Gamecocks Sweep Alabama with 9-1 Victory on Saturday
|South Carolina 9, Alabama 1
|Ole Miss 6, Mississippi State 2
|Vanderbilt 4, Kentucky 3
|Auburn 12, Tennessee 3
|Arkansas 5, Florida 1
|LSU 8, Georgia 4
Columbia, S.C. – Fifth ranked South Carolina scored at least one run each of the first five innings with Evan Marzilli, Joey Pankake and LB Dantzler all driving in two runs apiece as the Gamecocks defeated Alabama 9-1 on Saturday afternoon to sweep a three-game SEC series in front of a sellout crowd or 8,242 fans at Carolina Stadium. The Gamecocks are 33-11 and 14-7 in league play with Alabama dropping to 17-28 and 6-15 in the conference. South Carolina has won five consecutive SEC series as well as 11 straight conference games.
South Carolina received a good start from junior right-hander Patrick Sullivan, who allowed just one run on four hits in four-plus innings of work in his first start of the season. Junior left-hander Nolan Belcher followed with 3.1 scoreless innings of relief to pick up his second win of the series and improve to 4-2 for the year. He struck out four batters. Junior right-hander Hunter Privette closed the game out with 1.2 perfect innings with two strikeouts. Alabama starter Justin Kamplain suffered the loss and is now 1-4 for the season. He allowed seven runs, six earned, on eight hits in 3.2 innings with three walks and a strikeout.
The Gamecocks broke ahead 2-0 in the bottom of the first inning. After Christian Walker reached base on a walk, Grayson Greiner roped a double to deep left-center scoring Walker from first base. Pankake ripped another double down the third base line scoring Greiner as the Gamecocks took an early two-run lead.
Both teams traded runs in the second inning. Sullivan escaped major damage with the bases loaded and no outs as he induced a 6-4-3 double play to limit the Crimson Tide to just one run. South Carolina also loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the second inning. Marzilli would tally a sacrifice fly to score a run for the Gamecocks and give the Gamecocks a 3-1 lead.
The Gamecocks increased the lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the third inning as LB Dantzler stepped in and slammed a home run to deep right-center, continuing his solid hitting from last weekend. The home run was Dantzler’s eight of the season that ties him for the team lead with Walker.
Carolina extended the advantage to 7-1 in the fourth inning. With one out, Marzilli stole second base and reached third on a throwing error by Alabama catcher Brett Booth. Walker belted a RBI single down the third base line to score Marzilli. Pankake would add a RBI single and Dantzler drove in a run with a sac fly giving the Gamecocks a six-run cushion.
South Carolina scored twice more in the fifth inning as Marzilli knocked in a run with a RBI fielder’s choice with Martin collecting his first RBI with the Gamecocks’ third sacrifice fly for the afternoon.
The sellout crowd was the second sellout of the series, ninth of the season and 20th in Carolina Stadium history. South Carolina has now had 987,250 fans through four years at Carolina Stadium, just 12,750 fans away from breaking the one million mark.
The nine-hit day for Carolina featured two hits from Greiner and Pankake. Austen Smith and Josh Rosecrans each had two hits to lead the Crimson Tide.
South Carolina returns to action on Wednesday, May 2 hosting Davidson at Carolina Stadium. First pitch is 7 p.m. with the game televised live on FS South/FS Carolinas as well as live radio broadcast on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College.
No. 18 Rebels Down Mississippi State 6-2, Even Series
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STARKVILLE, Miss. – After a first game where the Bulldogs proved to be the opportunistic team, the Rebels returned the favor on Saturday as No. 18 Ole Miss (28-15, 10-10 SEC) defeated Mississippi State (26-17, 9-11 SEC) by a score of 6-2 to even the weekend series.
The Rebels took advantage of a pair of errors in the seventh inning to push home two runs and claim the lead before using a third error at third base in the ninth to claim the 6-2 win.
R.J. Hively (4-3) picked up the win in relief, entering the game in the sixth with the score tied at two following a Mississippi State home run and allowed one hit with a walk and two strikeouts over the final 4.0 innings to pick up the win.
Kendall Graveman (3-3) suffered the loss, allowing four runs – three earned – on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts in 6.1 innings of work.
“This was another really good game,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “Mike Mayers and R.J. (Hively) were terrific today. We got the lead, Mississippi State tied it up and then we were able to take advantage of some opportunities and get the lead back. It’s tough against Graveman on the mound, but we got a huge hit from Austin Anderson in the seventh to get us the lead back.
“Hively was tremendous and really battled out there the final four innings,” Bianco said. “That’s what you want to see when you make a move like that and put him in the bullpen.”
Ole Miss got on the board first in the second game of the series when Matt Snyder hit a two-run shot to right field to give the Rebels the 2-0 lead in the first inning. Andrew Mistone scored on the play after reaching on a single up the middle before the two-out hit by Snyder got Ole Miss in the scoring column.
Mississippi State responded in the sixth, using a two-run home run from Mitch Slauter to tie the game at two. Adam Frazier scored on the play after reaching base on a full count walk in the previous at bat. Ole Miss then went to the bullpen for Hively, who retired the next three batters to end the inning.
The Rebels moved back into the lead in the seventh when Austin Anderson came up with an RBI single to right with two outs and men at first and second. Ole Miss took advantage of a fielding error on the platy to bring a second run home and take a 4-2 lead on the Bulldogs as the Mississippi State.
With Blake Newalu pinch running at second and Sikes Orvis on first due to a throwing error on a ground ball to third, Anderson delivered a single through the right side to score Newalu and advance Orvis to third. A fielding error by the third baseman on the throw to the bag from right field allowed Orvis to score as the ball got away from the fielder and went to the fence down the third base line.
The Rebels added to the lead in the ninth inning when Tanner Mathis was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and two outs to push home a fifth run on the afternoon. Mississippi State then turned to its bullpen for right-hander Jonathan Holder with the bases still loaded and two outs.
Mistone then struck out on a wild pitch, but the ball rolled up the third base line, allowing Mistone to reach and all runners to advance as Ole Miss took a 6-2 lead on the Bulldogs. Holder then got a fly out to center to end the inning with the Rebels holding to a four-run lead.
Hively shut the Bulldogs down in the ninth, retiring three straight batters to pick up the win for the Rebels and even the series.
Ole Miss and Mississippi State will take the field for the series finale at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Vandy edges Kentucky, evens series
Nashville, Tenn. – Vanderbilt edged No. 3 Kentucky Saturday afternoon at Hawkins Field 4-3 to even the series and set up a rubber match tomorrow.
The Commodores (20-23, 8-12) scored a pair of runs in the second inning to claim an early lead. Spencer Navin broke up a scoreless game with his third round tripper of the season, a solo shot into the left-center field bleachers. Connor Harrell’s two-out single set the table for Vince Conde to make it 2-0 with a double to right field. Harrell later tacked on a run in the fourth with a RBI-single to push the Dores’ lead to three runs.
The Wildcats (36-8, 14-6) rallied back into the game in the eighth inning after Vandy starter Tyler Beede’s day was over. Thomas McCarthy greeted VU reliever Will Clinard with a single through the right side to ignite a three-run rally. Luke Maile’s single scored a run and J.T. Riddle’s two-run single followed a double steal and tied the game. Vanderbilt answered the Cats’ three-run eighth with a run in the bottom of the inning. Conrad Gregor singled with one out and came all the way around to score on Navin’s triple down the right field line to put the Commodores back in front. Jared Miller and Drew VerHagen then pieced together a scoreless ninth inning to seal the win for the Dores.
Beede was outstanding for the Commodores over seven scoreless innings. The freshman scattered four hits, walked four and matched a career-best with eight strikeouts. Beede walked the first two batters of the game on eight pitches and went to a three-ball count against A.J. Reed before rebounding to strike out Reed and get Maile to bounce into an inning-ending double play. The right-hander cruised until the sixth inning not allowing a runner past second base. In the sixth the Wildcats loaded the bases before a ground ball ended the threat.
Will Clinard (5-2) earned the win for Vandy despite allowing three runs on three hits in his lone inning of work. VerHagen picked up his first save of the season; recording the final two outs of the day. Kentucky reliever Sam Mahar (3-3) was pinned with the loss allowing the winning run in the eighth. UK starter Jerad Grundy tossed 5.2 innings allowing three runs on five hits.
The Commodores and Wildcats will decide the series tomorrow with first pitch slated for 1 p.m. Vanderbilt turns to lefty Kevin Ziomek (2-6) to face Kentucky left-hander Corey Litrell (6-0).
Wacker Goes 4-For-4 In 12-3 Series-Clinching Win Over Tennessee
AUBURN, Ala. – Cullen Wacker was 4-for-4 with a walk and four runs scored as Auburn claimed a Southeastern Conference series victory over Tennessee with a 12-3 win on Saturday. The win upped Auburn’s record to 24-19, 9-11 SEC while Tennessee dropped to 22-21, 7-13 SEC.
“This was a good, solid offensive game for us,” Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. “Different guys stepped in. Bobby Andrews stepped in yesterday and was on base four times. Today Cullen Wacker has four hits. When you have a lineup that is clicking up-and-down it makes it pretty tough.”
Wacker singled and scored in the second, third and sixth innings and walked and scored in the fourth as Auburn jumped out to a 9-0 lead and never looked back in claiming its first SEC series win since taking 2-of-3 from Mississippi State March 30-April 1.
“We knew this was a do-or-die weekend for us and we knew we needed two big wins and we got them,” Wacker said. “We have been up and down all year with runners in scoring position and then last night people came up with big hits. We came out with a big W last night and we carried that momentum into today.”
Wacker joined Dan Glevenyak (2-for-3, 2 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI) and Blake Austin (2-for-3, 3 RBI) as a formidable 4-5-6 part of the Auburn batting order as the three were a combined 8-for-10 with six RBI and six runs scored.
Ryan Tella, who leads the team with 23 multi-hit games, was 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored from the leadoff spot while Jay Gonzalez was 2-for-5 with two RBI.
Auburn starter Daniel Koger (3-4) picked up his first win since April 1 against Mississippi State with 5 2/3 innings of three-hit ball. He did allow a pair of unearned runs in the contest, both coming in the fifth after he had faced one over the minimum through four innings.
“You go out there with a lead and it makes it a lot easier,” Koger said. “You let your defense work and you fill up the zone when you pitch with a lead and that’s what I did.”
Cory Luckie earned his third career save and first of the year by recording the final 10 outs, allowing a run on two hits and a walk and striking out two.
Auburn struck for a run in the second as Gonzalez drove in Wacker with a single and then scored two more times in the third as Tella doubled and scored on a wild pitch and Wacker singled and scored on an Austin single.
Auburn then busted the flood gates open with a six-run fourth, sending 10 men to the plate against Tennessee starter Robbie Kidd (2-2) and Eric Martin. Creede Simpson delivered a two-run double and Dan Glevenyak connected for a bases-loaded, bases clearing double as Auburn finished the game with four doubles in the game.
Zach Alvord hit his fourth home run of the year with two outs in the sixth that made the score 12-2.
Kidd took the loss for Tennessee, allowing seven runs on six hits and four walks in 3 1/3 innings.
Auburn will attempt to claim its first SEC sweep of the season and first over Tennessee since 2001 on Sunday at 1pm. Tennessee will start Nick Williams on Sunday while Auburn has yet to determine its starter.
Arkansas evens series with 5-1 victory
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Arkansas pitchers Randall Fant, Brandon Moore and Barrett Astin combined to allow one unearned run, while Dominic Ficociello went 2-for-5 with a RBI and a run scored as the 21st-ranked Razorbacks defeated No. 5 Florida, 5-1, on Saturday night at McKethan Stadium.
The Razorbacks improve to 30-13 overall and 10-10 in Southeastern Conference play, while the Gators fall to 33-11 and 12-8 in conference play.
Brandon Moore (4-1) was outstanding out of the bullpen en route to earning the win. Moore pitched five shutout innings, allowing just three hits and striking out two.
Barrett Astin closed the door in the ninth by tossing a hitless inning.
Fant started on the mound for Arkansas and was effective in his three innings of work. Fant gave up an unearned run on six hits and struck out four in three innings.
Florida starter Brian Johnson (5-3) suffered the loss. Johnson gave up five runs on eight hits with six strikeouts in 4.1 innings.
The Razorback offense pounded out 10 hits in the win. Ficociello had a team-high two hits with a RBI and a run scored in the victory. Jimmy Bosco, Michael Gunn and Matt Reynolds also had a hit and a RBI.
Mike Zunino had three hits to lead Florida at the plate. Brian Johnson went 2-for-4 with the only RBI of the game for the Gators.
Arkansas struck first, scoring a run in the top of the third. With one out, Joe Serrano singled into right field and advanced to second after Tim Carver was hit by a pitch. After a strike out of Jacob Mahan, Ficociello lined a single to left field to score Serrano and give the Razorbacks the lead.
Florida tied the game with a run in the home half of the third. Daniel Pigott reached on an error by Ficociello to lead off the inning. A base hit to center field by Preston Tucker advanced Pigott to second. After Zunino was unable to advance the runners on the sacrifice bunt attempt, Johnson lined a single off Ficociello’s glove and into right field to score Pigott. Maddox then singled into center field. Tucker attempted to score from second, but a great throw by Jacob Morris and a nice pick at the plate by John Clay Reeves retired Tucker at home to keep the game tied.
The Razorbacks regained the lead with a four-run fifth. Carver began the inning with a single and then moved to second after a ground out to first by Mahan. A base hit to left by Ficociello advanced Carver to third and after a fielding error by the Florida left fielder, Carver was able to cross home plate to put Arkansas in front. Ficociello then stole second and came in to score on a base hit to left-center field by Reynolds. Bigham reached on a bunt single down the third base line. Reynolds, who was running on the play, was able to advance all the way to third to put runners at the corners with one out. Bosco continued the hit parade with a pinch hit infield single to second to score Reynolds and move Bigham to second. After Morris fouled out to third for the second out of the inning, Gunn came through with a clutch pinch hit single into center field to score Bigham and put Arkansas in front 5-1.
The four runs in the fifth were the last runs scored by either team in the contest. Florida was able to put two runners on with one out in the home half of the ninth before Astin retired two batters in a row to seal the Arkansas win.
SIX-RUN EIGHTH CARRIES LSU TO 8-4 WIN OVER GEORGIA
BATON ROUGE, La.— Third-ranked LSU erupted for six runs in the eighth inning Saturday night to erase a 4-2 deficit and post an 8-4 win over Georgia in Alex Box Stadium.
With the victory, the Tigers (35-9, 14-6 SEC) clinched the series over the Bulldogs (24-20, 8-12 SEC). First pitch of Game 3 of the series is set for 1 p.m. at Alex Box Stadium. Freshman right-hander Aaron Nola will take the mound for the Tigers, and Georgia will counter with freshman right-hander Luke Crumley.
LSU enters Sunday’s game tied with Kentucky for first place in the overall SEC standings. The Tigers hold a four-game lead over Ole Miss and Arkansas in the SEC Western Division.
Rightfielder Mason Katz launched a grand slam – the first of his career – to highlight the Tigers’ eighth-inning rally. The bases were loaded with nobody out after designated hitter Jordy Snikeris and second baseman JaCoby Jones lined consecutive doubles, and centerfielder Arby Fields was hit by a pitch from reliever Blake Dieterich.
Following Katz’s slam, leftfielder Raph Rhymes connected on his third home run of the season to give the Tigers a 7-4 lead. After shortstop Austin Nola grounded out, first baseman Tyler Moore ripped a double to right, he scored on a wild pitch and a throwing error by the catcher.
“It looked like ‘Gorilla Ball’ made its return to Alex Box Stadium with those home runs,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard the crowd here as loud as it was tonight in the eighth inning. We started out with a good first inning offensively, and then we did very little until late in the game.
“The double by Snikeris to start the inning was huge, JaCoby followed with a big hit, and that set the stage for Mason and Raph. Joey Bourgeois kept us in the game with a tremendous outing, and we finally were able to break through.”
LSU’s bullpen was stellar in relief of starter Ryan Eades and did not allow a run in four innings of work. The sophomore starter pitched five innings, allowed seven hits, four runs (two earned) one walk with one strikeout.
Bourgeois (2-2) earned the win in relief as he entered the game in the sixth inning and struck out three in three scoreless innings of work. Junior right-hander Nick Goody struck out the side in the ninth inning to preserve the win.
Georgia starter Michael Palazzone left the game after the fourth inning due to an injury. He permitted six hits and two runs (two earned). Dieterich (3-3) was charged with the loss after allowing four runs (four earned), including Katz’s grand slam, in the eighth inning.
Katz finished his day with three hits and five RBI. Jones notched two hits and scored twice in the leadoff position, and Rhymes and Moore each had two hits and a run.
Georgia’s Curt Powell led off the game with a solo home run to left field. Kyle Farmer knocked a oneout single and Hunter Cole reached base on an error. Both runners advanced on a throwing error, and Conor Welton plated Farmer with a sac fly to left to give Georgia the early 2-0 lead.
The Tigers answered with two runs in the bottom half of the opening frame. Jones led off the inning with a single and proceeded to steal second. Katz’s RBI double scored Jones, and Rhymes’ single advanced Katz to third. Nola tied the game with a sac fly to center.
Georgia regained the lead in the top of the third. Eades hit Welton , who immediately stole second. Peter Verdin plated Welton with a single over Jones’s glove at second. Verdin advanced to third on an errant pick off attempt and scored on Brett DeLoach’s RBI single.
Catcher Ty Ross made a fantastic diving catch behind home plate to help the Tigers strand two Bulldogs in scoring position in the top of the sixth.