Commodores rally late, stun Tide
|Vanderbilt 9, Alabama 7
|South Carolina 11, Auburn 7
|Kentucky 7, LSU 6
|Florida 6, Georgia 3
|Arkansas 11, Ole Miss 3
Tuscaloosa, Ala. – Vanderbilt erased a five-run deficit, rallying for seven runs over the final two innings to stun Alabama and win 9-7 Sunday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
Alabama (16-26, 6-12) built a 7-2 advantage through seven innings scoring three runs in the third, three more in the fourth and tacking on a single run in the sixth. The Commodores (18-22, 7-11) started the comeback in the eighth inning with five runs, sending nine men to the plate. Anthony Gomez’s leadoff triple ignited the rally. Conrad Gregor immediately drove in Gomez with a single to right field. An error on the Crimson Tide second baseman put runners on first and second before the Tide picked up a pair of outs. Vince Conde drew a two-out walk to load the bases for pinch hitter Chris Harvey. The freshman delivered in a big way, doubling into the gap in left-center field to clear the bases and bring VU within a run. Tony Kemp’s double down the left field line knocked in Andrew Harris, who pinch ran for Harvey, to tie the game and cap the five-run rally.
In the ninth with two outs, the Dores took their first lead of the day when Connor Harrell bounced a single over the third baseman’s head to score Grego, who had reached on his third hit of the day. Conde followed with a single through the right side to put Vandy up 9-7 heading to the bottom of the ninth. The Tide made the ninth exciting getting two runners aboard before Drew VerHagen ended the game by getting Taylor Dugas to hit into a double play.
VerHagen (4-2) earned the win in relief working 1.1 scoreless innings. Jake Hubbard (2-2) took the loss giving up two runs in 1.1 innings. Vanderbilt starter Kevin Ziomek gave up six runs, five earned, on eight hits over 3.2 innings. Reliever Brian Miller pitched four solid innings out of the bullpen allowing one run on four hits. Alabama starter Jon Keller gave up two runs on three hits and five walks over six innings.
Gregor led the way for Vanderbilt going 3-for-4 with three runs scored and his first home run of the season, a solo shot in the sixth. Conde knocked in two runs and Gomez extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a pair of hits. Ben Moore led Alabama with four hits.
The win was Head Coach Tim Corbin’s 500th of his career and 394th as the Commodores’ skipper.
GAMECOCKS SWEEP AUBURN WITH 11-7 VICTORY IN SERIES FINALE
Auburn, Ala. –Eighth ranked South Carolina broke ahead by six runs in the first three innings and behind an 11-hit attack that featured home runs from LB Dantzler and Erik Payne, the Gamecocks would defeat Auburn 11-7 to sweep a three-game SEC baseball series at Plainsman Park. The Gamecocks improve to 30-11 and 11-7 in the SEC while the loss drops Auburn to 21-19 and 7-11 in league play. South Carolina has won four consecutive conference series as well as eight straight SEC contests.
Junior right-hander Colby Holmes earned the win and is now 6-0 on the year. He allowed four runs on nine hits and tied a career-high with seven strikeouts in five innings of work. Auburn freshman left-hander Daniel Koger suffered the loss and is 2-4 for the year. He allowed eight runs, three earned, on five hits in 4.1 innings. He walked three and struck out two.
Carolina’s 11-hit day featured a 4-for-5 day from Tanner English as the Gamecock freshman outfielder set a season-high. Dantzler was 3-for-5 with three runs scored and a pair of RBI. Payne drove in a career-high four RBI as well. Auburn tallied 16 hits with designated hitter Kody Ortman 4-for-5 with three RBI. Ryan Tella, Garrett Cooper, Cullen Wacker, Jay Gonzalez and Blake Austin all had two hits apiece as well for the Tigers.
For the second time in the series, the Gamecocks broke ahead 4-0 in the top of the first inning. Carolina was able to take advantage of two errors by the Auburn infield to break ahead by four runs. Joey Pankake drew a leadoff walk on a nine-pitch at bat to open the game. With one out, Christian Walker would reach base as his grounder to the left side went through the legs of Auburn third baseman Justin Bryant. With runners on first and second base, the Tigers would commit their second error as Grayson Greiner reached base on a throwing error by Auburn shortstop Dan Glevenyak, scoring Pankake from second base in the process. With two outs, designated hitter Erik Payne came through as he launched a three-run homer to right field. The home run was Payne’s third of the season.
South Carolina manufactured a run to go ahead 5-0 in the second inning. Tanner English reached base on an infield single as he beat out a throw by Glevenyak. A base hit to left field by Chase Vergason gave the Gamecocks runners on first and second with no outs. After Pankake sacrificed the runners over, English would score on Evan Marzilli’s sacrifice fly to left field.
The lead extended to 6-0 in the third inning as the Gamecocks scored another unearned run off the Tigers. With two outs and runners on first and second base, English hit a grounder to Bryant at third base. Bryant’s throw sailed wide of first base and as AU first baseman Garrett Cooper tried to tag English, the ball popped out of his glove and flew towards second base allowing LB Dantzler to score all the way from second.
Auburn scored a run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Bryant reached base with a leadoff single and advanced to third on Kody Ortman’s base hit. With one out, Jay Gonzalez knocked a RBI base hit into left field scoring Bryant. The Tigers would try to score more as they loaded the bases with two outs. Holmes worked out of the jam as he induced Ryan Tella into a groundout to Walker at first base, keeping the Gamecocks ahead by five runs.
South Carolina answered in the top of the fifth inning with a pair of runs to go ahead 8-1 and knocked Koger from the game in the process. Greiner drew a leadoff walk and after a wild pitch moved him to second base, he would reach third on a bloop single by Dantzler. Evan Marzilli drove Greiner in with a sac fly to left field. With runners on first and second base, English greeted Auburn reliever Slade Smith with a RBI base hit up the middle to score Dantzler.
The Tigers struck with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning to tally three runs and cut Carolina’s lead to 8-4. Kody Ortman drove in a run with a double to left field that was followed by a two-run homer to left-center by Simpson, his first homer of the year.
A solo home run by LB Dantzler, his second of the series and seventh of the season gave the Gamecocks a five-run cushion in the top of the seventh inning. Dantzler’s homer cleared the wall in right field and ties him with Christian Walker for the team lead in home runs.
Two more runs in the eighth inning would increase Carolina’s lead to seven runs. Pankake doubled and Marzilli walked to start the frame. Greiner would drive in Pankake with a RBI groundout. Dantzler tallied his second RBI of the game, a double off the wall in right-center, scoring Marzilli and increasing the lead to 11-4.
Auburn didn’t waver though and mounted a rally in the ninth inning with five hits and a walk including a two-run single by Ortman and a RBI base hit by Jay Gonzalez. With the bases loaded and one out, junior right-hander Matt Price closed the game out as pinch hitter Patrick Savage struck out looking followed by a strikeout of Glevenyak that ended the game and preserved the Gamecock sweep.
NO. 2 UK BASEBALL EDGES NO. 1 LSU, 7-6 TO CLAIM SERIES
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Freshman Austin Cousino collected a team-best three hits and Zac Zellers launched his fifth homer of the year to lead No. 2 Kentucky to a series-clinching 7-6 win in the rubber match over No. 1 LSU, in front of 3,086 fans on an overcast Sunday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (35-6, 13-5 Southeastern Conference) won its sixth consecutive conference weekend to open the league slate. The Wildcats lead the SEC through six weekends, own the nation’s best record and have opened up the 2012 season off with the best start in the over 100-year history of the program.
UK’s series win over top-ranked LSU was the first series win over a No. 1 ranked team in the modern history of the program. UK’s 35 wins to open the year in its first 41 games is tied for the sixth-most in UK single-season history. During the weekend, UK welcomed a school-record 9,496 over three games, eclipsing the previous record of 8,238 fans during a three-game weekend series with Florida in 2008.
Kentucky improves to 12-3 in one-run games in 2012 with the win, with the Wildcats also boasting a 1-0 mark in two-run games. UK now sports a 10-5 record against top-25 foes in 2012, with only one loss on the year coming to a team not ranked in the top 20.
The Wildcats edged LSU in the colossal matchup that served as the nation’s premier series of the weekend, with the two teams ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in one poll and sitting in a two-way tie atop the SEC standings. After LSU won the opening game 5-4 – UK’s fourth series-opening loss in its last five – the Wildcats responded with a resounding 8-1 win to even the series on Saturday. After LSU opened the scoring with a run in the second, UK took the lead with a three-run inning in the third. LSU evened the game with two runs in the fourth before UK regained the lead with a run in the bottom of the frame. LSU took a lead with two runs in the sixth to chase starter Corey Littrell, before UK pounded out four doubles in a three-run sixth inning for the game-winning rally, holding on for a 7-6 win.
UK had its third consecutive double-digit hitting performance on the weekend, totaling 11 hits against a LSU team that entered the series ranked second in the league with a 2.96 ERA, riding a blistering eight-game winning streak before UK’s wins in the second and third games of the set. The Wildcats were led by a three-hit game by Cousino, who launched his SEC-leading 17th double of the year and stole a pair of bases. Zellers hit his fifth homer of 2012, with UK getting hits from eight of its nine starters. A.J. Reed totaled a two-RBI double, with UK also getting hits from Thomas McCarthy, Luke Maile, Cameron Flynn, J.T. Riddle and Matt Reida.
Littrell was denied his fifth consecutive rubber-match win, as he took a no-decision after exiting in the sixth. The Louisville, Ky., native worked 5.2 innings, allowing eight hits and five runs, walking two and striking out four. UK used standout right-hander Tim Peterson to set up the save, with 1.1 shutout innings, before senior Alex Phillips hurled a six-out save, his fourth of the year. Overall, the UK bullpen has worked 22.2 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run.
LSU (32-9, 12-6 SEC) starter Aaron Nola worked five innings, allowing seven hits and four runs, striking out seven without allowing a walk. Joey Bourgeois (1-2) suffered the loss with two runs allowed and getting one out. Chris Cotton allowed two hits and one run, before LSU got solid relief outings from Nick Rumbelow and Kurt McCune.
UK will return to action with a midweek game at No. 22 Louisville, slated for Tuesday at Jim Patterson Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Network, with Neil Price calling the action. Fans in Lexington can hear the game live on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
After a 1-2-3 inning to start the game for Littrell, LSU got on the board in the top of the second with a lead-off home run from Raph Rhymes. Austin Nola walked for the Tigers, moving to second on a sacrifice bunt and to third with two outs on a ground ball to the right side. Austin attempted to swipe home after a pitch in the dirt but Maile recovered and tagged Austin out at the plate. LSU left the top half of the inning up 1-0.
Kentucky battled back, sparked by a two-out rally in the bottom of the third. Cousino reached base first for the Wildcats with a two-out single through the right side. McCarthy doubled down the leftfield line to leave runners on second and third with two outs. Reed stepped up for the Wildcats, drilling a two-RBI double to left center, his first hit of the series. Maile kept the rally going with a single up the middle, scoring Reed and increasing the Wildcats’ lead to 3-1.
With a leadoff single from Hanover, LSU responded in the top of the fourth. Katz singled through the left side before the baserunners would advance to second and third on a passed ball. Rhymes knocked in his second RBI of the game with a single up the middle that would score Hanover. With runners on first and third, Katz scored on a 6-4-3 double play, tying the ball game at three through three and a half.
Zellers responded for Kentucky, drilling the first pitch of the bottom half of the fourth over the leftfield fence. The solo shot gave Kentucky a 4-3 lead through four innings.
Hanover led off LSU in the top of the sixth with single before being gunned at second by Maile on an attempted steal of second. Katz got the Tigers going again with a single to left field. Katz advanced to second on a wild pitch before scoring on a double down the leftfield line from Rhymes. With two outs, Austin singled up the middle, scoring Rhymes and recapturing the lead for LSU at 5-4.
Zellers led off the bottom of the sixth with a double down the rightfield line. Riddle matched Zellers with a double to right center, scoring Zellers. With two outs and the lefty specialist Cotton on in relief, Reida drilled a double down the first-base line, scoring Riddle and retaking the lead at 6-5. Cousino kept it going for the Wildcats, hitting Kentucky’s fourth double of the inning and scoring Reida to build the lead to 7-5.
LSU attempted a comeback in the top of the eighth as Katz got it started with a single to leftfield. Rhymes followed up with his fourth hit of the day, a single through the left side. Austin reached on an error, scoring Katz and leaving runners on first and second. After one unearned run, Phillips worked his way out of the inning with a 4-6-3 double play. Kentucky held onto a run-one lead heading into the bottom of the eighth.
Pigott’s Three-Run Homer Lifts No. 1 Florida To Series Win Over Georgia, 6-3
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Senior Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) cranked a three-run homer in the sixth inning that snapped a 3-3 tie and propelled No. 1 Florida (31-9/11-7 SEC) to a 6-3 victory over Georgia (24-17/8-10 SEC) in the deciding game of the Eastern Division rivals’ series on Sunday afternoon at McKethan Stadium.
Pigott (3-for-3) matched his career best by driving in four runs as the Gators claimed the regular-season series against the Bulldogs for the sixth-consecutive year. Junior Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) was 2-for-4 with his team-leading 11th homer, sophomore Karsten Whitson (Chipley, Fla.) (2-0) picked up the win in relief and junior Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) had a perfect ninth to secure his 11th save in 11 opportunities this season.
“I thought it was another one of those days where the whole team contributed,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “I thought that we got a really good start out of Hudson Randall; it was great to see him back on the mound. I thought, for the most part, all of the relievers came in and did a really, really nice job. It was nice to get Karsten [Whitson] out there again. Steven [Rodriguez] and Austin [Maddox] did a great job there at the end for the last five outs or so and I thought our hitters did a nice job. We didn’t strike out the entire game, and put the ball in play. I have to commend Georgia. They played outstanding defense all weekend long. It was a good SEC series.”
“All of these wins are important. We’re still two games back from Kentucky for the SEC lead. South Carolina continues to win so they’re tied with us in second place, and we are actually one game back from LSU. So, there are four of us within two games of the lead. The wins are all important, but it gives us momentum going into Tuesday night.”
Senior Peter Verdin opened the game with a single into right center off junior Hudson Randall (Atlanta, Ga.) and the right-hander retired the next two hitters on fly-outs before Verdin stole second base. Randall had junior Brett DeLoach fly out to left field to strand the runner.
Junior Kevin Ruiz drew a one-out walk in the second inning, the first of the series issued by the Gator pitching staff, and stole second base. Randall answered by having senior Colby May fly out and then struck out sophomore Brandon Stephens.
Zunino broke the ice with a solo shot to start the home part of the frame, belting freshman Luke Crumley’s first pitch into the left-field bleachers.
Georgia had runners on the corners in the third with one down but came away empty-handed. Verdin was hit by a pitch and went to third on a one-out single into left field on a hit-and-run by sophomore Conor Welton. Randall worked out of the jam by having junior Kyle Farmer hit into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.
The Bulldogs seized a 2-1 lead in the fourth on RBI doubles by senior Levi Hyams and May. DeLoach begin the inning with a two-bagger into left field, prompting a pitching change. Sophomore Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.) took over for Randall (3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 K) and yielded a game-tying double to Hyams. A grounder by Ruiz advanced Hyams to third and May moved the Bulldogs in front with a double to the fence in right field. Senior Greg Larson (Longwood, Fla.) replaced Gibson (0.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R) and had Stephens fly out to right field before plunking junior Curt Powell. The right-hander prevented further trouble by catching Verdin looking on strikes.
Pigott tied the game in the bottom of the frame with a two-out double into left field. Senior Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) drew a leadoff walk and redshirt freshman Jay Swinford was summoned from the bullpen for Crumley, who gave up one hit, one run and had three free passes in three innings in his first career start. Swinford had Zunino ground into a 6-4-3 double play and junior Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) raised his hitting streak to nine games with a base-hit into right field. Pigott knotted the game at 2-2 with his eighth double of the season to left field.
A two-out single by Stephens in the sixth provided Georgia with a 3-2 advantage. Freshman Justin Bryan ripped a one-out pinch-hit single into left field and went to second on a grounder by May. Stephens blooped a single into center field to bring across his teammate with a run for a 3-2 count. Whitson came in for Larson (2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 K) and yielded a single to Powell before having Verdin ground out.
The Gators erupted for four runs in the home part of the inning, highlighted by a go-ahead three-run homer by Pigott. Freshman Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) greeted junior reliever Bryan Benzor (4-2) with a single to start the frame and Tucker tied the game with a double into the left-field corner that scored Shafer all the way from first base. After Zunino collected his second hit of the afternoon, Johnson laid down a sacrifice bunt to move his teammates into scoring position. Pigott cleared the bags with his fifth big fly of the season, second of the series, to right field that barely eluded the glove of Bryan. Senior Chase Hawkins took over for Benzor (0.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R) and recorded the final two outs of the inning.
Georgia put its first two runners aboard in the seventh, as Welton walked and Farmer legged out an infield hit. A fielder’s choice by DeLoach forced Farmer at second base and left runners on the corners with one down. Rodriguez entered the game for Whitson (0.2 IP, 2 H) and junior shortstop Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) made a leaping grab to rob Hyams of a hit for the second out. Rodriguez induced a grounder by Bryan that sophomore third baseman Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) picked up and threw to second base to force DeLoach for the final out of the frame.
Rodriguez struck out the side in the eighth by setting down freshman pinch hitter Heath Holder, senior pinch hitter Joey Delmonico and Powell. In Florida’s final at bat, Pigott had a one-out single to right center off redshirt freshman Ross Ripple and moved to second base on a wild pitch. After freshman Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) was hit by a pitch, junior Earl Daniels took over on the mound. The righty induced an inning-ending 4-3 double play from junior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) to keep the Bulldogs down by three runs.
Arkansas wins series finale at Ole Miss
OXFORD, Miss. – The Arkansas offense scored 11 runs on a season-high 18 hits as the 17th-ranked Razorbacks defeated No. 22 Ole Miss, 11-3, on Sunday afternoon at Oxford-University Stadium.
Arkansas improves to 28-12 overall and 9-9 in Southeastern Conference play with the win, while Ole Miss drops to 27-13 and 9-9 in league play.
The Razorbacks’ offense had its best day of the season, recording a season-best 18 hits. Each player in the starting lineup had at least one hit with six of the nine starters recording multiple hits in the victory.
Tim Carver, Dominic Ficociello and Jake Wise each had three hits to pace Arkansas offensively. Ficociello drove in four runs, Wise added two RBI and Carver also drove in a run. Bo Bigham, Derrick Bleeker and Jacob Mahan each recorded two hits and a RBI.
Alex Yarbrough had three hits in the loss for Ole Miss. Auston Bousfield, Andrew Mistone and Alex Yarbrough each added two hits for the Rebels.
Cade Lynch (2-1) earned the win on the mound for Arkansas, allowing a run on three hits with four strikeouts in three innings.
Ole Miss starter Sam Smith (2-3) took the loss. Smith gave up five runs on six hits in one-plus inning of work.
Arkansas starter DJ Baxendale received a no decision after giving up a run on six hits and striking out four in 3.2 innings.
The Razorbacks jumped on Smith in the opening inning, scoring four times. With one out, Mahan singled to center field and then scored on a double by Ficociello down the left field line. Reynolds fouled out to the second baseman down the right field line, but Ficociello was able to advance to third on the play. Bates drove home the second run of the inning with a single into right field. Bleeker then sent a 3-2 pitch into the right-center field gap to bring home Bates. A base hit to center field by Bigham scored Bleeker to put Arkansas in front 4-0.
Arkansas tacked on three more runs in the top of the second. Jacob Morris led off the inning with a triple to left field and came in to score on a single to left field by Wise. With one out, Mahan doubled to right field to move Wise to third. Ficociello’s second double to left field scored both Wise and Mahan to make the score 7-0.
Ole Miss got on the board with a run in the bottom of the third. Austin Anderson walked with one out and advanced to third on a single by Yarbrough. Snyder then singled into left-center field to score Anderson for Ole Miss’ first run of the game.
Arkansas got the run back in the top of the fourth. Carver began the inning with a double to left field and then advanced to third on a ground out by Mahan. Ficociello drove in his fourth run of the game with a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Carver from third.
The Razorbacks stretched the lead to 9-1 with a run in the top of the sixth. Wise and Carver began the inning with singles to put runners at first and third. A RBI ground out to second by Mahan scored Wise.
Arkansas scored its final two runs of the game in the top of the seventh. Bleeker and Bigham hit one-out singles to put runners at first and second. With two outs, Wise went the opposite way and singled into right field to score Bleeker. Carver followed with a RBI single to left field to plate Bigham.
Ole Miss scored a run in the bottom of the seventh. The Rebels loaded the bases with nobody out. Snyder grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to score a run, but that’s all that Ole Miss would manage in the seventh.
The Rebels brought home another run in the ninth as Sikes Orvis drove in a run with a single to left field.