Gamecocks Rally for 7-6 Win Over Mississippi State
|South Carolina 7, Mississippi State 6
|Florida 3, Tennessee 1
|Vanderbilt 5, Auburn 4
|Georgia 6, Ole Miss 3
|Arkansas 8, Kentucky 7
|LSU 10, Alabama 2
Columbia, S.C. – Ninth ranked South Carolina rallied from three runs down with four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning with pinch hitter Sean Sullivan tying the game with a two-out triple and scoring the winning run on a wild pitch on the way to a 7-6 victory over Mississippi State in the series opener on Friday night in front of 8,105 fans at Carolina Stadium. The Gamecocks are now 25-10 and 6-7 in the SEC while Mississippi State drops to 21-13 and 5-8 in league play. Game two of the series is set for Saturday at 4 p.m. It can be heard live on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College with live video broadcast at GamecocksOnline.com.
With two outs and the Gamecocks behind 6-3 to MSU in the bottom of the eighth, the rally began as Grayson Greiner drove a solo home run to left field, his fourth home run of the year. Trailing by two runs, Adam Matthews followed with a base hit up the middle. That ended the night for Mississippi State starter Chris Stratton as the Bulldogs elected to go to the bullpen for closer Caleb Reed. The hit parade continued as Brison Celek doubled down the left field line to put runners on second and third base setting the stage for Sullivan. Down 0-2 in the count, Sullivan lifted a fly ball into right field that got out of the grasp of a diving Brent Brownlee, scoring both runners and putting Sullivan on third base. Sullivan then scampered home with the winning run as a wild pitch on a strikeout by Reed against Tanner English allowed Sullivan to score and English to reach first base. With a 7-6 lead, the Gamecocks brought on right-hander Matt Price, who hurled a perfect ninth inning for a save and preserving the one-run victory.
Freshman right-hander Evan Beal picked up the win in relief and is now 2-3 on the year. He faced one batter in the top of the eighth. Price’s one-inning stint earned him for his second save of the year. Reed allowed two runs on two hits in 0.1 innings to suffer the loss. He is now 0-5 on the year.
South Carolina had 11 hits with Mississippi State ending the evening with seven. Greiner was 2-for-4 to lead the Gamecocks. 10 different players for South Carolina had at least one hit. C.T. Bradford went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI to lead the Bulldogs.
The Gamecocks held the early lead scoring three runs in the bottom of the third inning. Chase Vergason led off with a single followed by a bunt for a base hit courtesy of English. With one out, Evan Marzilli singled to left field to load the bases. A four-pitch walk for Christian Walker scored Vergason and LB Dantzler added a two-run single to right field to give the Gamecocks a three-run cushion.
South Carolina starter Michael Roth went 4.1 innings without allowing a hit until Bradford connected with a one-out home run to right field in the top of the fifth. MSU exploded for four runs in the top of the sixth inning on the back of three extra base hits. Wes Rea knocked a one-out home run to left-center to cut the Gamecocks lead to one. After Porter reached base on a hit by pitch, Renfroe doubled and both runners would score after Bradford tripled off the wall in right field. Brownlee would drive in Bradford with a RBI groundout. In the top of the seventh Mississippi extended their lead to 6-3 after a one out double to center field by Norris scored Frazier.
Roth allowed five runs on five hits in 5.1 innings with three walks and two strikeouts. MSU starter Chris Stratton allowed five runs on nine hits in 7.2 innings with two walks and 11 strikeouts.
No. 4 Florida Takes Opener At Tennessee, 3-1
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Junior Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) was 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles and the Gator bullpen tossed four scoreless innings around several jams to lead No. 4 Florida (27-7/8-5 SEC) to a 3-1 series-opening victory over Tennessee (20-14/6-7 SEC) on Friday night. The crowd of 3,401 fans at Lindsey Nelson Stadium was the 12th-largest in the facility’s history. Junior Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) and Fontana each had an RBI double in the fifth inning as the Gators plated two runs to snap a 1-1 tie.
Making the first Friday night start of his career, sophomore right-hander Jonathon Crawford (Okeechobee, Fla.) (4-1) held the Vols to one run on six hits over five innings to improve to 3-0 in SEC play. Junior Steven Rodriguez (Miami, Fla.) registered four strikeouts and gave up one hit over two scoreless innings before junior Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) notched his 10th save in 10 opportunities by pitching the final two frames, with a three strikeouts and a couple of hits. Tennessee stranded a dozen base-runners on the night.
UT loaded the bases with two down in the first inning but came away empty-handed. Crawford retired the first two batters before junior Drew Steckenrider walked, senior Davis Morgan legged out an infield single and junior Chris Fritts (2-for-3) was plunked to fill the bags. The righty had freshman Richard Carter ground out to keep the game scoreless.
The Gators put their first three batters on base in the second against junior Zack Godley (4-2) but could not break the ice. Fontana and freshman Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) opened the inning with consecutive singles before junior Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) (2-for-4) blooped a base-hit into left center to fill the bags. Godley worked out of trouble by striking out junior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.), having junior Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) pop up and senior Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) ground out.
The Vols used a two-out single by freshman Will Maddox (2-for-5) in the bottom of the frame to take a 1-0 lead. Senior Chris Pierce (2-for-4) led off with a single into right field and was sacrificed over on a bunt by sophomore Ethan Bennett. Crawford had senior Zach Osborne ground out and Pierce swiped third with two down. Maddox roped a 1-2 pitch into center field to begin the scoring. After junior Zach Luther beat out a bunt for two runners aboard and Maddox stole third for runners on the corners, Crawford fanned Steckenrider.
Florida tied the game in the fourth on an RBI single by Johnson. Fontana started the frame with a double to the wall in right field and moved to third on a fly ball to straightaway center field by Gushue. Johnson sliced a base-knock through the right side to bring across Fontana with the equalizer.
UF seized a 3-1 lead in the fifth on RBI doubles by Zunino and Fontana. Freshman Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) had a one-out single into right field and stole second base for his second theft of the campaign and Zunino cranked his team-leading 14th double to left field to move the visitors in front. Fontana boosted the Gators’ advantage to 3-1 with his second double of the night with two down into the right-field corner.
In the sixth, the Vols had runners on second and third with none out and the bases full with two down but were held at bay. Fritts began the inning with a single into right field and Rodriguez was called upon with a 2-1 count to face Carter. The Vols inserted freshman Jared Allen as a pinch hitter and he drew a walk that was charged to Crawford, who scattered six hits and permitted one run over five innings, with five strikeouts and three walks. Soon after, a passed ball enabled both runners to move into scoring position. Rodriguez caught Pierce looking on strikes and then jammed Bennett on an infield fly. Osborne was walked intentionally to load the bases and Rodriguez kept the Gators up by two runs with a crucial inning-ending strikeout of Maddox.
Senior Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) drew a leadoff walk in the eighth and Fontana followed his fourth hit of the night with a single into right field to end the night for Godley, who allowed nine hits and three runs over seven-plus innings. A bunt attempt by Gushue off reliever Steckenrider instead forced Tucker at third base and Johnson popped up to third before a wild pitch enabled Fontana and Gushue to occupy third and second base, respectively. Ramjit was given an intentional free pass to fill the bases and Steckenrider picked him off to close the frame.
Fritts started the Vols’ eighth with a single into right field, prompting a pitching change. Maddox came in for Rodriguez (2.0 IP, 1 H, 4 K) and struck out Allen before Pierce roped a double into left field for two men in scoring position. Maddox responded with a strikeout of senior pinch hitter Wes Walker and Dent made a tremendous defensive stop on a ball hit by Osborne and fired a bullet over to first base to preserve Florida’s lead.
Tennessee’s Maddox began the ninth with a double to right field off Maddox and the reliever caught Luther looking on strikes. A fly out by Steckenrider pushed the runner to third base but Maddox had Morgan pop up to Fontana to complete the contest. Each team had nine hits and neither club committed any errors.
Sophomore right-hander Karsten Whitson (Chipley, Fla.) (1-0, 4.70) will oppose Vol senior lefty T.J. Thornton (0-0, 4.26) tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. The game will be carried live on Fox Sports Florida with Larry Conley and Dave Neal.
Commodores hold off Tigers in opener
Nashville, Tenn. – Vanderbilt held off a late rally from Auburn Friday night at Hawkins Field to win the series opener 5-4.
The Tigers (18-15, 6-7) rallied for two runs in the eighth inning to close the Commodores’ (15-19, 5-8) lead to a single run before freshman right-hander Brian Miller entered with two outs and runners on first and second. Miller struck out pinch hitter Patrick Savage to end the threat in the eighth and worked around a two-out single in the ninth to give Vanderbilt their second Friday night win of the season.
Vandy took the lead in the fourth inning on Jack Lupo’s RBI-single through the ride side but Auburn countered with two runs in the fifth to seize the lead. The Commodores answered in the sixth with three runs. A leadoff single from Anthony Gomez followed by a walk to Conrad Gregor put two runners aboard. Riley Reynolds’ sacrifice bunt put the runners in scoring position for Spencer Navin, who delivered a two-run single into the right-center field gap. One batter later, Lupo came through again with a single to score Navin and a 4-2 VU lead. Mike Yastrzemski’s single in the seventh scored John Norwood for a much-needed insurance run.
Navin led the Dores going 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBI. The sophomore has now reached base in 14 straight games. Lupo added a pair of RBI-single to extend his hitting streak to seven games. Vandy’s offense collected more walks (5) than strikeouts (4) in the win. Dan Glevenyak led the Tigers with two hits and two RBI.
Will Clinard (4-1) earned his team-best fourth win working three innings out of the bullpen. The right-hander allowed two runs on five hits and four walks. Auburn starter Derek Varnadore (1-5) was pinned with the loss, giving up five runs on seven hits over six-plus innings. Miller’s scoreless outing gave him his third save of the season. Sophomore T.J. Pecoraro started his first game of the season and first since undergoing elbow ligament replacement surgery last June. The right-hander allowed two runs on five hits in 4.2 innings, not allowing a run until the fifth.
Vanderbilt hosts Auburn tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. at Hawkins Field. Freshman Tyler Beede (1-3) gets the ball for the home team against Tigers’ right-hander Jon Luke Jacobs (4-0).
Georgia Clinches Ole Miss Series With 6-3 Win
ATHENS, Ga. - Boosted by Curt Powell's two-hit, two-RBI night, Georgia defeated No. 18 Ole Miss, 6-3, at Foley Field on Friday night to claim an SEC series.
The Bulldogs (22-13, 7-7 SEC) took an 2-0 lead in the second when Powell sailed a long double to right field to drive in Peter Verdin and Conor Welton. The Rebels dropped to 23-12 overall, 6-8 in the SEC.
The bottom of the lineup, including Powell, came through for the Bulldogs, as the 6-7-8-9 hitters were a combined 6-for-13 with six runs scored and four RBI.
Georgia pitcher Alex Wood improved to 5-1, after pitching 7.1 innings with seven strikeouts. Also, he picked off his team-leading fourth runner at second base. Wood worked his way out of a jam in the second inning when the Rebels had runners on second and third with one out. Wood struck out Preston Overbey and forced a pop fly by John Gatlin to end the inning and keep Ole MIss scoreless. Bryan Benzor pitched 1.2 innings and recorded his first career save as Rebel pitcher R.J. Hively tallied the loss to fall to 3-3. Hiveley gave up five runs on seven hits in four innings.
Georgia increased its advantage to 5-0 in the fourth, starting with Jared Walsh's first career home run. Welton then stole home as part of a double-steal, with Powell advancing to second. The last Bulldog to steal home was Bryce Massanari at Kentucky in 2009. Powell later crossed home on a Levi Hyams sacrifice fly to center.
Ole Miss put a run on the board in the fifth inning after Gatlin doubled to left field to drive in Overbey. Ole Miss scored again in the eighth inning and brought the score to 5-3 when Wes Allen drove in Auston Bousfield followed by Austin Anderson bringing in Alex Yarbrough.
The Bulldogs sealed the win in the eighth and increased their lead 6-3 when Welton singled to centerfield and drove in Verdin.
“We got a couple of early runs with two outs and nobody on and then were able to stretch it out and that’s a big help for your pitcher,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “Ole Miss did a good job getting the leadoff guy on but credit Alex and the defense for responding and protecting the lead. Alex’s pitch count was a little high by the eighth so we went to (Bryan) Benzor and that was good for him to go more than one inning and get his first save. He hasn’t been in that situation, and he came in and threw strikes and got the job done. I am pleased with how we’ve played these first two games and Saturday is another big day.”
Georgia will conclude its series with Ole Miss on Saturday at 1 p.m. as the Bulldogs will try for their first three-game sweep of an SEC team this year. The Bulldogs did this just once in 2011, sweeping No. 24 Mississippi State in Athens.
Arkansas rallies for dramatic 8-7 win over Kentucky
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Derrick Bleeker hit a go-ahead two-out, three-run triple in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift No. 11 Arkansas to a dramatic 8-7 win over No. 3 Kentucky on Friday night at Baum Stadium.
With the victory, the Razorbacks improve to 25-8 on the season and 8-5 in Southeastern Conference play, while Kentucky drops to 30-5 and 9-4 in league play.
Due to expected inclement weather on Sunday, Arkansas and Kentucky will wrap up the series with a Saturday doubleheader with each game scheduled for nine innings. First pitch for the first game is set for 2:05 p.m. with game two to follow 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one. The first game of the doubleheader will be televised by CST. Only Saturday season and single-game tickets will be accepted for the doubleheader. Fans with single-game tickets for Sunday’s game can exchange those for a general admission ticket for Saturday’s game or for a reserved ticket for any remaining 2012 home game, based on availability. Arkansas will start Barrett Astin (2-2, 0.84) in the first game of the doubleheader and DJ Baxendale (6-1, 4.20) in the second game, while Kentucky will counter with Jerad Grundy (3-1, 4.32) in the opener and Corey Littrell (5-0, 2.02) in the nightcap.
With Kentucky leading 7-5 in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Razorbacks put together a three-run rally to take the lead. Jacob Morris was hit by a pitch to begin the inning and then moved to second on a single to center by Tim Carver. A sacrifice bunt by Joe Serrano advanced the runners to second and third. After a strikeout of Dominic Ficociello for the second out of the inning, Matt Reynolds was intentionally walked to load the bases. Bleeker then hit a sinking liner to center. Kentucky center fielder Austin Cousino attempted to make a diving catch, but the ball got past him and rolled all the way to the wall. All three runners scored on the play and Bleeker attempted to stretch the triple into an inside the park homer, but he was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
Cade Lynch would sit Kentucky down in order in both the eighth and ninth innings to preserve the 8-7 Arkansas victory.
Carver was outstanding at the plate for Arkansas in the win, going a perfect 4-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored. The four hits set a new career high for the senior infielder. Along with his exploits at the plate, Carver also made a great sliding catch in foul territory in the seventh inning. Cameron Flynn hit a pop up into foul territory along the left field line. Carver raced from his shortstop position and made a sliding catch next to the tarp for the out.
Bleeker had a game-high three RBI, all coming on the seventh-inning triple. Ficociello went 1-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored, while Reynolds also had a RBI.
Thomas McCarthy had three hits and a pair of RBI to lead the Wildcats offensively. Cousino went 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored, while A.J. Reed also drove in two runs. Matt Reida added a pair of hits and scored two runs.
Lynch (1-1) was fantastic out of the Arkansas bullpen to earn his first win of the season. The junior lefty tossed a season-high 5.2 innings, allowing just one run on three hits and striking out four.
Kentucky reliever Alex Phillips (5-1) took the loss after giving up three runs on two hits in two innings of work.
Neither starter factored into the decision. Arkansas starter Ryne Stanek gave up six runs, five earned, on eight hits with six strikeouts in 3.1 innings. Kentucky starter Taylor Rogers allowed five runs on seven hits in four innings.
The Razorbacks struck first with a run in the bottom of the first. Carver led off the inning with a double and then advanced to third after a ground out to second by Jacob Mahan. A groundout to short stop by Ficociello scored Carver for the game’s first run.
Kentucky took its first lead of the game with two runs in the top of the third. Reida led off the inning with a single to center field. After a strikeout of Cousino for the first out of the inning, McCarthy doubled to the gap in left-center field to put runners on second and third. Reed then grounded a single to center field to score both runs to give the Wildcats the lead.
Arkansas regained the lead with three runs in the bottom of the third. Morris began the inning with a double to left and came in to score on an opposite field single to right by Carver. With one out, Ficociello lined a triple just inside the right field line to score Carver from first and put the Razorbacks in front 3-2. A ground out to short by Reynolds scored Carver from third.
The Wildcats responded with four run top of the fourth. Zac Zellers drew a leadoff walk. With one out, Michael Williams and Reida hit back-to-back singles to load the bases. Cousino then doubled off the right field wall to score Zellers and Williams and tie the game at four. A passed ball allowed Reida to score and advanced Cousino to third. McCarthy then hit a sacrifice fly to left to bring home Cousino for the fourth run of the inning.
Arkansas trimmed the lead to one with a run in the home half of the fourth. Brian Anderson reached on an infield single with one out and then advanced to second on a single to center by Jake Wise. After a fly out to left by Morris, Carver came through with a two-out single to left-center to score Anderson from second base.
Kentucky stretched the lead back to two with a run in the top of the sixth. With one out, Cousino reached on a bunt single to first and scored all the way from first on a double to center field by McCarthy.
No. 3 LSU Defeats Alabama, 10-2, in SEC Series Opener
BATON ROUGE, La. – Sophomore Kevin Gausman worked eight innings to earn his sixth win of the year Friday night, and No. 3 LSU erupted for six runs in the fourth inning to break open a close game as the Tigers posted a 10-2 win over Alabama in Alex Box Stadium.
LSU, which won for the 11th time in 12 games, improved to 28-7 overall and 9-4 in the SEC. The Tigers are tied with Kentucky for first place in the overall SEC race.
Alabama fell to 13-21 overall and 4-9 in the league with Friday’s loss.
The teams resume the series at 6:30 p.m. CT Saturday as sophomore right-hander Ryan Eades will start on the mound for LSU. Alabama will counter with freshman left-hander Justin Kamplain.
Saturday’s game will be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network, and it will be televised by Cox Sports Television. Live video, audio and stats will be available at www.LSUsports.net.
Gausman (6-1) limited Alabama to two runs on six hits in eight innings Friday night with two walks and seven strikeouts. The Tigers’ collected nine hits, including a three-run homer by rightfielder Mason Katz in the first inning and a grand slam by shortstop Austin Nola in the fourth.
Alabama starter Trey Pilkington (1-3) was charged with the loss as he allowed eight runs on five hits in 3.2 innings with three walks and two strikeouts.
“I thought we played very well in all phases of the game tonight,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “I had a feeling at practice yesterday that we would play well tonight, but we have to continue this momentum throughout the weekend. Kevin Gausman got off to a slow start, but he was tremendous near the end of his outing. He threw his best pitches over the last couple of innings he was on the mound. We got the big hits from Katz and Nola, and again we played great defense with an errorless night.”
Alabama broke out on top in the first inning when centefielder Taylor Dugas tripled and scored on catcher Brett Booth’s single.
LSU responded, however, in the bottom of the first when Katz launched a three-run homer, his seventh dinger of the year.
The Crimson Tide narrowed the gap to 3-2 in the third on shortstop Jared Reaves’ RBI single, but the Tigers scored a run in the bottom of the frame when Katz walked, stole second base and scored on designated hitter Raph Rhymes’ single.
The Tigers exploded for six runs in the fourth as the uprising was highlighted by Nola’s grand slam, his first homer of the season and the second grand slam of his career. The inning also featured an RBI single by centefielder Arby Fields and a bases-loaded walk to Rhymes.
LSU left-hander Chris Cotton relieved Gausman to start the ninth inning and retired the side in order, recording a strikeout to end the game.