|Kentucky 4, Alabama 2
|South Carolina 3, Georgia 0
|Florida 4, Mississippi State 1
|Ole Miss 4, Tennessee 2
|Arkansas 5, Auburn 4
|LSU 2, Vanderbilt 1
Rogers Leads Kentucky Past Alabama, 4-2
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LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Junior southpaw Taylor Rogers fired a season-high seven innings and senior Thomas McCarthy delivered a clutch two-out, two-run double to lead No. 7 Kentucky to a 4-2 series-opening win over Alabama, on a gorgeous Friday night in front of 2,456 fans at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (39-11, 16-9 Southeastern Conference) will now play a doubleheader on Saturday due to the threat of inclement weather on Sunday in the Central Kentucky area. The twinbill will start at 2 p.m. ET and the first game of the day will be televised on Fox Sports South and C-WKYT by the UK IMG Network. Both games will also be on the UK IMG Radio Network, available in Lexington on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com. Former UK star Alex Meyer will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the first game of the doubleheader.
The win for the Wildcats gives UK its third series-opening win through its first nine SEC weekends. The Wildcats will be searching for its seventh series win of the year on Saturday in the doubleheader, as UK owns series wins over No. 2 South Carolina, No. 10 Ole Miss, No. 1 LSU and at No. 18 Georgia, at Tennessee and at No. 9 Arkansas.
Rogers (6-3) worked a season-long seven innings, allowing seven hits and two runs, walking one and striking out four. Rogers’ quality start was the sixth of the year for the junior and the 17th of his career, and the outing was the longest for Rogers since May 19, 2011 at No. 4 Florida. UK turned to senior Alex Phillips for the six-out save, with Phillips striking out three in two perfect innings for his sixth save of the year.
With the win, UK has now equaled the second-most wins in conference play in program history, matching the 16 wins the 2008 team posted en route to a school-record 44 wins. Phillips’ save gave UK its 17th on the year, tying the school mark set in 1993 with 17 team saves. UK has also won 39 games in 2012, just shy of equaling the 40 wins from the 1987 club.
The Wildcats got out to an early 2-0 lead with two runs in the bottom of the second behind McCarthy’s two-out, two-RBI double off the wall in rightfield. Alabama answered in the third, taking advantage of a UK throwing error and three hits to even the game at 2-2. UK immediately answered with two runs in the bottom of the third for the lead and the final margin.
UK was led offensively by a two-hit game from Cameron Flynn, who launched his ninth double of the year and McCarthy’s 16th double of 2012. Austin Cousino, Luke Maile, Michael Williams and A.J. Reed also added hits, with Zac Zellers drawing a walk and J.T. Riddle delivering an RBI. Cousino tied the UK freshman school record with his 71st hit in 2012, equaling Chris Gonzalez’s record in 1993.
Alabama (18-31, 7-18 SEC) starter Spencer Turnbull (2-5) worked 2.2 innings, allowing three hits and four runs, walking four and striking out two. Justin Kamplain took over for Turnbull, working a strong four innings, allowing four hits and no runs, walking two and striking out two. Jay Shaw got the final 1.1 innings, not allowing a runner with one strikeout.
The series will resume on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium in the first of a series-concluding twinbill, the final home games of the 2012 regular-season. Ticket holders can use tickets for Saturday or Sunday to gain admission to either game. Fans not attending either game with tickets for Sunday are eligible for a refund by calling the UK Ticket Office on Monday.
The opening game will be televised live on the UK IMG Network, available on Fox Sports South and locally on C-WKYT, with Dick Gabriel, Doug Flynn and Ryan Lemond calling the action. Fans in Central Kentucky can hear the radio broadcast with Neil Price live on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com. UK will send junior lefty Jerad Grundy (4-2, 4.08 ERA) to the mound on Saturday to face off with Alabama freshman lefty Jon Keller (1-5, 4.14 ERA).
Alabama threatened in the top of first inning, as Taylor Dugas led off with a 2-1 single smashed up the middle, clipping the glove of Rogers. Jared Reaves then blooped a single down the rightfield line, with Dugas motoring to third base on the play. Rogers then got Ben Moore to pop out softly to Riddle at second base, before turning a 1-6-3 double play to get out of the inning unscathed.
The Wildcats got on the board first in the bottom of the second, as Maile drew a walk in his third consecutive plate appearance to lead off, getting erased on a double play from Riddle. Williams then singled through the right side and Reed drew a full-count walk, with both taking an extra base on a wild pitch. McCarthy then smashed his 16th double of the year off the rightfield wall to score the duo and give UK a 2-0 lead, snapping his 0-for-17 stretch entering the at bat.
Alabama immediately responded in the top of the third inning, as James Tullidge led off with a single to centerfield. After a fly out from Kenny Roberts, Dugas chopped a grounder into the hole on the right side. Riddle ranged deep into the hole but his spinning throw to first sailed wide, allowing Dugas to take second and Tullidge third. Reaves then singled up the middle to score Tullidge and Moore drew a walk to load the bases. Austen Smith then hung a sacrifice fly to right field to score Dugas and even the game at 2-2.
UK regained the lead in the bottom of the third inning, as Cousino was hit by a pitch to lead off and Zellers drew a walk. Flynn then smacked a single to shallow rightfield to load the bases for Maile. Maile worked the count full before chopping a grounder up the middle for an RBI fielder’s choice, allowing Cousino to score with Flynn out at second. Riddle then grounded out to second base to score Zellers and give UK a 4-2 lead.
Gamecocks Defeat Georgia 3-0 in Series Opener
Athens, Ga. – Senior left-handed pitcher Michael Roth hurled seven-plus scoreless innings and combined with relievers Tyler Webb and Matt Price for a five-hit shutout and third ranked South Carolina scored single runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings on the way to a 3-0 victory over Georgia on Friday night at Foley Field. The Gamecocks are now 38-12 and 17-8 in the SEC while the loss drops Georgia to 28-22 and 12-13 in league play.
The pitcher’s duel between Roth and Georgia sophomore left-hander Alex Wood was as good as advertised as both southpaws kept putting zeros on the scoreboard as neither team could muster much offense through the first six innings. That however changed in the seventh with a two-out solo home run by LB Dantzler that gave the Gamecocks a one-run lead. Evan Marzilli added a RBI base hit in the eighth inning and Sean Sullivan drove in the third run with a sacrifice squeeze in the ninth to complete the scoring.
Roth limited Georgia to just three hits and five walks while striking out six batters to earn the win and improve to 5-0 on the year. Price’s scoreless ninth inning with two strikeouts earned him his eighth save of the season, his seventh in league play. Wood went the distance for Georgia and allowed three runs on nine hits with no walks and six strikeouts. He is now 6-2 on the year.
Both teams threatened in the sixth inning but would come away with nothing as Roth and Wood battled to keep the game scoreless. The Gamecocks put a pair of runners on base with singles by Joey Pankake and Marzilli. Christian Walker punched would look to be the third hit of the inning up the middle but Wood, a 6-4 left-hander, snared a hard hit ball up the middle with his glove and turned a 1-6-3 double play to end the Carolina threat. Georgia would try to ride that momentum in the bottom half as Hunter Cole and Brett DeLoach each drew one-out walks and Levi Hyams knocked a bloop single just over the head of Chase Vergason to load the bases for the Bulldogs. Roth dug deep though, striking out both Peter Verdin and Heath Holder to end the Bulldogs’ scoring opportunity.
Dantzler broke the scoreless tie in the top of the seventh inning. With two outs and down 0-2 in the count, Dantzler launched a homer deep to right field that went off the top of the scoreboard at Foley Field to give the Gamecocks a 1-0 lead. Dantzler’s home run was his ninth of the season, tying him with Christian Walker for the team lead.
The Gamecocks increased the lead to 2-0 in the top of the eighth inning. Vergason reached base with a one-out single to right field. After a sacrifice by Pankake moved him into scoring position, Marzilli knocked a RBI single through the left side into right giving the Gamecocks a two-run cushion.
Carolina extended the advantage to 3-0 in the top of the ninth inning. Grayson Greiner belted a triple into the gap in right-center and scored on a perfectly executed sacrifice squeeze bunt by pinch hitter Sean Sullivan. Down to a 1-2 count, Sullivan was able to lay down a bunt down the first base line that scored Greiner. The triple for Greiner was his first triple of the season.
Carolina had nine hits for the evening. Marzilli and Dantzler were both 2-for-4 to pace the Gamecock offense. Pankake has now reached base in 10 straight games. Levi Hyams went 2-for-4 to lead Georgia at the plate.
Friday's game was the second straight shutout of the week for the Gamecocks. South Carolina now has six shutouts for the season.
Game two of the series is scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m. It will be televised live on CSS including Time Warner Cable Channel 506 in Columbia and can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College including flagship station 107.5 FM, “The Game.” Live Gametracker stats are available at GamecocksOnline.com.
No. 5 Florida Takes Opener Over No. 25 Mississippi State, 4-1
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Junior right-hander Hudson Randall (Atlanta, Ga.) pitched seven strong innings and senior Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) hit a key two-run homer in the eighth inning as No. 5 Florida (37-13/15-10 SEC) posted a 4-1 victory over No. 25 Mississippi State (30-19/12-13 SEC) in the series opener between the teams on Friday night at McKethan Stadium. With victories by SEC co-leaders LSU and South Carolina, as well as Kentucky, the Gators remain two games behind the Tigers and Gamecocks and one back of the Wildcats in the conference race.
Randall (6-1) limited the Bulldogs to one run and five hits in his longest SEC start of the campaign and junior southpaw Steven Rodriguez (Miami, Fla.) hurled a pair of scoreless innings and registered four strikeouts to collect his third save. UF handed Bulldog junior Chris Stratton (9-1) his first loss since May 21, 2011, against LSU.
“We put the ball in play tonight; it’s as simple as that,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “Chris Stratton, he’s really good and we hung in there with him. The bottom line is, we got some timely hits. Hudson Randall is one of the best pitchers I’ve ever coached. He has a knack for what he’s doing, he keeps the ball off the barrel, he matches every other Friday-night guy pitch-for-pitch and we certainly would not have been in the position to win if Hudson didn’t pitch the way he did.”
“Obviously, Steven Rodriguez also pitched well. Mike Zunino hit the ball hard to left center, Brian Johnson put a couple of good swings on some balls and Daniel Pigott had the big two-run home run in the eighth. The bottom half of the order did a nice job, too. Casey Turgeon had a really good at-bat in the eighth, Justin Shafer hit a couple of balls hard and Josh Tobias, once again, hit the ball hard in the eighth to start the inning. We had a lot of contributions from a lot of different guys, but it all starts on the mound. I couldn’t be more proud of Hudson.”
“Coming into the latter part of the season, we are starting to hit our stride collectively as a team,” Randall acknowledged. “Especially on the mound, I'm feeling more comfortable than ever.”
On his homer in the eighth, Pigott said, “It is always nice to have a little insurance for your pitching. Hudson [Randall] threw great and Paco [Steven Rodriguez] came in and shut the door. We had a lot of confidence, even being up one run”.
The Gators opened the scoring in the second when freshman Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) was hit by Stratton with the bases full and two down to bring home junior Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.). Johnson had opened the frame with a single into left field to raise his hitting streak to five games and Pigott (2-for-4) followed with a base-hit up the middle. Stratton had freshman Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) pop up a sacrifice attempt and then walked freshman Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) on a full count to load the bases with one down. After freshman Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) went down on strikes, Tobias was plunked on a 1-2 offering to score Johnson. Stratton had junior Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) foul out to strand the runners.
In the third, junior Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) roped a one-out double to the gap in left center and went to third on a grounder by Johnson. A grounder by Pigott was misplayed by sophomore Adam Frazier, enabling Zunino to come across for a 2-0 score. Pigott moved into scoring position with his fifth stolen base and Stratton worked out of further trouble by having Turgeon ground out.
Mississippi State narrowed the gap to 2-1 in the fifth inning on an RBI single by freshman Matthew Britton. Sophomore Hunter Renfroe (3-for-4) doubled with one down for the Bulldogs’ second hit of the contest and Britton followed with a sharp single into center field. A grounder by redshirt freshman Wes Rea advanced Britton to second and Randall had junior Sam Frost ground out to end the frame.
Stratton had retired nine-consecutive batters until issuing a two-out walk in the bottom of the stanza to Turgeon. After a single into left field by Shafer, the right-hander completed the inning by having Gushue ground out.
Randall registered the first two outs in the seventh before Renfroe collected his third hit of the contest with a single to the edge of the outfield grass in left field. Randall had Britton ground out to close the frame.
Tobias began the seventh with a single into shallow center field and Stratton countered with a strikeout of Fontana and had consecutive fly outs by senior Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) and Zunino.
Rea started the eighth with a base-hit into left field, prompting a pitching change. Over seven innings, Randall allowed five hits and one run, with two strikeouts and zero walks. Frost greeted Rodriguez with a bunt that moved redshirt freshman pinch runner Demarcus Henderson to second base. However, the reliever caught Frazier looking on strikes and had freshman Tyler Fullerton fly out to right field to preserve the Gators’ one-run advantage.
Pigott belted a two-run homer in the home part of the frame to give Florida a 4-1 lead. Johnson started the inning by reaching on a dropped fly ball in left field by Fullerton and was replaced by junior pinch runner Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.). Pigott tagged a 1-0 offering from Stratton into the left-field bleachers for his seventh round-tripper of the season, sixth in SEC play. Stratton (7.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 6 K, 2 BB) was replaced by junior Nick Routt, who surrendered a base-hit into left field by Turgeon and then had Shafer line into a double play before Gushue fouled out.
Rodriguez fanned the first two Bulldogs in to the ninth before senior Brent Brownlee singled through the left side to extend the contest. The left-hander nailed down the win by whiffing Renfroe on three pitches. Florida held a 7-6 edge in hits. Johnson (5-4, 4.29) will draw the start tomorrow for the Gators and will oppose junior Kendall Graveman (3-3, 2.97). Game time is at 7 p.m. and can be watched on GatorVision Online and heard on Country 103.7 The Gator.
No. 24 Rebels Take Series Opener With Tennessee 4-2
OXFORD, Miss. – Tanner Mathis went 2-for-4 with two RBI while Bobby Wahl and R.J. Hively combined to hold the Volunteers’ bats in check as No. 24 Ole Miss (32-18, 12-13 SEC) defeated Tennessee (24-25, 8-17 SEC) by a score of 4-2 on Friday night in the series opener.
Wahl (6-1) picked up the win with 7.0 innings of work and allowed two runs on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts. Hively then picked up his third save of the season with 2.0 scoreless and hitless innings, retiring all six batters faced and posting four strikeouts.
Dalton Saberhagen (5-2) pitched a complete game for Tennessee, allowing four runs on 11 hits with two walks and two strikeouts in the outing.
“It’s nice to win on Friday,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We haven’t done that in a while. Bobby (Wahl) was terrific. Offensively, Coach Godwin really had the guys locked in. Even though we only scored four runs, we looked good offensively all night long. We got some good swings. Blake Newalu got big hit run early. Preston Overbey was only in for two at-bats, but he swung the bat well. Auston Bousfield continues to swing well for us. We had another clean night defensively. We were able to answer their score and that’s big momentum wise.”
Tennessee struck first, pushing home a run in the second inning when Chris Fritts scored from third on a sac bunt from Parker Wormsley. Fritts reached on a lead-off walk and moved first to third on a single up the middle from Chris Pierce. Wahl then got a groundout and a strikeout of the next two batters after the sac bunt to limit the damage in the inning.
Ole Miss responded in the home half of the inning, driving in three runs on four straight hits to open the inning. Bousfield led things off with a double to left center before scoring on a single to right field from Overbey. Newalu then doubled to put two men in scoring position before Mathis delivered a single up the middle to drive in both Overbey and Newalu and put the Rebels on top 3-1.
The Vols cut the lead to one run in the sixth inning when Zach Osborne scored from third on an infield single to third base from Pierce with two outs on the board. Osborne singled to right before taking second on a groundout to first from Davis Morgan. Drew Steckenrider walked before a double steal with Osborne and Steckenrider would put two men in scoring position. The Rebels struck out the next batter before Osborne would score on the Fritts single to make it 3-2.
Tennessee would try another delayed steal with runners at first and third, but the Rebels caught the lead runner, Steckenrider, in a rundown between third and home and got the out to end the inning.
For the second time on the night, Ole Miss answered a Tennessee score with one of its own in the bottom half of the inning. Newalu delivered a sac fly to center field to score Bousfield and Ole Miss reclaimed a two-run lead at 4-2 that would hold down the stretch.
Ole Miss and Tennessee will return to action at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field. It will be senior day for the Rebels who will honor five seniors in pregame ceremonies. The game will be televised by SportSouth.
Wise’s walk off single lifts Arkansas to win
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Jake Wise broke a 4-4 tie with a two-out single to center field in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift No. 20 Arkansas to a 5-4 win over Auburn on Friday night at Baum Stadium.
Arkansas improves to 35-16 with the win and 13-13 in conference games, while Auburn drops to 27-23 and 11-15 in league play.
With the game tied at four entering the bottom of the ninth inning, the Razorbacks put together a run-scoring rally for the walk-off win. Matt Reynolds led off the inning with a single. After Brian Anderson struck out on a sacrifice bunt attempt for the first out, Bo Bigham reached on a fielding error by the Auburn second baseman to put runners on first and second. A ground out to the pitcher by Derrick Bleeker put runners on second and third with two out. After falling behind 0-2, Wise chopped a single to center field, scoring Reynolds from third with the game-winning run.
Along with Wise’s game-winning hit and RBI, Dominic Ficociello went 1-for-3 with his fifth homer of the season, two RBI and two runs scored. Reynolds had a hit and scored twice.
Auburn’s Ryan Tella led the Tigers at the plate with a three-hit performance with a RBI and a run scored. Jay Gonzalez went 2-for-4, while Patrick Savage hit a solo homer, his third of the season.
Arkansas reliever Colby Suggs (5-0) earned the win out of the bullpen. Suggs gave up a run on four hits and struck out three in 2.1 innings.
Auburn pitcher Slade Smith (3-5) took the loss. Smith allowed an unearned run on two hits in 1.2 innings.
Cade Lynch also pitched well out of the Arkansas bullpen, throwing 3.2 innings and allowing two runs, one earned, on three hits with a pair of strikeouts.
Each starter picked up a no decision in the game. Arkansas starter Randall Fant gave up a run on three hits and fanned two in three innings, while Auburn starter Daniel Koger allowed three runs, two earned, on two hits in six innings of work.
The Razorbacks drew first blood with two runs in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, Jacob Mahan reached on a fielding error by the first baseman and was along for the ride on Ficociello’s two-run blast over the Arkansas bullpen in left field.
Auburn got on the board with a run in the top of the fourth. Tella began the inning with a bunt single and then moved to second on a balk. Bryant and Savage were hit by pitches to load the bases with nobody out. Arkansas then went to Lynch, who got Glevenyak to hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Tella. The Razorbacks would get out of the inning without allowing any further damage as Lynch got Blake Austin and Bobby Andrews to strike out to end the inning.
Auburn took the lead with two runs in the top of the fifth. Mitchell Self drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Gonzalez. A balk moved Self to third. Creede Simpson walked to put runners at the corners. Tella then reached on a bunt to the pitcher, which scored Self from third. Simpson was able to move up an extra base after Lynch’s throw to first was wild, putting runners at the corners. Justin Bryant’s sacrifice fly down the right field line brought home Simpson to put the Tigers in front.
Arkansas regained the lead with two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Back-to-back walks to begin the inning by Ficociello and Reynolds put runners at first and second. With one out, a wild pitch allowed each runner to move up a base. The Auburn catcher attempted to throw Reynolds out at third, but his throw was high, allowing Reynolds to score and advancing Ficociello to third. Another wild pitch scored Ficociello to put Arkansas in front 4-3.
Just as quickly as Arkansas had taken the lead, Auburn tied things up in the top of the eighth when Savage led off the inning with a solo homer into the Arkansas bullpen down the left field line. The game would stay tied at four until Wise’s heroics in the bottom of the ninth.
Arkansas and Auburn conclude the three-game series on Saturday afternoon with first pitch set for 2:05 p.m. The Razorbacks will start sophomore right hander Nolan Sanburn (3-1, 2.43), while Auburn has not announced a starter. Arkansas seniors Sam Bates, Bo Bigham and Tim Carver will be honored in a ceremony before the game.
Gausman Fires Complete Game to Lead No. 3 LSU to 2-1 Win Over Vanderbilt
BATON ROUGE, La. - Sophomore right-hander Kevin Gausman fired LSU’s first complete game of the season Friday night to lead the third-ranked Tigers to a 2-1 win over Vanderbilt in Alex Box Stadium.
The Tigers (39-11, 17-8 SEC) clinched at least a share of the SEC Western Division title and a first-round bye in the SEC Tournament with the victory. Vanderbilt dropped to 24-25 and 11-14 in the league.
Game 2 of the series is slated for 7 p.m. Saturday and will be televised on SportSouth/Fox Sports Houston. Freshman right-hander Aaron Nola will take the hill for LSU and Vanderbilt will counter with junior left-hander Sam Selman.
LSU improved to 14-4 in one-run games and 11-3 in SEC games decided by one run.
“Kevin Gausman delivered a brilliant outing tonight; he was just phenomenal on the mound,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “He knows how to get it done, and he responds to challenges by getting stronger as the game goes on. He demonstrated tonight, as he has all season, why he is one of the best pitchers in the country.”
Gausman struck out 11 Commodores and retired the side in order in five of his nine innings of work. The complete game was the second of his career – his first came on May 13, 2011 versus Tennessee, which was also the last time an LSU pitcher turned in a complete game.
The right-hander allowed one run Friday night with one walk and five hits in a dominating performance. The 11 strikeouts for Gausman marked the fifth time this season he has struck out 10 or more batters.
Vanderbilt starter TJ Pecoraro (0-4) also had and impressive outing and allowed two runs on five hits with one walk and four strikeouts in eight innings of work.
LSU put its only runs on the board in the bottom of the second inning. Leftfielder Raph Rhymes led off the inning with an infield single and moved to second on designated hitter Grant Dozar’s single to left. Catcher Ty Ross plated Rhymes on a perfectly executed hit-and-run and Hanover added a sacrifice fly to score Dozar.
“I thought we really executed well in that second inning,” Mainieri said. “Ty Ross gave us a great at-bat and drove in a huge run, and Hanover crushed the ball, but their centerfielder (Connor Harrell) made a great catch to keep us from having a bigger inning.”
Vanderbilt scored its only run in the top of the third. Third baseman Vince Conde scored on an infield single by rightfielder Mike Yastrzemski.