No. 2 Florida Edges No. 17 Arkansas, 3-2, To Claim Series Opener
|Florida 3, Arkansas 2
|South Carolina 1, Alabama 0
|South Carolina 12, Alabama 11
|Kentucky 5, Vanderbilt 2
|Auburn 12, Tennessee 5
|Mississippi State 4, Ole Miss 0
|LSU 6, Georgia 5
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – No. 2 Florida (33-10/12-7 SEC) rallied from a 2-0 deficit with a three-run sixth inning and its bullpen worked three scoreless innings in a 3-2 victory over No. 17 Arkansas (29-13/9-10 SEC) on Friday night at McKethan Stadium in the opener of the teams’ weekend series. After being held hitless into the sixth by Razorback sophomore Ryne Stanek (6-3), the Gators tied the game on a two-out, two-run double by freshman Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) and seized the lead on an RBI single by junior Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.).
Making his first Friday start since March 30 at Ole Miss, junior right-hander Hudson Randall (Atlanta, Ga.) (4-1) yielded six hits and two runs over six innings to pick up the win, while the trio of senior Greg Larson (Longwood, Fla.), junior Steven Rodriguez (Miami, Fla.) and Maddox each tossed a scoreless frame. For Maddox, it was his 12th save in 12 opportunities, moving him to within one save of the school’s single-season record shared by Danny Wheeler (1994) and Josh Fogg (1998).
“You have to tip your cap to [Ryne] Stanek,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “He was outstanding and left us hitless through five innings. I wasn’t quite sure when our offense was going to get going, and that had a lot to do with him on the mound. His stuff was really good tonight, but, equally I thought Hudson Randall was really good tonight. He gave us a great start and obviously our bullpen came in and did what they needed to do. We hung in there and battled and that was the most important thing.”
In the second inning, Maddox drew a two-out walk from Stanek and went to second on a wild pitch before senior Jeff Moyer (Winter Springs, Fla.) followed with a free pass. The right-hander ended the inning by having a fielder’s choice by freshman Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) force Moyer at second base.
Sophomore Jake Wise (2-for-3) opened the third with a flare into right center field and went to second on a grounder by redshirt senior Tim Carver. Randall had junior Jacob Mahan ground out, pushing Wise to third, and then plunked sophomore Dominic Ficociello for runners on the corners with two down. Randall had junior Matt Reynolds ground out to third baseman Moyer to complete the frame.
Arkansas seized a 1-0 lead in the fourth on a one-out RBI single by senior Bo Bigham (3-for-4), Senior Sam Bates walked to start the inning and advanced to second on a grounder by junior Derrick Bleeker. Bigham punched a single into left field that brought across Bates with the game’s opening run. Junior catcher Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) gunned down Bigham attempting to steal second base and Randall struck out redshirt sophomore Jacob Morris to end the inning.
Senior Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) was hit by Stanek with one down in the bottom of the inning, his team-leading seventh time hit this season. A wild pitch enabled Pigott to take second base and Turgeon pushed his teammate to third with a grounder. However, Stanek had Maddox ground out to third base to keep the Gators scoreless.
Wise began the fifth with a double to left field and Randall had Carver ground out and Mahan fly out. With Ficociello at the plate, Randall uncorked a wild pitch that scored Wise from second base for a 2-0 lead for the visitors.
Reynolds (2-for-4) had a leadoff single in the sixth and Randall induced a 4-6-3 double play by Bates and fanned Bleeker to close the inning.
The Gators used a two-run, two-out double by Turgeon and an RBI single by Maddox in the home part of the sixth to grab a 3-2 lead. Senior Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) came through with the Gators’ first hit off Stanek with a single to begin the stanza. The righty had Zunino fly out to left field and had a fielder’s choice by Johnson erase Tucker at second base before Pigott singled up the middle for runners on first and third. After Turgeon roped a double into the gap in right center to score both of his teammates and stole third base, Maddox put Florida on top with a base-hit into left field. Junior Cade Lynch replaced Stanek (5.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 3 K) and had an inning-ending pop-up by freshman pinch hitter Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.), who was making his first plate appearance since March 23 at South Carolina.
“Hitting is one of those things I’ve been working on all year,” Maddox said. “I did my best to help this team win. I just had to stay positive. I knew eventually that I would get my chance to hit. I took that chance and did the best I could with it. I’m all about this team and I just want to win.”
Larson came in prior to the seventh for Randall, who gave up six hits and two runs, with three strikeouts and a walk. Bigham greeted the reliever with a single into right field and was sacrificed into scoring position by Morris. Larson struck out Morris and a wild pitch allowed Bigham to reach third base before Larson caught Carver looking on strikes.
After a scoreless seventh by Larson, Rodriguez battled back from a 3-0 count to strike out Mahan to begin the eighth. The southpaw had Ficociello ground out and Reynolds extended the inning with a single through the left side of the infield. Rodriguez struck out Bates to preserve the one-run lead for the Gators.
In the home part of the eighth, junior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) led off with a base-hit up the middle and was moved over on a bunt by Pigott. Turgeon was hit by a pitch from Lynch (1.2 IP, 1 H) and sophomore Colby Suggs was called in from the bullpen. The Gators attempted a double steal but Ramjit was thrown out at third base for the second out. With Turgeon perched at second, Suggs had Maddox ground out.
Maddox took over on the hill in the ninth and Ramjit made a sprawling catch on a foul pop-up by Bleeker for the first out. Maddox had Bigham line out and then had redshirt sophomore pinch hitter Jimmy Bosco fly out to center field to end the game. Arkansas held an 8-5 advantage in hits and neither team committed any errors. Junior Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) (5-2, 4.04) will start tomorrow’s second game of the series at 7 p.m. against a Razorback pitcher to be announced.
Gamecocks Defeat Alabama 1-0 in Series Opener
Columbia, S.C. – Adam Matthews belted a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning as fifth ranked South Carolina defeated Alabama 1-0 on Friday afternoon to complete game one of the series opener vs. the Crimson Tide. Halted after seven innings on Thursday, it only took 18 minutes for the Gamecocks on Friday to earn the win and improve to 31-11 and 12-7 in the SEC. Alabama drops to 17-26 and 6-13 in league play. Game two of the series is set for 7 p.m. ET on Friday and can be heard live on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College including flagship station 107.5 FM, “The Game.” Live video broadcast is available at GamecocksOnline.com
On Thursday evening, the Gamecocks had been held hitless through seven innings of play. Carolina went with junior left-hander Tyler Webb to start Friday’s action in the eighth and he retired all three batters he faced. That set the stage for Matthews, who launched the first pitch he saw from Alabama reliever Jon Keller over the wall in right field for his third home run of the season putting the Gamecocks ahead by a run. Junior right-hander Matt Price worked a perfect ninth inning to earn his fifth save of the year. Webb is now 4-0 on the season with the win while Keller falls to 1-3 for the year.
On Thursday, through the first seven innings, the game belonged all to South Carolina starting pitcher Michael Roth and Alabama starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull. Roth limited the Tide to just four hits in seven innings of work with two strikeouts and three walks. Turnbull hurled seven innings of no-hit ball while walking four and striking out five.
With his appearance in the opener, Matt Price set a school for career appearances with 89 in his career passing the previous mark of 88 set by Rob Mosser (1990-93).
Gamecocks Rally in Ninth Inning to Take Series
Columbia, S.C. – Trailing by a pair of runs entering the bottom of the ninth inning, fifth ranked South Carolina stormed back as five consecutive hitters reached base with one out including a RBI single by Sean Sullivan with the bases loaded that scored Grayson Greiner with the tying run and saw TJ Costen scamper home on a fielding error by Alabama left fielder Hunter Gregory as the Gamecocks rallied for a 12-11 win on Friday evening in front of a sellout crowd of 8,242 fans at Carolina Stadium. South Carolina is now 32-11 and 13-7 in league play with Alabama dropping to 17-27 and 6-14 in the conference. South Carolina has now won five consecutive series in a row in the SEC as well as 10 straight conference games. The series finale is set for Saturday at 1:30 p.m. It can be heard live on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College with live video broadcast also available at GamecocksOnline.com.
With the Gamecocks behind 11-9 entering the bottom of the ninth, Christian Walker got the rally started with a double to the gap in left-center, his fourth time reaching base in the contest. He would score his fourth run of the game on Greiner’s single to left-center that cut the deficit to a run. Costen kept the momentum going as he ripped a double down the left field line that put both runners in scoring position. Alabama elected to intentionally walk LB Dantzler to load the bases and set the stage for Sullivan. The Crimson Tide went to the pen for right-hander Jake Hubbard. On the first pitch he saw, Sullivan connected on Hubbard’s pitch and flared a blooper into left-center that fell for a base hit. On the play, Alabama left fielder Hunter Gregory rushed his fielding attempt and could not come up with the baseball and Costen aggressively charged home with the winning run setting off a celebration on the field and in the stands.
Gamecock left-hander Nolan Belcher earned the win and is now 3-2 on the year. Alabama reliever Jon Keller suffered the loss and is now 1-4 for the season. He allowed three runs, two earned, on three hits in 1.2 innings with one walk and three strikeouts.
"Baseball is a great game and some days it just completely humbles you and will devastate you and other times you just keep playing and get 27 outs and good things can happen,” said South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner. “We get one hit in game one and we win. (Adam) Matthews hit a ball the other way to lead off in the bottom of the eighth and very rarely does a ball go out that way unless there's a lot of wind. There wasn't any wind at the time but he crunched it pretty good and got it out of there and we win a game on one hit. We were staring a no hitter in the face and we end up winning the game, it's just crazy. (In game two), I thought we swung the bats pretty well early although we were behind. They had the four spot and just kept scoring every single one. I said some days you have to win 10-9 or 8-7, let's just keep battling, we haven't done that a whole lot and maybe today's the day. Play with some heightened awareness and let's just keep plugging. It worked out, didn't look like it was going to. We kept battling and good things happened for us."
Alabama broke ahead 4-0 in the first inning. With the bases loaded and one out Austen Smith singled to left field driving in two runners. Josh Rosecrans added a RBI double to right field and an RBI groundout by Brett Booth tacked gave the Crimson Tide a four-run cushion. The Gamecocks responded in the bottom of the first though as after a hit by pitch put Evan Marzilli on base, Christian Walker homered to left-center cutting Alabama’s lead in half. The home run was Walker’s eighth of the season.
Alabama increased their lead to 6-2 in the top of second. A leadoff single from James Tullidge followed by a double from Taylor Dugas put runners on second and third for Hunter Gregory who singled, bringing in both runners.
The Gamecocks responded again with two more runs the bottom half of the inning cutting Alabama’s lead to 6-4. Adam Matthews launched a homer to left-center field, his second solo home run of the day in consecutive plate appearances, his first one coming in the eighth inning of game one, which was completed earlier in the day after being halted on Thursday night. Tanner English followed with his third triple of the season and scored on a sacrifice fly from Chase Vergason that was just shy of landing in the Carolina bullpen.
Two more hits for the Tide in the top of the third and a fielding error by Matthews added one more run for Alabama, increasing their lead to three runs.
After Walker drew a leadoff walk in the bottom half of the inning, Alabama would go to the bullpen for right-handed reliever Trey Pilkington who retired the next two Gamecocks. LB Dantzler doubled to right field and a fielding error by the Alabama right fielder Ben Moore allowed Walker to score cutting the Tide’s lead to 7-5.
The Gamecocks would take the lead in the bottom of the fourth. English led off the inning with a single and then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Vergason. Joey Pankake singled and put runners on the corners for Evan Marzilli, who drove in English with a sacrifice fly to left-center. Walker then reached base for the third time of the night after drawing a two-out walk and set the table for Grayson Greiner, who knocked a three-run homer out to left field giving the Gamecocks a 9-7 lead.
Smith drew a walk to lead of the fifth inning for Alabama and would eventually score cutting South Carolina’s lead to 9-8. Rosecrans singled, the runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch from Jordan Montgomery and an RBI groundout from Kenny Roberts drove in Smith. Alabama went ahead 10-9 in the sixth inning as Ben Moore came through with a two-out two-run single to give the Crimson Tide a one-run lead.
Evan Beal was able to work around a jam in the top of the seventh thanks to a great play by Matthews nabbing a runner at home plate and keeping Alabama’s lead to just one run.
A leadoff walk to Rosecrans in the top of the ninth followed by a sacrifice bunt and an RBI single from Tullidge increased the Tide’s lead to 11-9. Greiner picked off a runner attempting to steal second keeping the Gamecocks within two runs and ending the top of the ninth.
South Carolina won despite being out-hit 14-13 in the contest. Greiner was 3-for-5 with two runs scored and four RBI. His four RBI ties a season-high. Walker was 2-for-3 with two RBI and four runs scored. English went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and Dantzler was 2-for-4. Dugas and Tullidge each finished the evening with three hits apiece to lead Alabama at the plate. Hunter Gregory was 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBI. Moore and Smith drove in two runs apiece as well.
Cousino Helps Power No. 1 Kentucky to Win Over Vanderbilt
NASHVILLE -- Freshman centerfielder Austin Cousino launched his eighth homer of the year and collected three hits to lead No. 1 Kentucky to a series-opening win over the defending league champion Vanderbilt Commodores, on Friday night at Hawkins Field.
Kentucky (36-7, 14-5 Southeastern Conference) extended its lead in the conference standings with the series-opening win. UK’s series-opening win was just its third in seven league weekends, with the Wildcats winning all six of its previous series. UK’s last series-opening win came over No. 10 Ole Miss on April 6.
The Wildcats were paced offensively by three hits from Cousino, including his eighth homer of the year. UK also got two hits from freshman A.J. Reed, with Luke Maile, Cameron Flynn, J.T. Riddle and Matt Reida recording hits. UK also got a walk from Zac Zellers and Thomas McCarthy, with McCarthy laying down a sacrifice bunt.
UK starter Taylor Rogers (5-2) finished one out shy of a quality start, tossing 5.2 innings, allowing seven hits and two runs, not issuing a walk and striking out four. Alex Phillips replaced him with the bases loaded and two down in the sixth, getting a fly out to get out of the jam. Phillips worked the final 3.1 innings without allowing a hit, walking one and striking out three for his fifth save of the year.
Vanderbilt (19-23, 7-12 SEC) starter TJ Pecoraro (0-2) worked 1.2 innings, allowing five hits and four runs, walking four and striking out two. Brian Miller got Pecoraro out of a jam in the second inning, working a strong 3.1 innings, allowing only one unearned run, walking one and striking out two. Steven Rice got VU out of the jam in the sixth, working 3.1 innings, allowing only one hit and no runs, striking out three. Drew Verhagen got the final out of the eighth inning.
The series will resume on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET at Hawkins Field. The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, available in Central Kentucky on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080 and online at UKathletics.com.
UK got on the board with two runs on three hits in the first inning, as Cousino led off with a single to centerfield, stealing second base and taking third on a Reed one-out groundout. Maile then scored Cousino with a two-out single to leftfield, with Flynn then singling to right and Zellers drawing a walk to load the bases, with Maile scoring on a balk.
The Wildcats added a pair of runs to their lead in the second inning, as Reida drew a one-out walk, scoring on Cousino’s eighth homer of the year, sailing into the bleachers in rightfield.
In the third inning, Vanderbilt got two runs back on two hits, cutting the UK lead to 4-2. Connor Harrell led off with a hard-hit double into the left-centerfield gap, scoring after John Norwood painted a bloop double down the opposite-field line. After Tony Kemp’s bloop single into no-man’s land in leftfield and a sacrifice bunt from Mike Yastrzemski, Anthony Gomez scored Norwood with a RBI groundout.
The Wildcats got a run back in the top of the fifth but were victimized by a close call on what would have been a two-out, two-RBI single that was called a line-drive out on a diving play in leftfield. Flynn reached on a hard-hit, two-out error charged by Kemp at second base. Zellers then got plunked by his team-high 18th pitch of the year and Riddle smashed a single up the middle to score Flynn from second base. Williams then followed with what could have been a single into leftfield but the ball was ruled to be caught on an outstretched diving snag, erasing the two runs that scored on the single.
Seven-Run Eighth Sends Auburn To 12-5 Win Over Tennessee
AUBURN, Ala. – Deadlocked going to the bottom of the eighth, Auburn scored seven times off of the Tennessee bullpen to claim a 12-5 series-opening win on Friday night. The win upped Auburn’s record to 23-19, 8-11 SEC while Tennessee fell to 22-20, 7-12 SEC.
“We had two really big innings,” Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. “We scored four runs in the third inning and then seven in the eighth inning. The bottom of the lineup was really good. Gonzo (Jay Gonzalez), (Zach) Alvord and Bobby Andrews did a really good job for us.”
Tied at 5-5 after seven-and-a-half innings, Auburn sent 12 men to the plate in the eighth and collected five hits and a season-high seven runs in the inning. Creede Simpson’s sacrifice fly started the scoring and gave Auburn a 6-5 lead with two outs in the inning but the Auburn bats didn’t quiet down until six more runs had come across. Garrett Cooper walked, Justin Bryant was hit by a pitch and Dan Glevenyak walked to load the bases for Blake Austin. Austin, who finished the night with two hits, including a double, singled in two runs for an 8-5 lead. Jay Gonzalez followed with a run-scoring single before Zach Alvord doubled in two for an 11-5 lead. Bobby Andrews’ RBI single capped the scoring for Auburn as the bottom four in Auburn’s lineup finished the night a combined 11-for-17 with five runs scored and 10 RBIs.
Alvord finished the game 3-for-5 with a career-high five RBIs for Auburn.
“I was seeing the ball really well tonight. It felt good to finally barrel up the ball a few times,” Alvord said. “Coach (Pawlowski) likes to say ‘hang around with some teams and find a way to win at the end.’ The team came out fired up tonight.”
Working in relief for the second straight game, Derek Varnadore (2-6) earned his first win since opening night, allowing a hit and a walk in three innings while striking out three. The senior entered in the seventh with the game tied at 5-5 and retired the first five hitters he faced and didn’t allow either of Tennessee’s base runners to advance into scoring position.
“It feels good to come out and pick up a win on Friday night. We needed that one and I needed that one,” Varnadore said.
Tennessee reliever Drew Steckenrider (4-4) was tagged for the loss as he allowed the first two runs of Auburn’s seven-run inning.
Auburn led 5-0 after the third after scoring four times in the third, two of which came on an Alvord double.
Tennessee answered with a three-run fourth to narrow the margin to 5-3 and knock Auburn starter Jon Luke Jacobs from the game. Tennessee used a walk, three straight singles and a RBI groundout for its runs in the inning and then tied it in the sixth on a Will Maddox RBI groundout.
The win was Auburn’s first on a Friday SEC night since the second series of the year.
Auburn will try to capture the series on Saturday at 3pm when it sends Daniel Koger to the mound. Tennessee will counter with Robbie Kidd.
MSU Baseball Wins Weekend Opener From Ole Miss
WATCH GAME HIGHLIGHTS HERE
STARKVILLE, Miss. – On this Friday night, Mississippi State junior right-hander Chris Stratton again threw nine innings. However, this time around, Stratton also got the win.
Throwing the Bulldogs’ third complete game of the season, Stratton needed 104 pitches to polish off a five-hit shutout as MSU knocked off No. 22 Ole Miss 4-0 in the opening game of a three-game Southeastern Conference series played at Dudy Noble Field.
MSU ran its win streak to five straight while moving to 26-16 overall and 9-10 in league play. Ole Miss fell to 27-15 and 9-10. The Bulldogs have allowed four runs in 52 innings of work during the win streak. The Southeastern Conference now has five complete games this season, with three of them coming from a Starkville-based Bulldog.
“What can be said about Chris Stratton that has not been said before?” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “He is a competitor. He takes the mound and challenges every hitter. It’s a great feeling as a coach when you know the tone is going to be set in your favor for the rest of the weekend.”
The Bulldogs have won five series-opening contests this season. For Stratton, it was his second career complete game with this gem coming on the heels of a complete-game win at Tennessee in 2010. Ironically, Stratton worked nine innings last week against the same Volunteers team but left with no decision in a 2-1, 11-inning victory.
“My defense made all the plays tonight,” Stratton said. “I would not have had this performance without them. Offensively, we got some runs early. After that, it was settle down and throw strikes. When your defense has your back like this, it makes my job a whole lot easier.”
The Bulldogs played errorless ball and thanks to the splendid job by shortstop Adam Frazier, turned two double plays. MSU also got a diving catch by center fielder C.T. Bradford to snuff a threat in the eighth inning.
MSU grabbed a 2-0 lead with two unearned scores in the third inning. After UM starter Bobby Wahl got the first two outs, Frazier made it 35 games with a base hit thanks to a single to left field. An infield error – one of two by UM – extended the at-bat. The Bulldogs took full advantage as Trey Porter and Daryl Norris followed with back-to-back hits. The error scored one run, while Norris’ hit scored the other.
The Bulldogs ran the lead to 3-0 on an RBI-single by Mitch Slauter in the fifth inning. In the seventh inning, a leadoff error again set the tone. Brent Brownlee helped his club cash in with an RBI-double.
Such offense would be more than enough for Stratton (8-0). Now the league leader in victories, Stratton allowed five hits and struck out seven, with only one walk. The Rebels only reached four batters past the minimum.
Wahl (5-1) threw six innings, allowing four hit and three runs (one earned), with seven strikeouts and two walks.
Alex Yarbrough had three of Ole Miss’ five hits, while running his hit streak to 21 games.
The series resumes at 2 p.m. Saturday. SportSouth will have the regional telecast.
Nola's Eighth-Inning Homer Lifts No. 3 LSU to 6-5 Win Over Georgia
BATON ROUGE, La.— Senior shortstop Austin Nola launched a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning Friday night to lift No. 3 LSU to a 6-5 victory over Georgia in Game 1 of a three-game SEC series.
The Tigers moved to 34-9 and 13-6 in the SEC, and now have a four-game lead in the SEC Western Division standings. Georgia dropped to 24-19 and 8-11 in the SEC.
Game 2 of the series will begin at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in Alex Box Stadium. Right-hander Ryan Eades will start on the mound for LSU, and Georgia will counter with right-hander Michael Palazzone.
LSU left-hander Chris Cotton (5-0) picked up the victory in relief Friday and Nick Goody earned his eighth save on the year. Starter Kevin Gausman (7-1) allowed 10 hits, all of them singles, and five runs (three earned) while striking out nine batters.
Georgia reliever Bryan Benzor (4-4) was charged with the loss following Nola’s eighth-inning home run that erased a 5-4 Bulldog lead. UGA starter Alex Wood permitted four runs (three earned), eight hits and two walks and fanned two batters.
LSU leftfielder Raph Rhymes advanced his hitting streak to nine games in a 3-for-4 effort. The junior is now batting .503 on the year. Second baseman JaCoby Jones blasted a solo shot and third baseman Tyler Hanover added a pair of hits and two runs.
“The difference between winning and losing in the SEC is so small, and that certainly was evident tonight,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “Both teams have great ball players that gave tremendous efforts tonight. Our players just refused to give up – we faced a lot of adversity, but this team plays with a lot of confidence and we were able to earn a very important win.”
LSU struck first against Wood in the opening frame. Jones unloaded a leadoff homer to left field for his second dinger of the season.
Georgia knotted the game at 1-1 in the top of the second inning. Three consecutive two-out singles brought home a run. Rhymes made a spectacular diving catch in the Georgia bullpen for the final out of the inning.
The LSU offense manufactured two runs in the bottom of the second inning to take the lead back. Hanover led off the inning with a single and catcher Ty Ross drew a walk on four pitches. First baseman Tyler Moore moved both runners over with a sacrifice bunt.
Designated hitter Jordy Snikeris plated Hanover and moved Ross to third on a single through the left side, and Snikeris moved to second on a subsequent wild pitch. Jones drove home his second run in the contest when first baseman Jonathan Hester threw home after fielding a grounder and Ross beat the throw to the plate.
Georgia responded in the top half of the third and managed to score two runs on five hits. Four consecutive singles, three that didn’t leave the infield, brought home Curt Powell. Gausman struck out Hunter Cole for the first out of the inning, but Peter Verdin notched a single just behind first to score Welton and keep the bases loaded. Gausman worked out of further damage by striking out Justin Bryan and Hester.
The Tigers regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Hanover led off the inning with a double to left and moved to third on a passed ball. Moore’s groundout plated Hanover to push LSU ahead 4-3.
Georgia converted two singles, two errors and a wild pitch into two unearned runs in the top of the fifth to take a 5-4 lead.
Cotton entered the game in the seventh and kept margin at one by striking out two and forcing Cole to fly out. He also pitched a scoreless eighth, setting up a dramatic rally in the bottom of the frame.
Rhymes led off the eighth with a single and Nola sent Alex Box Stadium into a frenzy with a deep two-run shot to left field, his second homer of the season.
“Austin Nola has a well-earned reputation within the SEC for being a clutch hitter, and he demonstrated that again tonight, “ Mainieri said. “He’s been such a clutch player for us throughout his career, and he came through in a big way with his best swing of the season.”
The game, however, did not end without more drama. In the top of the ninth inning, Georgia placed a runner on third with one out, but Goody forced Farmer and Deloach to pop out for the victory.