THIRD-RANKED LSU COMPLETES SWEEP OF ALABAMA WITH 5-1 VICTORY
|LSU 5, Alabama 1
|South Carolina 6, Mississippi State 4
|Florida 8, Tennessee 1
|Vanderbilt 11, Auburn 2
WATCH GAME HIGHLIGHTS HERE
BATON ROUGE, La. – Freshman right-hander Aaron Nola allowed just one run on three hits in five innings Sunday as third-ranked LSU completed a three-game sweep of Alabama with a 5-1 victory in Alex Box Stadium.
LSU, which won for the 13th time in 14 games, improved to 30-7 overall and 11-4 in the SEC. The Tigers are tied with Kentucky for first place in the Southeastern Conference standings, and LSU has a three-game lead in the SEC Western Division race.
Alabama dropped to 13-23 overall and 4-11 in the SEC with Sunday’s loss.
Nola limited Alabama to one run on three hits as he fired 64 pitches in five innings, recording no walks and five strikeouts.
“Aaron Nola is a special pitcher with a lot of ability, and the future is so bright for that young man,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “You feel so confident as a coach with him on the mound, and he delivered another excellent outing for us today.”
Nola allowed a first-inning solo homer to Alabama shortstop Jared Reaves, but the Tigers answered in the bottom of the frame when Nola’s older brother, shortstop Austin Nola, lined a two-out run-scoring single to tie the game at 1-1.
The Tigers expanded the lead to 4-1 in the second inning as second baseman JaCoby Jones belted an RBI double, and centerfielder Arby Fields lined a two-run double to highlight the rally.
“Arby Fields has been an amazing story for us,” Mainieri said. “He struggled at times in the fall and in the early portion of this season, but his work ethic has been incredible and he’s earned the success he’s enjoying now. It’s great for him personally, and it’s also great for our team because he’s played such a vital role for us.”
Fields is hitting .455 (10-for-22) in his last six games with one double, one triple, six RBI, seven runs, two steals and a .480 on-base percentage.
LSU added a run in the seventh when Jones singled, stole second base, moved to third on a Fields groundout and scored a on passed ball.
Alabama starter Jon Keller (1-3) was charged with the loss as he surrendered four runs on six hits in five innings with two walks and one strikeout.
“We’re still only halfway through the SEC schedule,” Mainieri said, “so we there are a lot of very tough games ahead of us. But, we are pleased to be in this position, and I feel like the team has been rounding into shape. I thought we really played well in all facets of the game this weekend, and we’re looking forward to the second half of league play.”
Gamecocks Complete First SEC Sweep with 6-4 Win Over Mississippi State
Columbia, S.C. – Junior right-hander Colby Holmes worked a season-high 8.1 innings and five different Gamecocks drove in at least one run as ninth ranked South Carolina defeated Mississippi State 6-4 on Sunday afternoon in front of 7,011 fans at Carolina Stadium to sweep a three-game SEC baseball series. The Gamecocks have won three consecutive conference series and are 27-10 and 8-7 in the SEC. Mississippi State is now 21-15 and 5-10 in league play. This marked Carolina’s first weekend sweep in SEC play.
After two runs from Mississippi State in the top of the fifth inning gave the Bulldogs a one-run cushion, the Gamecocks were quick to answer back in their half of the frame as freshman Tanner English led off with a single to left field. Evan Marzilli delivered his second hit of the day to put runners on the corners for Walker. Mississippi State starter Evan Mitchell would issue a free pass to Christian Walker to load the bases for Dantzler. Mississippi State made the call to the bullpen at that point, bringing in left-hander Jacob Lindgren. LB Dantzler tied the game with an RBI fielder’s choice to third, which resulted in all runners reaching safely, bringing Brison Celek to the plate. The sophomore from Charleston, S.C. delivered an RBI sacrifice fly to right to put the Gamecocks on top. Adam Matthews would finish off the scoring in the Carolina fifth with an RBI infield single, scoring Walker, giving the Gamecocks a 4-2 lead.
Holmes continued his solid work, holding the Bulldogs to just their two runs on 100 pitches, through eight innings. The Gamecock bats put together a rally in the bottom of the eighth to score some insurance runs, with substitute catcher Grayson Greiner leading off the inning with a double. Second baseman Chase Vergason worked a walk to follow and the two runners were advanced by a sacrifice bunt off the bat of English. Joey Pankake broke the game open with a two-run single that extended the Gamecock lead to four.
Holmes returned to the slab for the ninth to try and close out the Bulldogs. After giving up two hits to start the ninth, Holmes battled back to strike out first baseman Wes Rea. Slauter got one back for Mississippi State, however, with an infield single that scored Daryl Norris. Holmes’ day would end there, marking his longest outing of the season. The bases were loaded after a walk was issued by the new pitcher, Hunter Privette. The Gamecocks would then turn to their bullpen once more to try and end the Mississippi State attack. Junior left-hander Tyler Webb would shut the door on the Bulldogs, giving up a RBI groundout and a flyout to end the game.
Holmes allowed four runs on eight hits while walking none and striking out three batters. He is 5-0 for the year. Mitchell suffered the loss and is 1-1 this season. He allowed four runs, two earned, on five hits in 4.1 innings with three walks and three strikeouts. Webb’s final two outs of the game earned him his second save of the year.
South Carolina reached double digits with hits finishing with 11 on the day. Marzilli was 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Vergason tied a season-high with two hits. Pankake went 2-for-5 with two RBI and Matthews tallied two hits and a RBI as well. C.T. Bradford, Mitch Slauter and Hunter Renfroe collected two hits apiece leading the Bulldogs at the plate.
The Gamecocks made some offensive noise in the first, as junior Evan Marzilli drew a one-out walk. The centerfielder advanced to second on the first pitch to fellow junior Christian Walker with his seventh stolen base on the year. Walker hit a hard chopper to third, which was thrown wildly to first, allowing Marzilli to take third and put runners on the corners. LB Dantzler would follow by working a walk to load the bases, but the Gamecock bats were held at bay by sophomore pitcher Evan Mitchell and the game was scoreless after the first.
Both pitchers made quick work of the opposition in the second, but Marzilli got the Garnet and Black going in the bottom of the third with a leadoff triple off of the center field wall. Carolina marked the board first as Walker followed with an RBI groundout to second to put the Gamecocks up 1-0.
Mississippi State finally logged their first hit of the game in the top of the fourth as C.T. Bradford knocked an infield single to the left side. The base hit broke up pitcher Colby Holmes’s streak of ten straight retired batters to begin the game.
The Bulldogs got on the board in the top of the fifth with back-to-back one-out hits from Mitch Slauter and Hunter Renfroe to put runners on second and third. Tyler Fullerton stepped to the plate and dribbled a ball in front of the plate that Holmes tried to field and flip to Rosenberg to nab Slauter who was coming home.
Holmes’s flip to the plate was not in time and the Bulldogs tied the game. Second baseman Sam Frost put the visitors on top with an RBI fielder’s choice to the pitcher, and the Bulldogs took a 2-1 lead to the bottom of the fifth.
No. 4 Florida Takes Series At Tennessee, 8-1
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – No. 4 Florida (28-8/9-6 SEC) used a four-run first inning and scored in the first four frames to take the rubber game of its series at Tennessee (21-15/7-8 SEC), 8-1, on Sunday afternoon in front of 3,322 fans at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Junior left-hander Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) (5-1) tossed six scoreless innings and helped his own cause with a three-run double in the first inning that set the tone for the afternoon.
After claiming the series on its last trip to Rocky Top in 2010, it marked the first time since 1998-2000-2002 that the Gators had emerged victorious in consecutive visits to Knoxville. At the halfway point of the SEC schedule, Florida trails co-leaders No. 2 Kentucky (32-5/11-4 SEC) and No. 7 LSU (30-7/11-4 SEC) by two games.
The Gators raced out to a 4-0 lead in their initial at bat on a bases-clearing double by Johnson (1-for-3) and a sacrifice fly by freshman Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.). Junior Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) (2-for-4) opened the game with a single into right center field off of sophomore Nick Williams (2-4) and junior Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) (1-for-3, two runs) was hit by a pitch for the second-straight plate appearance in the series. A base-hit into right field by senior Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) (2-for-4) loaded the bases with one down and Johnson drove in all of his teammates with a two-bagger down the right-field line and took third on the relay throw home. Shafer’s fifth sac fly of the year into left field scored Johnson.
Junior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) (2-for-4, two runs) opened the second with a homer into the left-field seats to give Florida a 5-0 lead. It was his fourth round-tripper of the season and first since March 31 at Ole Miss. Fontana followed with a walk to end the afternoon for Williams (1.1 IP, 4 H, 5 R). Sophomore Carter Watson had freshman Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) hit into an inning-ending 6-3 double play.
UF plated another run in the third on a two-out error to build a 6-0 advantage. Zunino and Tucker started the inning with back-to-back singles before Johnson grounded into a 4-6-3 double play that erased Tucker and moved Zunino to third base. Junior third baseman Zach Luther misplayed a ball hit by Shafer that enabled Zunino to come across.
The Gators tacked on two more runs on three hits in the fourth to boost their margin to 8-0. Senior Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) began the frame with his seventh double of the year into left field and Ramjit followed with a base-hit up the middle. Junior Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) delivered an RBI single through the left side to drive in Pigott, the runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch by Watson and Turgeon lofted a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Ramjit.
Senior Zach Osborne opened the Vols’ fifth into left field and Johnson started a 1-6-3 double play on a ball hit by freshman Will Maddox. Soon after, Dent made a great defensive play on Luther’s grounder to complete the inning.
Johnson departed after six strong innings in which he scattered six hits, with four strikeouts and a walk, and senior Greg Larson (Longwood, Fla.) kept Tennessee off the board in the seventh. Larson’s 104th career appearance moved him past Josh Fogg (1996-98) for fourth on the school’s all-time list.
Sophomore Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.) entered the game for Florida in the eighth and had Luther ground out before issuing a walk to junior Drew Steckenrider (2-for-3). Freshman Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) plunked senior Davis Morgan for a pair of runners aboard and had a groundout by junior Chris Fritts push both Vols into scoring position. Freshman Bobby Poyner (Wellington, Fla.) had freshman pinch hitter Jared Allen ground out to strand the runners.
Commodores cruise by Tigers, win series
Nashville, Tenn. – Vanderbilt scored a single-season SEC-best 11 runs, four Vanderbilt players registered multiple hits, and Commodore starter Kevin Ziomek pitched six-plus strong innings in route to a series-clinching 11-2 win over Auburn Sunday afternoon at Hawkins Field.
The Commodores move to 17-21 on the season and 6-9 in league play in their second SEC series win of the season, while Auburn falls to 20-17, 7-8 in SEC competition.
Ziomek, making his first Sunday start of the season, looked right at home, going six and two-thirds, giving up two runs, only one of them earned, striking out seven and walking four in 103 total pitches. Freshman Philip Pfeifer cleaned up the Commodore win, pitching the rest of the way by allowing only two hits and no runs.
The Commodores’ top four players in the lineup accounted for seven hits and six RBI, with left fielder Tony Kemp and second baseman Anthony Gomez leading the way with three hits apiece. Kemp had a triple and two singles and scored two runs, while Gomez added a double and two singles while also scoring two runs.
Center fielder Jack Lupo also had a multiple hit day with two hits, as did shortstop Joel McKeithan. For the game, all nine Commodore starters reached base and eight of nine had a base hit.
The Commodores got on the board first and made the score 1-0 when VU designated hitter Chris Harvey began the second inning with a double off of the green monster in left and then advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Jack Lupo. With one out, third baseman Vince Conde lifted a fly ball into the limited Hawkins Field right field foul territory that was caught by Tiger rightfielder Jay Gonzalez, but was deep enough to score Harvey from third.
A Joel McKeithan walk and then a single by Tony Kemp later in the second put runners on the corners with two outs, and Anthony Gomez added two more runs for the Commodores with a towering double off of the top of the green monster in left to make the score 3-0. Vanderbilt’s three-run second inning came on three hits.
The Commodores added to their total in the third with another run. Mike Yastrzemski raked a triple to right-center field to begin the inning that chased starter Daniel Koger from the game, and Spencer Navin drove home Yastrzemski with a hard-hit single to centerfield.
The Tigers tallied an unearned run in the fourth to make the score 4-1 after Garrett Cooper scored on a two-out Creede Simpson single to left. Earlier in the inning, VU shortstop Joel McKeithan bobbled a double-play ground ball from Cooper.
An infield single by McKeithan began another rally for Vanderbilt in the fourth, with Kemp driving in the Commodore shortstop with a laser-beam triple to right-center to make the score 5-1. On the next pitch, Gomez knocked in Kemp with an RBI single to push the VU lead to 6-1, and then Gomez, who advanced to second on a walk to Conrad Gregor, scored from second base on a fielder’s choice by Yastrzemski to cap the Vanderbilt inning, giving the Commodores a 7-1 lead.
The Commodores scored their eighth run of the game in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI single by McKeithan, his second hit of the day, which drove in Jack Lupo, who doubled down the left field line to begin the inning.
Gomez scored Vanderbilt’s ninth run after reaching base in the sixth inning on his third base hit of the game on a Yastrzemski sacrifice fly that was caught at the wall by Tiger rightfielder Jay Gonzalez. Lupo put VU in double figures with a single that drove in Gregor, and Vince Conde made the score 11-1 after driving in Chris Harvey.
Auburn added their second run in the top of the seventh on a bases-loaded walk to Ray Tella, which advanced Dillon Ortman across the plate.