Arkansas bounces back to even series
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|Arkansas 7, South Carolina 6
|Vanderbilt 7, Tennessee 4
|Kentucky 2, Florida 1
|Ole Miss 7, LSU 4
|Mississippi State 3, Alabama 2
|Georgia 6, Auburn 5
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Matt Reynolds had three hits with two RBI, while Jacob Morris had two hits and two RBI to lead No. 18 Arkansas to a 7-6 series-evening win on Saturday afternoon at Baum Stadium.
The Razorbacks improve to 34-14 overall and 12-11 in Southeastern Conference play, while the Gamecocks fall to 35-12 and 15-8 in league play. The loss by South Carolina snapped a 12-game winning streak in conference play.
The Razorback offense generated 17 hits in the victory, with six starters recording two or more hits. Reynolds tied for the team lead with three hits and two RBI, including a clutch single in the bottom of the eighth inning to drive in an insurance run. With his three hits in the game, Reynolds extended his streak of reaching base to 31 straight games. Tim Carver also added three hits with a RBI and a run scored, while Derrick Bleeker had three hits and a run scored. Morris had a pair of RBI with two runs scored, while Bo Bigham and Matt Vinson also had two hits each.
Christian Walker had three hits for the Gamecocks, including hitting his ninth homer of the season. Walker finished the game with two RBI and a run scored. Chase Vergason also homered, his first of the season, while Kyle Martin and Evan Marzilli each had a RBI.
Arkansas reliever Tyler Wright (1-0) earned his first win of the season. Wright threw 1.2 hitless innings, striking out a pair. Barrett Astin earned his ninth save of the season after giving up a run on two hits and striking out one in the ninth inning.
Colby Suggs was effective out of the Arkansas bullpen, throwing a scoreless inning and allowing one hit with a strikeout.
South Carolina starter Jordan Montgomery (4-1) took the loss. Montgomery surrendered five runs on nine hits and struck out two in 5.1 innings.
Arkansas starter Randall Fant received a no decision. Fant pitched 2.1 innings and allowed a run on no hits and struck out two.
After a quiet first two innings, South Carolina scratched across the game’s first run in the top of the third. Tanner English walked and then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Adam Matthews. A walk to Vergason and a hit by pitch to Joey Pankake loaded the bases. Marzilli then drew a walk to bring home a run and put the Gamecocks in front.
The Razorbacks quickly answered with two runs in the home half of the third. Vinson doubled down the left field line to begin the inning. John Clay Reeves then hit a grounder to the shortstop, who attempted to throw Vinson out at third, but his thrown was late, putting runners at the corners. Morris then laid down a bunt single to score Vinson and tie the game. A sacrifice bunt by Carver put runners at second and third with one out. Brian Anderson then hit a grounder to short. The shortstop’s throw to first was dropped by Walker at first with Reeves scoring on the play.
South Carolina tied the game at two in the top of the fourth on a leadoff homer into the left field bullpen by Walker.
Arkansas again regained the lead with a run of its own in the bottom of the fourth. With one out and Bigham at first base, Bleeker lined a single to center field to put runners at first and second. Vinson’s second double of the day, this one to the right-center field gap, scored Bigham to make the score 3-2.
The Gamecocks put together a two-run rally in the top of the fifth to take a 4-3 lead. Vergason began the inning with a homer just over the right field wall to tie the game. Pankake then singled to center and advanced to second on a ground out to first by Marzilli. After a strikeout of Grayson Greiner for the second out, Walker bounced a single to center, scoring Pankake with the go-ahead run.
The Razorbacks tied the game at four with a run in the bottom of the fifth. Carver led off the inning with a single to left and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Anderson. Ficociello grounded out to short to move Carver to third. Reynolds reached on an infield single to third, scoring Carver with the tying run.
Arkansas grabbed a 6-4 lead with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Bleeker singled to begin the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Vinson. A hit to right-center field by Jake Wise put runners at the corners. Morris then lined a single to left, scoring Bleeker and advancing Wise to second. Carver followed with a single of his own to left field, scoring Wise.
South Carolina cut the lead back to one in the top of the eighth. TJ Costen started the inning with a walk. After a strikeout of Tanner English, Michael Roth hit a pinch hit single to center to put runners at first and second. A wild pitch put runners at second and third with one out. Pinch hitter Brison Celek brought home a run with a groundout to second.
The Razorbacks pushed across a big insurance run in the bottom half of the eighth. With one out, Carver singled into right, but was later thrown out trying to steal second. Anderson quickly reached base with a double inside the third base bag and down the left field line. A wild pitch advanced Anderson to third and Ficociello was hit by a pitch to put runners at the corners. Reynolds extended Arkansas’ lead to two with a single to center field to score Carver.
The insurance run turned out to be important as South Carolina scored once in the top of the ninth. With one out, Walker singled to left field. Pinch runner Joel Seddon advanced to second on a wild pitch with two outs and a base hit to right field by pinch hitter Kyle Martin brought home Seddon to cut the lead to one. Astin was able to finish off the save as he struck out English to end the game.
Arkansas and South Carolina play the rubber game of the weekend series on Sunday with first pitch set for 1:05 p.m. The Razorbacks will start junior right hander DJ Baxendale (6-2, 3.47), while the Gamecocks have not announced a starter for the series finale.
Commodores hold off Vols, even series
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Knoxville, Tenn. – Vanderbilt held off a Tennessee rally in the ninth inning to even the series with a 7-4 win Saturday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
The Commodores (22-24, 10-13) cruised into the ninth inning with a 7-2 lead but reliever Drew VerHagen immediately found trouble in his fifth inning of work. Tennessee’s (23-23, 8-15) Will Maddox led off the inning with a solo home run to right field. A Drew Steckenrider RBI-single chased VerHagen and brought in Will Clinard. The right-hander quickly put an end to the rally, retiring the Volunteers in order to earn his first save of the season and set up a rubber game tomorrow.
Vandy jumped on the Vols in the first inning for two runs when Conrad Gregor singled to score Tony Kemp. Mike Yastrzemski’s heady base running allowed him to score when the throw in from left field on Gregor’s single got away from third baseman Chris Pierce. Tennessee drew even in the third when a delayed steal scored the runner from third base. Gregor’s RBI-double in the fifth put VU in the lead for good before the team tacked on three more runs in the sixth. Jack Lupo’s two-run double gave the Dores some insurance and Kemp’s RBI-groundout capped the rally. Connor Harrell added a mammoth solo home run to right field in the eighth.
Harrell and Gregor led the way for the Commodores with three hits each while Castellano added two hits. Steckenrider led Tennessee for the second straight day with three hits.
Steven Rice (1-0) earned the win in relief for the Dores working 1.1 scoreless innings for his first career victory. VerHagen turned in four-plus solid innings out of the bullpen entering the game in a bases loaded, no out situation in the fifth and getting out of the jam with a double play and strikeout. UT starter Robbie Kidd (2-3) took the loss giving up three runs on seven hits over 4.2 innings. Vandy starter Tyler Beede allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits and three walks in 2.2 innings.
The Commodores and Volunteers will decide the series tomorrow with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. CT. Vanderbilt sends lefty Kevin Ziomek (2-6) to the mound against fellow lefty Dalton Saberhagen (4-1).
Littrell, Gott Pitch No. 3 Kentucky to 2-1 Win Over No. 5 Florida
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Sophomore starter Corey Littrell took a shutout into the ninth inning and sophomore closer Trevor Gott set a new single-season record with his ninth save, leading No. 3 Kentucky to a 2-1 win over two-time defending conference champion No. 5 Florida, on a pleasant Saturday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Littrell (7-0) took a 2-0 lead into the ninth inning in the longest outing of his career, handcuffing the blistering bats of the high-octane Gators, the NCAA’s leader in homers. A native of Louisville, Ky., Littrell allowed a leadoff solo homer to start the ninth inning from UF’s Daniel Pigott as he attempted for the complete-game shutout. UK then turned to Gott, who got one strikeout and the final three outs of the game for his single-season UK record ninth save of the year.
In a scoreless duel between two of the top pitchers in college baseball, UK struck first with a two-out RBI single up the middle from shortstop Matt Reida in the bottom of the fifth inning. UK added an insurance run in the eighth on a RBI from Luke Maile, a rally sparked by Austin Cousino’s leadoff single and aggressive base running.
Kentucky (37-11, 15-9 Southeastern Conference) has now won the fifth-most games in UK single-season history, with UK’s 15 conference wins the third-most in UK history. The Wildcats have improved to 13-4 in one-run games and 14-5 in one or two-run contests, with UK also boasting a 12-8 record against top-25 opponents and 10-5 against top-10 opponents in 2012.
UK totaled seven hits in the game, sparked by Cousino’s 2-for-4 game at the top of the order. Senior catcher Michael Williams added a 2-for-3 game with a double, with UK also getting hits from Reida, Brian Adams and A.J. Reed. In addition to making a diving catch for the game’s final out up the middle of the infield, sophomore second baseman J.T. Riddle drew a walk.
Florida (35-13, 14-10 SEC) starter Johnson (5-4) – a member of the 2011 USA Collegiate National Team and projected first-round draft pick in 2012 – worked five innings, allowing four hits and one run, walking one and striking out two. He was relieved by flame-throwing Jonathan Crawford, who toiled three innings, allowing three hits and one unearned run, striking out two.
Littrell set a new career high with his eight innings pitched, working his seventh quality start of the year and the 11th of his two-year career. The 2010 Louisville Slugger Kentucky High School Player of the Year dropped his ERA to 2.30 and boasts a staggering 7-0 record in 2012, working 74.1 innings with 61 strikeouts and 18 walks. In his eight conference starts, Littrell has a 5-0 record and a 2.50 ERA.
UK will return to action on Wednesday, traveling to face Indiana, in Bloomington, Ind., at 3 p.m. ET. 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-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
The Wildcats were first to get on the board in the fifth inning, as Williams poked a double down the rightfield line, with Riddle drawing a walk. Adams then hung a fly ball down the rightfield line, allowing Williams to move to third base with two outs for Reida. Reida drilled a single into centerfield to score Williams and give UK a 1-0 lead.
Kentucky added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth after Cousino led off with a single up the middle and advanced to second after a misplay by the centerfielder. A well-executed sacrifice bunt from Zellers pushed Cousino to third. With one out, Maile hit a ground ball to third, reaching on an error and scoring Cousino to push the Wildcats’ lead to two.
Rebels Rebound To Down No. 4 LSU 7-4, Even Series
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OXFORD, Miss. – Zach Kirksey hit a solo home run in the fourth inning to spark a three-run rally before Auston Bousfield added a two-run home run in the seventh to put the game out of reach as No. 24 Ole Miss (31-17, 11-12 SEC) downed No. 4 LSU (37-11, 15-8 SEC) by a score of 7-4 on Saturday to even the weekend series.
The bullpen was solid for the Rebels as three pitchers combined to hold LSU off the board over the last 5.0 innings of play and give Ole Miss the opportunity to grab the win. Tanner Bailey (2-1) picked up the relief win, working 2.0 innings of two-hit ball with two strikeouts. Chris Ellis then worked an inning before Ole Miss called on Brett Huber to close things out in the eighth.
Huber picked up his eighth save of the season, allowing one hit with a walk and a strikeout in his 2.0 innings of work. He is now tied with Justin Huisman for second all-time in saves at Ole Miss with 24 for his career.
Kurt McCune (2-4) suffered the loss for LSU, allowing a run on three hits with a walk in 1.2 innings of relief work. He entered the game in the fifth and allowed the go-ahead run in the sixth before coming out of the game.
“Today a lot of the headlines will to the offense with 12 hits and 7 runs,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “But, it was big for our pitchers to put up zeros after giving four runs in the fourth. Tanner (Bailey) came in and got a double play and that kept the momentum on our side. We were able to come back, score three and tie it up. The bullpen was great.”
The Rebels scored first on Saturday coming up with a single run in the first inning when Tanner Mathis scored from third on a groundout to short from Alex Yarbrough. Mathis reached on a lead-off single before moving to second on a wild pitch. A sac bunt from Andrew Mistone pushed him to third and set up the score on the Yarbrough ball.
LSU responded in the fourth, plating four runs with a big inning that was sparked by a walk and a hit batter in back-to-back pitches with one out. Tyler Moore then drove in the first run with a single to right center that put men at the corners before a sac bunt from Grant Dozar scored Raph Rhymes from third. Will Allen fielded the ball off the bunt and dove for Rhymes who was sliding in at home, but was unable to make the tag in time as Rhymes crossed the plate for the second run of the inning.
With two outs on the board, a walk of Tyler Hanover put two men on base for the Tigers before JaCoby Jones hit a two-RBI double to center field to give LSU the 4-1 lead.
Ole Miss answered the LSU rally with one of its own in the bottom of the frame, starting things off with a solo shot from Kirksey to cut the lead in half. A walk of Auston Bousfield and a single from Austin Anderson put two men on before back-to-back RBI-singles from Mathis and Mistone would tie the score at four.
A double from Will Jamison and an RBI single from Mathis put Ole Miss on top 5-4 in the sixth inning as the Rebels moved in front for good.
Ole Miss extended the lead in the seventh inning when Bousfield delivered his first career home run, a two-run shot down the left field line that hit the foul pole to give the Rebels the 7-4 lead. Senquez Golson scored on the hit after entering the game to pinch run for Will Allen who reached base with a lead-off walk.
Ole Miss and LSU will play the final game of the series at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday as each team looks to claim the series with a victory.
MSU Baseball Clinches Series Against Alabama
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Mississippi State turned another brilliant pitching performance into another series win in Southeastern Conference baseball action Saturday afternoon.
A five-set of Bulldog hurlers held Alabama to eight total hits and made the most of limited run support to post a 3-2 victory at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. With the victory, MSU clinched its third straight conference series win and fourth series win of the season. The Bulldogs also take a series in this stadium for the first time since 2004.
No. 29 MSU improved to 29-17 overall and 12-11 in league play, while Alabama fell to 17-30 and 6-17. The Bulldogs remain tied for second place in the Western Division standings and tied for fifth overall in the league standings.
After collecting seven hits in Friday night’s 3-1 win over the Tide, the Bulldogs managed only three hits Saturday. However, in a similar fashion to last Sunday’s 4-2 win over Ole Miss (where the Bulldogs managed two total hits), the Maroon and White made the most of its opportunities.
“It’s not happening for us (offensively) but if you look around the league, it’s just not happening for a lot of people,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “There’s been 43 one-run games in our league already right now. I think we pitch it and defend it well enough to win any game right now.”
In the MSU first inning, Adam Frazier drew a leadoff walk. Frazier would then aggressively take second on a fly to left field. The heads-up base running paid off as he scored on an RBI-single by Trey Porter.
The lead grew to 2-0 in the third inning. Sam Frost reached as a one-out hit batsman. Frost took second on a ground out and scored on a Mitch Slauter RBI-double.
After Alabama climbed back within a run, the Bulldogs got a critical insurance score in the seventh inning. Once again, MSU made it a one run one hit inning. Brent Brownlee began things with a one-out walk. Brownlee took both second and third on a failed pickoff attempt and scored on an infield hit by Tyler Fullerton.
On this night that would be enough offense for the MSU pitching grouping of Kendall Graveman, Evan Mitchell, Ross Mitchell, Caleb Reed and Jonathan Holder.
In his usual Saturday starting role, Graveman was lifted after allowing six hits and one earned run in 4.2 innings of work. Evan Mitchell (2-1) completed the fifth and worked the sixth to earn the win. Ross Mitchell and Reed combined to work MSU through the seventh inning. Holder faced seven batters in two innings of work to earn his third save of the season and second of the series.
“I need to talk to the older guys like Caleb (Reed) and (Chris) Stratton because they'll come in after situations they've been in and talk to the freshmen like me and Jacob Lindgren about those things,” Holder said. “It's so good to learn from guys like that.”
A freshman right-hander, Holder has not allowed a run in 19.2 innings of work this season.
“That’s taking it to the next level,” Cohen said. “That’s not (physically) trying to get knuckles aligned and get on top of a pitch. That’s playing the game within the game and when you have kids thinking and playing the game at that level it’s special.”
Alabama finished with eight hits. Taylor Dugas and Jared Reaves each had multiple hits for the Crimson Tide. Dugas is now the Tide’s all-time career leader in base hits with 323. Starting pitcher Jon Keller (2-5) worked seven innings and took the loss.
“Our kids are on a mission and know that our entire season is still in the palm of our hands,” Cohen said. “We kind of determine our own destiny and they want all those goals that we set forth early on to achieve. They still want all of those.”
The series finale is at 1:05 p.m. Sunday.
Bulldogs Rally Past Auburn 6-5 in 11 Innings
Athens, Ga. - Kyle Farmer’s RBI-single capped a two-run rally as Georgia clinched another SEC series with a 6-5 win over Auburn in 11 innings Saturday at Foley Field.
Georgia (27-20, 11-12) never led Saturday until Farmer’s walk-off base hit as the Tigers fell to 25-21 overall and 10-13 in the SEC. It was Farmer’s second walk-off hit this season, also delivering against Kennesaw State at Coolray Field on March 6 when the Bulldogs posted a 3-2 decision. A total of more than 60 former Bulldog baseball letterman were among the crowd of 2,438 as Georgia held its annual Alumni Day.
Auburn built a 4-2 lead after six innings. The Tigers struck first with a solo homerun by Justin Bryant who went 4-foro-4 with a walk on the afternoon. Creede Simpson scored in the fourth off an RBI single by Garrett Cooper. Auburn would plate two more runs including a solo shot off the bat of Simpson later in the game. Georgia got on the board with three consecutive singles by Levi Hyams, Peter Verdin, and Colby May. Conor Welton smacked a line drive at the third basemen, which was bobbled, allowing Verdin to score in the second inning. Later in the fifth, May reached on a walk, advanced to third by a Welton single and was able to score on a wild pitch to make it a two-run affair. The Bulldogs trailed 4-2 until the seventh when their bats had some life to tie the contest. Farmer hit a long double over the centerfielder which scored Welton who reached earlier in the inning with a walk. Brett DeLoach followed up with a near identical double scoring Farmer.
Auburn pitcher Daniel Koger tossed for five innings allowing six hits and giving up two runs but did not factor in the decision. Koger was relieved by Derek Varnadore who came in to strike out the side in the sixth. Varnadore went the rest of the way, allowing four runs on five hits over the final 5.2 innings and fell to 2-7.
UGA senior starter Michael Palazzone lasted six innings, giving up four runs on seven hits while tallying five strikeouts. After Palazzone, Georgia got solid relief from senior Chase Hawkins. Jay Swinford, Blake Dieterich, and Bryan Benzor. Benzor allowed a run in the 11th but benefited from the Bulldog rally to pick up a victory to move his record to 5-4.
After being shut out for four straight innings, the Tigers took a 5-4 lead in the 11th inning. After a single by Bryant, Mitchell Self knocked him in with an RBI double off Benzor. The Bulldogs responded with a leadoff walk by Jonathan Hester. Hester advanced to second on a Nelson Ward groundout and later scored on a fielder’s choice by Curt Powell, who reached second on a throwing error. Farmer followed with an RBI single that provided a walk off win. Farmer finished the day 3-for-6 with two RBI.
“I thought we pitched pretty well today and the defense made some big plays,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “I liked how we hung in there and battled. We never could break it open; we had some chances early but we didn’t give up a big inning either so that helped. I liked how we responded in the 11th. We’ve been in some close games this year, and I think playing at home helped us today because we’ve lost some tough ones on the road.”