|Sunday baseball RESULTS
|Tennessee 4, Alabama 2 (Game 2)
|Tennessee 5, Alabama 3 (Game 3)
|Ole Miss 7, Florida 6
|LSU 3, Arkansas 2 - 11 innings
|Kentucky 11, Georgia 2
|Auburn 8, Mississippi State 2
|South Carolina 6, Vanderbilt 4 - 13 innings
TENNESSEE FINISHES OFF SERIES-CLINCHING 4-2 WIN OVER ALABAMA
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Following an overnight delay after a hail storm and strong rain forced the postponement of Saturday’s contest, Tennessee came out and finished the job on Sunday, clinching its first SEC series victory of the year with a 4-2 win over Alabama at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
The Volunteers (17-10, 4-4 SEC) have now won four straight games over the Crimson Tide (9-18, 1-7) including two wins in Tuscaloosa last season, marking the longest winning streak over Alabama in school history, dating back to the start of the rivalry in 1897.
UT will go for its fifth straight win and the series sweep in the second game of the modified doubleheader which is set to be a seven-inning affair, starting at 2 p.m. Sophomore Nick Williams (2-2, 1.71) will get the start for the Orange and White.
After throwing 1.2 innings on Saturday, junior Drew Steckenrider came back with two more scoreless frames on Sunday to pick up his second win of the year. He finished with 3.2 shutout innings, striking out four. Fellow classmate Nick Blount recorded his fourth save in four games, leaving the tying run stranded on base in a scoreless ninth. Blount has earned a save in each of Tennessee’s last five victories.
Alabama stranded a total of 14 runners in the contest, to just five for the Big Orange. UT junior Davis Morgan was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with a run scored and an RBI, while Chris Pierce drove in a pair of runs.
Just like series opener on Friday, Alabama started the scoring with a solo home run by Brett Booth and an RBI groundout from Jared Reaves putting the Tide up 2-0.
The Big Orange had a big answer once again, dropping a four-spot in a frame for the third time in two days in the bottom of the fourth. Zach Luther drew a four-pitch leadoff walk and came home to score just two batters later when Morgan drove a 3-1 pitch to the wall in left-center for a double.
Jared Allen was then hit by a pitch before a single to center by Chris Fritts loaded the bases, setting up a two-run single to left by Pierce. The Vols then tacked on another run when Zach Osborne lifted a sac fly to center.
Alabama threatened to cut into the UT advantage or even gain the lead outright when it loaded the bases with just one out in the top of the fifth thanks to a hit batter and back-to-back walks. The Vols called on Steckenrider out of the bullpen and he delivered, inducing a 4-6-3 double play to escape the jam unscathed.
Morgan singled to lead off the bottom of the sixth. Following a flyout, a lightning strike within close vicinity of the stadium forced a delay. It appeared the weather had passed and the tarp was being pulled when another lightning strike prompted another delay. A short time later, a strong hail storm and heavy rain forced the officials to postpone the contest.
After coming back out to the mound on Sunday and working a quick seventh inning, Steckenrider had to escape a bit of a tight spot in the eighth. The Tide put runners on the corners with a one-out walk and a two-out single, but Steckenrider buckled down to get a groundball to second to end the threat.
In the ninth, Alabama greeted Blount with back-to-back singles to lead things off and bring the go-ahead run to the plate, but a weak pop-up to short, strikeout and groundout back to the mound finished off the Tennessee victory.
Kentucky Wins Series At Georgia
ATHENS, Ga. -- Facing a Sunday rubber match for the second consecutive weekend, No. 2 Kentucky pounded out 16 hits, got a career game at the plate from J.T. Riddle and a dominating start from Corey Littrell, to post an 11-2 win over No. 18 Georgia, clinching UK’s first series win in Athens since 2000, on a steamy Sunday afternoon at Foley Field.
Kentucky (27-2, 7-2 Southeastern Conference) continued its school-record start to a season with its third consecutive SEC series win to open conference play. UK’s series win in Athens marks the first series win at UGA since 2000. UK now owns a 5-1 record vs. top-25 teams in 2012 and the Wildcats sit atop the SEC standings, as No. 16 Ole Miss claimed the series from No. 1 Florida on Sunday.
The Wildcats got a blistering offensive attack, pounding out 11 runs on 16 hits, both highs in SEC play in 2012. UK was led by three hits from Riddle, who scored a career-high four runs, launched his second homer and had two RBI in a 3-for-3 game with a walk.
UK also got a career-high three hits from Matt Reida, who added a walk and a sacrifice. Austin Cousino had a 2-for-5 game with his fifth homer of the year, adding three RBI. Thomas McCarthy went 2-for-6 with three RBI, with every member of the UK lineup charting at least one hit. A.J. Reed, Luke Maile, Cameron Flynn and Zac Zellers each had a hit, while Michael Williams went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI.
Littrell (4-0) worked a career-high 7.2 innings, allowing eight hits and one run, walking two and striking out five. Littrell, a native of Louisville, Ky., allowed one Georgia run in the bottom of the first inning, before settling in to throw up six consecutive scoreless frames. Junior Tim Peterson took over for Littrell, allowing a solo homer but getting the final four outs in the game.
Georgia (18-10, 4-4 SEC) starter Michael Palazzone (0-2) worked five innings, allowing 11 hits and eight runs, striking out five. Over his last three career starts vs. UK, Palazzone has worked 14.1 innings, allowing 25 runs. UK’s offensive output in the series came against a stout Georgia pitching corp that entered the series with a stellar 2.75 team ERA. Chase Hawkins replaced Palazzone to start the sixth, working two innings, allowing four hits and one run, striking out three. Jay Swinford, Ben Ancheff and Jarrett Brown were used in relief.
UK will return to action with a five-game homestand at Cliff Hagan Stadium, starting on Wednesday vs. Dayton at 6:30 p.m. ET. UK will host red-hot Ole Miss in a three-game series, starting Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The Bulldogs started strong in the first inning, as Conor Welton reached on a one-out single through the left side, with Kyle Farmer following with a hard-hit single to centerfield. After a wild pitch moved Welton to third base with one out, Hunter Cole drew a walk to load the bases. Brett DeLoach followed and hit a grounder deep in the hole on the left side, with Reida making a nice play to get to the ball and force Cole out at second base, with Welton scoring the first run of the game.
Kentucky answered with four runs on four hits to take a 4-1 lead in the top of the second. Zellers led off the inning with a laser single up the middle and Riddle was hit by a pitch. Williams then scored Zellers with a hard-hit single up the middle. Reida laid down a bunt to get Riddle to third base, with Reida replacing Williams at first on the fielder’s choice. After Cousino got hit by his second pitch of the year to load the bases, McCarthy pounded a double into the gap, clearing the bases and giving UK the 4-1 lead.
UK added to its lead in the top of the fourth inning, as Reida led off with a high chopping single over the first baseman’s head. Cousino followed and pounded his fourth homer of the year over the rightfield fence, making it 6-1 Wildcats. Cousino has homered in four of his last five games.
Flynn helped UK add to its lead in the fifth, leading off the frame with a double off the wall in centerfield. Riddle then scored him with a blast over the rightfield fence, making it 8-1 UK.
UK added a run to its lead in the seventh inning as Riddle ripped a double off a lefty to the opposite field line, with Williams replacing him at second base with a double of his own.
In the eighth inning, Georgia’s Cole launched his sixth homer of the year, a line drive shot over the leftfield fence to cut the UK lead to 9-2.
UK added to its lead with two runs in the ninth inning, as Zellers and Riddle were both hit by one-out pitches, with Zellers scoring on a passed ball and Riddle touching home on Cousino’s RBI fielder’s choice.
Auburn Defeats Mississippi State
AUBURN, Ala. – The No. 24 Auburn baseball team claimed its third straight Southeastern Conference series with a 8-2 win over Mississippi State on Sunday behind six strong innings from freshman Daniel Koger. The win improved Auburn’s record to 17-11, 6-3 SEC and marks the first time Auburn has opened up the conference season with three straight wins since 2003.
“We had some really big two-out hits,” Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. “We scored the majority of our runs with two outs. It’s not the way you draw it up but we will take it. Those guys committed to what we wanted to do today and yesterday and I am glad to see the success they have had the last two days.”
Koger, who had recorded three straight quality starts without a win, finally got an abundance of offensive support as Auburn pounded out 12 hits and drew five walks off of the Mississippi State (18-11, 3-6 SEC) pitching staff. The lefthander faced just one over the minimum through four and finished the day allowing six hits over six innings with a walk while striking out three to move to 2-1 on the year, earning his first win since Feb. 25 at No. 8 Arizona.
“I felt good early on,” Koger said. “I started to wear down a little bit but it was a good day. I was locating it well and I was throwing the inside pitch really well.”
Auburn meanwhile used clutch hitting to score its eight runs, collecting 11 two-out hits and driving in six of its eight runs with two outs. Third baseman Justin Bryant, making his first start in the field this season, had three of the two-out hits and also drove in two runs, doubling in a run in the third that put Auburn up 4-0 and then singling in a run in the eighth that stretched the lead to 8-2.
“From the first pitch on I really tried to lock in on the outside part of the plate because that was where they tried to pitch me all weekend. I was just trying to put the ball in play the other way and they ended up coming in a few times and I was able to get the bat on it,” Bryant said.
Auburn used a four-run third to take a lead it would never surrender. Garrett Cooper’s two-out double scored a pair and then Cullen Wacker reached on an error that allowed Cooper to score from third before Bryant drove in Wacker.
A Creede Simpson fielder’s choice stretched the lead to 5-0 in the fourth before Mississippi State got two back in the top of the fifth. Hunter Renfroe singled and scored when Wes Rea reached on an error and Sam Frost doubled and scored on an Adam Frazier fielder’s choice to cut the lead to 5-2.
The score didn’t stay that way for long as Auburn loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth and Dan Glevenyak drove in two with a single to left for the 7-2 lead, ending Mississippi State starter Kendall Graveman’s (2-1) day after he surrendered seven runs (four earned) in 4 2/3 innings.
Slade Smith threw the final three innings, allowing just one hit, to pick up his third save of the season. All three of his saves this season have been three-plus innings.
Ryan Tella, Cooper, Wacker and Glevenyak each finished with two hits for Auburn.
VOLS COMPLETE SWEEP OVER ALABAMA, 5-3
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee broke a 3-3 tie on a two-out single by Zach Osborne in the bottom of the sixth inning and Nick Blount came on in the seventh to record his second save of the day and fifth in the last five games as the Volunteers completed the series sweep of Alabama with a 5-3 win on a rainy Sunday afternoon at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
“That was pretty special,” UT head coach Dave Serrano said. “I am very proud of our guys. It wasn’t an easy week by any stretch of the imagination, but we came out 5-0. More importantly, we were 3-0 in the SEC this weekend. We get above .500 and we are 5-4 (in the SEC) which puts us in the hunt, but we have a long way to go. We are nine games into a 30-game schedule, but I am proud of how we have continued to overcome adversity and weather and find a way to get it done.”
With wins in all five of its games this week, Tennessee is now 18-10 on the season and 5-4 in SEC play. Alabama falls to 9-19 overall and 1-8 in league action.
“We haven’t had many easy games,” Serrano said. “I made this comment after we beat MVSU on Wednesday. It would be easy for us to come out to a team that may not be as good as us and win 12-0, but you don’t get anything out of that. Every game we have played this week has been a dogfight. When you start to get through those dogfights, you find a way to come out on top and win. I think because nothing has come easy for this team, this team is starting to gain some mental toughness to find ways to get through the tough times of a baseball game.”
The sweep is just UT's second ever against Alabama in a rivalry that dates back to 1897 and is the first home sweep for the Vols since it took three from LSU in 2008. The Big Orange has now won five straight games over the Crimson Tide, the longest winning such streak in school history.
With the score deadlocked at 3-3 and a steady rain falling in the bottom of the sixth, Tennessee got a leadoff single by Davis Morgan. Pinch runner Nick Powell then swiped second, his first career stolen base, before a one-out walk and a hit batter loaded the bags for Osborne who ripped an 0-2 pitch over the shortstop to bring in the winning runs.
“I was looking fastball early and once I had two strikes I was just trying to put a good swing on it and make some contact,” Osborne said. “As a hitter it is always tough on a 0-2 pitch. You know the pitcher is way ahead. They can throw you a curve ball at any time. It’s always tough with two strikes, but you have to go out and perform.”
Alabama greeted Blount with a leadoff base-hit in the seventh but a fly out to the warning track in right and a 6-3 double play finished off the UT sweep.
The save was Blount’s second of the day as he finished off the first game as well. He also saved each of Tennessee’s five wins on the week to up his season total to six. He has rocketed up the UT career chart and now ranks in a tie for eighth all-time with seven. He is tied with former Vols Joey Andrew (2002-05) and Danny Wiltz (2006-09) as well as current teammate Nick Williams who actually started the contest.
Carter Watson tossed 2.1 scoreless innings of relief to pick up the win, his second of the series and third of the week. Jon Keller suffered the loss for Alabama after allowing all five UT runs on five hits in 5.1 innings.
Osborne was 2-for-3 at the plate in the game, putting his average for the weekend series at .667 (6-for-9). His two RBIs brought his season total to double-digits at 10. Zach Luther also had a pair of hits and scored two runs for the Vols, while Drew Steckenrider launched his team-leading fourth home run of the season.
After falling behind early in each of the first two games of the series, Tennessee jumped out to a quick lead in the finale, as Steckenrider followed a single by Zach Luther with an opposite-field blast off of the scoreboard in right-center that put the Vols ahead 2-0 in the first inning.
The Big Orange tacked on another run in the third. Once again, Luther reached base on a single to right to start things off before swiping second and moving to third on a wild pitch. With the Alabama infield drawn in on the grass, Morgan smoked one on the ground to short. The shortstop made a diving play but had no chance to get Luther at the plate as UT jumped ahead 3-0.
Alabama wasn't going to go down without a fight though, taking advantage of a number of close calls to plate three runs in the top of the fourth and tie the game at 3-3. Jerad Reaves got the scoring started with a leadoff home run to left that snapped Williams' scoreless streak as a starting pitcher at 13.2 innings, spanning three starts.
Following a pair of flyouts, sandwiched around a one-out single, a walk in a 10-pitch at-bat to Ben Miller put runners on first and second with two outs for the Tide. Williams worked the count to 2-2 against the next batter, James Tullidge, before missing on two extremely close pitches to load the bases with another walk.
The walk prompted a slow walk to the mound by Serrano where he had a long chat with Williams. Upon entering the conversation, home plate umpire Todd Henderson ejected Serrano for the first time as the Tennessee skipper.
On the first pitch after the ejection, Hunter Gregory laced a single to center, bringing in two runs to tie the game at 3-3. After Williams hit the next batter, the Vols called on Watson who got a fly out on his first pitch to get UT out of the inning.
Watson then posted zeroes in the fifth and sixth innings to set up the heroics by Osborne and Blount.
GAMECOCKS TAKE SERIES WITH 6-4 WIN OVER VANDERBILT IN 13 INNINGS
Nashville, Tenn – Christian Walker’s two-out two-run homer in the top of the 13th inning helped lift 10th ranked South Carolina to a 6-4 victory over Vanderbilt on Sunday afternoon to clinch the weekend series for the Gamecocks. South Carolina is 20-8 and 3-6 in the SEC while the loss drops Vanderbilt to 11-17 and 3-6 in league play.
The game was tied at 4-4 entering the top of the seventh inning. Carolina junior right-hander Matt Price, who had allowed an infield single and a run in the top of the sixth, settled in and kept the game in check for the Gamecocks from the seventh to 11th innings. Time and again with runners in scoring position, Price dug deep and kept the game at bay. He finished going six innings and allowing one run on one hit with four walks and seven strikeouts. He made way for freshman left-hander Jordan Montgomery, who worked a clean 12th inning. That set the stage for the 13th inning. Evan Marzilli reached base with a one-out single. With two outs and Marzilli still on first base, Christian Walker launched a 1-0 pitch from Vanderbilt reliever Philip Pfefier that just cleared the Green Monster wall in left field giving the Gamecocks a two-run lead. Montgomery went back to work in the bottom half and retired the first two batters. After Connor Harrell singled with two outs, Montgomery ended the game with a strikeout against pinch hitter John Norwood.
Montgomery hurled two scoreless innings of relief with two hits allowed, one walk and three strikeouts to pick up the win. He is 2-0 on the year. It was his second win of the week as he also earned a win on Tuesday night at The Citadel as a starter. Pfeifer suffered the loss and is 0-1 on the year. He allowed two runs on three hits in 1.1 innings with one walk as well.
South Carolina raced out to a 4-0 lead on the Commodores. The Gamecocks broke ahead 1-0 in the top of the first inning. The Gamecocks strung together three consecutive hits with Pankake doubling of the wall in left-center, advancing to third on Walker’s base hit and scoring on Brison Celek’s RBI single to left field past Vanderbilt third baseman Vince Conde. The lead increased to 2-0 in the fourth inning. LB Dantzler launched the first pitch he saw from Vanderbilt starter Will Clinard over the wall in right-center for a homer. He now has five for the season. South Carolina tacked on two more in the top of the fifth inning with Dantzler driving in both runs with a two-out RBI single. Evan Marzilli opened the frame with a leadoff walk and has reached base all 28 games this year. With Marzilli on second and one out, the Commodores elected to intentionally walk Walker. After a short grounder to second moved both runners into scoring position, Dantzler knocked a base hit up the middle to give the Gamecocks a four-run lead.
Gamecock starting pitcher Colby Holmes retired 10 in a row at one point but ran into trouble in the fifth inning. Spencer Navin led off with a single to left field, the first hit of the game for the Commodores. He advanced to second on a throwing error by Tanner English into the infield. Another base hit from Vince Conde gave Vanderbilt runners on the corners. With one out and runners still at first and third base, Riley Reynolds drove in Navin with a sacrifice fly to left-center putting the Commodores on the scoreboard. A two-out single by Jack Lupo kept the Commodores alive in the inning. With left-handed hitting Tony Kemp at the plate, the Gamecocks went to the pen for junior left-hander Tyler Webb. Kemp was able to turn on an inside pitch and knocked a double to right field scoring both runners and cutting the Gamecocks lead to one run. Vanderbilt tied the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the sixth inning. Mike Yastrzemski reached base on an infield single to open the frame and stole second base. With runners on first and second with one out, Vince Conde bounced a ground ball to Pankake at shortstop. Pankake flipped to Payne at second, for the second out but could not get Conde at first as he beat the throw out. Yastrzemski never stopped running from second and ran his way home beating a throw from Walker at first to tie the game up.
South Carolina had 12 hits to just seven by Vanderbilt. Walker was 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI. Pankake, Celek and Dantzler had two hits apiece as well. Kemp was 2-for-5 with two RBI to lead Vanderbilt at the plate.
LSU EARNS SECOND STRAIGHT WALK-OFF WIN OVER NO. 3 ARKANSAS
BATON ROUGE, La.— Freshman centerfielder Jared Foster’s 11th inning infield hit Sunday provided No. 12 LSU with its second consecutive walk-off RBI single and lifted the Tigers to a 3-2 win over No. 3 Arkansas in Alex Box Stadium.
LSU extended its win streak to four games and improved to 22-6 overall, 6-3 in the SEC. The Tigers are in a first-place tie in the SEC Western Division with Auburn. Arkansas dropped to 22-6 and 5-4 in the conference with Sunday’s loss.
The three-game sweep of Arkansas was LSU’s first over a ranked team since May 3-4, 2008 when the Tigers swept three games at Kentucky. The Tigers posted a 10-6 win over the Razorbacks on Friday night, and catcher Ty Ross’ RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning Saturday night gave LSU a 2-1 victory.
LSU is now 5-2 this season in SEC games decided by one run.
“It was just another great ball game and a huge win for our team,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We felt very confident going into this series and that carried on throughout the weekend. We got tremendous pitching both from our starters and our bullpen, and we made the plays we needed to make to win games.”
LSU leftfielder Raph Rhymes led off the 11th inning with a single against Arkansas closer Barrett Astin. Shortstop Austin Nola popped out and Rhymes was caught stealing. However, catcher Ty Ross reached first on an infield single and moved to third on third baseman Tyler Hanover’s bloop single behind first base.
Designated hitter Tyler Moore was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs for Foster. The former LSU walk-on quarterback chopped a bouncing ball to the left side of the infield, where Arkansas third baseman Matt Reynolds couldn’t make the play and Ross raced home with the winning run.
Astin (2-2) was charged with the loss as he gave up one run on six hits in three innings with no walks and two strikeouts. LSU junior right-hander Joey Bourgeois (1-1) earned the win after he pitched two scoreless relief innings, allowing no hits with no walks and three strikeouts.
LSU starter Aaron Nola (3-1) notched a career high nine strikeouts in 6.1 innings of work. Arkansas starter Nolan Sanburn (2-1) worked three innings, allowing four hits, two runs and three walks.
The Tigers’ bullpen was exceptional in the victory. Junior right-hander Nick Goody finished the seventh inning and recorded four strikeouts in 2.1 innings of work. Junior southpaw Chris Cotton forced Arkansas to strand runners on the corners in the ninth.
LSU struck first in the top of the opening frame. Rightfielder Mason Katz ripped a two-out single to left and moved to second on a wild pitch. Rhymes smacked a grounder up the middle to score Katz from second.
Arkansas responded in the top of the second. Derrick Bleeker hit a solo shot over the left-field bleachers, his third dinger of the season.
LSU captured the lead in the bottom of the third inning. Katz reached safely on an infield single and moved to third on a failed pickoff attempt by Sanburn. Austin Nola cracked an RBI double just inside the left field line to plate Katz.
Arkansas tied the game in the top of the seventh inning. Dominic Ficociello led off the inning with a deep blast into the right field seats. After Aaron Nola issued a one-out walk to Bleeker, Nick Goody entered the game for LSU and struck out Sam Bates and Bo Bigham.
In the eighth inning, Goody fanned Jake Wise and Jacob Morris before his run of four consecutive strikeouts ended on a fly out by Carver.
Pinch hitter Jacob Mahan led off the Arkansas ninth with a single and was replaced by pinch runner Matt Vinson. After a pop out, Reynolds singled to left. After Bleeker’s pop out to center, Vinson reached third. Cotton entered the game for LSU and forced Sam Bates to ground out to first base to end the threat.