and Maddox took over on the mound. Mistone singled through the left side and Maddox had freshman pinch hitter Sikes Orvis fly out to left field. A base-hit by Kirksey filled the bases with Rebels and the right-hander had Anderson foul out to Zunino and Mathis line out to right field to end the inning.

    Shafer boosted the Gators’ lead to 9-3 in the ninth with a two-out RBI double that scored Ramjit, who had doubled to left field with two down. Snyder later connected on his fifth homer, second of the series, to finalize the margin at 9-4. Florida enjoyed a 17-9 advantage in hits this afternoon.

    Commodores hammer Gamecocks

    Nashville, Tenn. – Vanderbilt used a seven-run fourth inning en route to a 12-4 win over No. 10 South Carolina Saturday at Hawkins Field.
    Mike Yastrzemski’s double to lead off the bottom of the fourth ignited the Commodores’ (11-16, 3-5) seven-run inning. Spencer Navin’s single scored Yastrzemski for the first run of the game. After a pair of walks loaded the bases and chased South Carolina (19-8, 2-6) starter Evan Beal. Riley Reynolds greeted Gamecocks’ reliever Forrest Koumas with a two-run single and Jack Lupo followed up with a run-scoring single of his own to make it 4-0. Tony Kemp’s bunt single plated another run before Anthony Gomez’s single made it 6-0. Conrad Gregor capped the rally with a single up the middle that stretched the lead to seven runs for Vanderbilt starter Tyler Beede.
    Beede (1-3) was lights out over a career-high six-plus innings to earn his first collegiate win. The freshman right-hander fanned seven while allowing one run on five hits and one walk. He struck out four of the seven batters he faced and allowed only two base runners in his first five frames. The freshman pitched himself into a jam in the sixth, loading the bases with no outs before recovering to retire the next three batters and keep the Gamecocks off the scoreboard. South Carolina finally chased the right-hander in the seventh with a pair of hits to open the frame. Fellow freshman Brian Miller worked the final three innings for his second save of the season.
    The Vanderbilt offense matched season-highs with 16 hits on the day and seven runs in the fourth inning. The offense saw 11 different Commodores collect at least one hit on the afternoon. Reynolds and Kemp each had two hits and two RBI with Reynolds scoring two runs. Vince Conde and Jack Lupo each added two hits while Connor Harrell scored three of the team’s 12 runs. Connor Castellano blasted his first career home run in the eighth inning with a solo shot over the right field bleachers. Tanner English paced South Carolina with two hits. Beal (1-3) took the loss allowing four runs on four hits and three walks over 3.1 innings.

    No. 24 Auburn Bounces Back With 10-6 Win To Even Series
    AUBURN, Ala. – Will Kendall faced the minimum number of hitters through six innings and the Auburn offense exploded for 10 runs on six hits as the No. 24 Auburn (16-11, 5-3 SEC) baseball team bounced back to defeat Mississippi State, 10-6, and even its three-game series at a game apiece. Auburn will try to claim its third straight SEC series win on Sunday at 1pm.

    “Scoring runs in the early innings is a huge help,” Kendall said. “It gets me relaxed and helps my confidence. Our offense did a great job and we had a great game plan going in.”

    Kendall, who improved to a perfect 4-0 in five starts, was touched for just two singles through the first six innings, both by Mississippi State (18-10, 3-5 SEC) leadoff man Adam Frazier, who reached base safely in all five of his trips to the plate. That did not faze Kendall, however, as he got a groundball double-play to erase Frazier in the first and Blake Austin threw out Frazier trying to steal second in the fourth.

    Kendall hit his first rough-patch in the seventh as Frazier drew a leadoff walk and an error allowed him to score from second. Kendall’s second walk of the inning preceded a single and a sac fly that made it a 6-2 game. He then allowed a RBI single to Wes Rea, ending his day after he allowed a total of four hits over 6 1/3 innings.

    Auburn jumped out to a six-run lead after three to take control of the game early. Jay Gonzalez singled, stole second and scored on a wild pitch and a throwing error in the first to make it 1-0.

    A bases-loaded groundball double play made it 2-0 in the second and then Gonzalez singled home another run to extend the lead to three in the frame.

    “We wanted to come out early and jump on them and get their starting pitcher out as quickly as possible,” Gonzalez said.

    The first two hitters in Auburn’s half of the third both reached base, Ryan Tella on an error and Garrett Cooper on a walk, signaling the end of Mississippi State starter Nick Routt’s day. A Cullen Wacker single off of Even Mitchell scored Tella and a wild pitch scored Cooper as Routt (1-4) would be charged for five runs (three earned) on four hits and three walks in two innings to take the loss.

    “I challenged our offense today,” Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. “I told them that we were better than what we have been doing. I told them we needed to be a little more opportunistic.”

    After Mississippi State narrowed the margin to 6-3 in the seventh, Auburn answered with five extra-base hits in the bottom half of the inning, highlighted by Austin’s three-run home run that made it 10-3.

    Mississippi State made things interesting with a three-run ninth off of Jay Wade, who entered in the seventh for Kendall after the Rea single. With two runs in, two outs and men on the corners, Dillon Ortman entered and loaded the bases, allowing a run to score, before getting a strike out to end the game.

    Eight of nine Auburn starters finished with hits in the game with Gonzalez, Cooper, Wacker and Zach Alvord all collecting two hits.

    LSU Downs Arkansas, 2-1


    BATON ROUGE, La. - Catcher Ty Ross delivered a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning to propel No. 12 LSU (21-6, 5-3 SEC) to a 2-1 victory over No. 3 Arkansas (22-5, 5-3 SEC) on Saturday night at Alex Box Stadium.

    Rightfielder Mason Katz led off the ninth inning with a single to left-center. Following leftfielder’s Raph Rhymes’s ground out that moved Katz to second, shortstop Austin Nola was walked to set the scene for the fantastic finish. Ross stepped in and slapped an opposite field single to seal the win.

    LSU clinched the series with the triumph after taking Game 1 of the series, 10-6, on Friday  night. The Bayou Bengals moved to 4-2 in one-run games in SEC play.

    The Tigers and Razorbacks will conclude the series at 1 p.m. Sunday as freshman right-hander Aaron Nola (3-1) takes the mound for LSU.

    “What a tremendous ball game in front of a great crowd; it was college baseball at its best, ” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “I can’t say enough about the determination of our team to compete so hard on every pitch and earn a second win over the third-ranked team in the country. We’ve won the series, and I’m very proud of that, but I think our players realize that tomorrow is another very important game for us.”

    Both starting pitchers were spectacular and set new career highs for strike outs, although neither factored into the final decision.

    LSU starter Ryan Eades (4-1) worked 7.1 innings, allowing five hits and one run while tying his career-high with eight strikeouts. Arkansas starter Ryne Stanek pitched seven innings, permitted six hits and one run with one walk and a career-best 10 strikeouts.

    “Ryan Eades gave us another courageous effort – he gives us everything he has on every pitch, and that’s all you can ask for as a coach,” Mainieri said.

    Reliever Chris Cotton (3-0) picked up the victory after entering the game in the eighth inning and recording five outs. Barrett Astin (2-1) was charged with the loss after allowing the winning run in the ninth.

    LSU leftfielder Raph Rhymes added three hits and his team leading 33rd RBI.

    The Tigers got off to fast start in the first frame. Second baseman JaCoby Jones led off the inning with a single to left and moved to third on first baseman Grant Dozar’s single. After Katz struck out, Rhymes ripped a single up the middle to plate Jones and moved Dozar to second.

    Arkansas responded in the top half of the second. Eades plunked Matt Reynolds to lead off the inning. Reynolds stole second and moved to third on Jimmy Bosco’s ground out. Derrick Bleeker knocked a two-out single to left to score Reynolds from third.

    Cotton entered the game with one out and a runner on first in the eighth after Eades’s career-high eighth strikeout. Cotton fanned Dominic Ficociello before Tim Carver was thrown out attempting to steal second. Cotton continued his stint into the ninth and retired the side in order to set the stage for the bottom of the frame.