SEC Baseball Today: May 17 > SEC > NEWS
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    SEC Baseball Today: May 17

    BASEBALL RESULTS
    Florida 6, Auburn 0
    Arkansas 8, Tennessee 0
    Vanderbilt 3, Ole Miss 0
    Mississippi State 3, Kentucky 1
    Georgia 8, Alabama 4
    LSU at South Carolina, ppd.

    Randall Twirls Three-Hit Shutout As No. 3 Florida Claims Opener At Auburn, 6-0
     
    AUBURN, Ala. – Junior Hudson Randall (Atlanta, Ga.) held the SEC’s top offense to three singles for his third career complete game and senior Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) became the school’s all-time hit leader as No. 3 Florida (39-15/17-11 SEC) captured the opening game of its weekend series with a 6-0 shutout of Auburn (29-25/12-16 SEC) on Thursday night at Plainsman Park. It marked the first time that the Tigers had been held scoreless this season.
     
    In other SEC action tonight, Mississippi State upended Kentucky, 3-1, bringing the Gators to one game behind the Wildcats (41-13/18-10 SEC). LSU (40-13/17-10 SEC) and South Carolina (38-13/17-9 SEC) were rained out and will play a doubleheader tomorrow afternoon in Columbia. The Gamecocks now sit atop the league standings by a half game.
     
    Randall (7-1) captured his fourth-straight outing and delivered the first complete game by a Gator pitcher since he went the distance on April 1, 2011, against Tennessee. The righty registered three strikeouts and issued one walk, only surrendering base-hits in the first, fifth and eighth innings. In his last four starts, Randall has defeated No. 17 Arkansas, No. 3 Kentucky, No. 25 Mississippi State and Auburn and is 4-0 with a 1.88 earned run average over 28.2 innings.
     
    Tucker went 3-for-4 and established a new career hit record with a two-run homer in the second inning, while junior Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) chipped in with a 3-for-4, three-run performance and junior Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) was 2-for-4 and matched the UF single-season record with his 23rd double. The Orange and Blue has now claimed its last six league series openers and six of its 10 hits on the night went for extra bases, courtesy of four doubles, a triple and Tucker’s round-tripper.
     
    The Gators loaded the bases with none out against senior Jon Luke Jacobs (5-3) in the first inning and scored the game’s opening run on a sacrifice fly by senior Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.). Fontana had with a leadoff single through the left side of the infield, Tucker was hit by a pitch and Zunino singled into right field to fill the bases. Jacobs retired junior Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) on an infield pop-up and a fly ball to the triangle in left field by Pigott, his fifth sac fly of the year, brought home Fontana. After a wild pitch advanced both runners into scoring position, Jacobs had freshman Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) fly out to left field to keep the deficit at a run.
     
    UF expanded its lead to 5-0 in the second on an RBI triple by freshman Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.), a sacrifice fly by junior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) and a two-run homer by Tucker that enabled him to become the Gators’ all-time hit leader. Freshman Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) was plunked to begin the inning and came around to score on Tobias’ line-drive off the right-field wall that resulted in his second three-bagger of the season. Ramjit plated Tobias with his second sac fly to straightaway center field and Fontana collected his second hit of the night with a double into right center. Tucker stepped to the plate and tagged a 1-1 offering from Jacobs over the right-field wall for his 13th homer and his 320th career hit to surpass the previous record of 319 held by Mark Ellis (1996-99). When Tucker broke Brad Wilkerson’s school record for career RBI earlier this season he did it with a round-tripper against William & Mary on Feb. 25. Sophomore Jay Wade replaced Jacobs (1.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R) and had Zunino ground out before hitting Johnson for the Gators’ third HBP of the game.  
     
    Zunino delivered Florida’s third sacrifice fly of the outing in the fourth to bring in Fontana for a 6-0 advantage. Fontana walked with one down and moved into scoring position with his 11th stolen base in 11 attempts this year. Tucker singled into left field for runners on the corners and Zunino lofted his team-leading eighth sac fly to right to bring home Fontana with his third run.
     
    Randall retired 10-consecutive Auburn batters before senior Justin Bryant reached on an error by Tobias to start the home part of the fifth. A fielder’s choice by junior Patrick Savage forced Bryant at second base and sophomore Dan Glevenyak poked a single up the middle for the Tigers’ first hit since the opening frame. Randall pitched out of trouble by having sophomore Blake Austin hit into an inning-ending 5-3 double play.
     
    Zunino matched the school’s single-season record with his 23rd double with one down in the ninth, equaling his output from 2012. Florida held a 10-3 advantage in hits and will send Johnson (5-4, 4.29) to the bump in tomorrow’s game two at 7 p.m. ET against Tiger freshman Daniel Koger (3-4, 2.76). The contest can be heard on Country 103.7 The Gator with Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell.



    Early offense, strong pitching leads Arkansas to win
     
    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Arkansas scored seven runs over the first three innings and Razorback pitchers DJ Baxendale and Tyler Wright took care of the rest, combining on a two-hit shutout, as Arkansas defeated Tennessee, 8-0, on Thursday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
     
    The Razorbacks improve to 37-17 and 14-14 in Southeastern Conference play, while Tennessee drops to 24-29 and 8-20 in league competition.
     
    Arkansas used some early offense to take a commanding lead in the series opener. The Razorbacks scored seven times and hit four homers in the first three innings. Arkansas finished the game with 12 hits, its 23rd double-digit hit game this season.
     
    On the mound, Baxendale and Wright combined on a two-hit shutout, Arkansas’ eighth shutout of the season. The eight shutouts is tied for the sixth most in a season in program history and the most since the 1986 team also had eight shutouts.
     
    Derrick Bleeker hit a pair of homers, his second two-homer game of the season, and finished the game with three hits and three RBI. Along with his two homers, Bleeker also had a double and drew a walk. Matt Reynolds also had three hits in the win, including his seventh homer of the season. Reynolds extended his reached base streak to 37 straight games and his hitting streak to 10 straight games. Brian Anderson hit his first collegiate homer and had two hits with a RBI. John Clay Reeves also added two hits in the victory.
     
    Tennessee managed just two hits in the loss with Will Maddox and Davis Morgan accounting for one hit each.
     
    Baxendale was fantastic on the mound in his final start of the regular season, earning the win to improve his record to 7-3. Baxendale tossed eight shutout innings, allowing just two hits and striking out seven in the win. The junior right hander did not allow his first hit of the game until the sixth and only allowed one runner to reach second base. Baxendale opened the game by retiring the first nine batters he faced and then set down eight straight later in the game.
     
    Wright came in and finished the shutout, throwing a hitless ninth inning with a strikeout.
     
    Tennessee starter Dalton Saberhagen (5-3) was handed the loss. Saberhagen gave up seven runs on seven hits in two-plus innings of work.
     
    Arkansas wasted little time jumping on Saberhagen, scoring a pair of runs in the top of the first. After the first two batters were retired, Reynolds and Anderson launched back-to-back homers to put the Razorbacks on top 2-0.
     
    The Razorbacks tacked on four more runs in the top of the second. Bleeker led off the inning with his first homer of the game, a solo shot over the wall in left field. Reeves then singled into left field, but was retired on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Mahan. A walk to Vinson and a single to left field by Carver loaded the bases with one out. A sacrifice fly to left field by Ficociello scored Mahan to stretch the lead to 4-0. Reynolds brought home two more runs with a double over the center fielder’s head to make the score 6-0.
     
    Arkansas added another run in the visitor’s half of the third when Bleeker began the inning with his second homer of the game, this one over the center field fence to give the Razorbacks a 7-0 lead.
     
    The Razorbacks closed the scoring with a run in the top of the eighth. After the first two batters of the inning were retired, Anderson singled and Bo Bigham drew a walk to put runners on first and second. Bleeker lined a double into the left field corner, scoring Anderson.
     
    Arkansas and Tennessee continue the three-game series on Friday with first pitch set for 6 p.m. The Razorbacks will start sophomore right hander Ryne Stanek (6-3, 2.99), while the Volunteers will start sophomore right hander Nick Williams (3-4, 3.61).



    Vandy, Pecoraro blank Rebels

    WATCH GAME HIGHLIGHTS HERE
     
    Nashville, Tenn. – Vanderbilt shutout No. 22 Ole Miss 3-0 Thursday night at Hawkins Field behind starting pitcher T.J. Pecoraro.
     
    The sophomore right-hander cruised through nine innings to become the first Commodores (27-25, 14-14) pitcher since Richie Goodenow in 2010 to pitch a complete game shutout. Pecoraro (1-4) allowed only three Rebels (34-20, 14-14) to reach scoring position all night throwing first pitch strikes to 27 of the 31 batters he faced and recorded seven one-pitch outs.
     
    The defense picked up Pecoraro in the sixth inning after Tanner Mathis led off the inning with a double. A sacrifice bunt moved Mathis over to third and an error put runners on the corners with one out. Matt Snyder lifted a fly ball into left field that Jack Lupo caught for the second out then gunned down Mathis trying to score from third to end the inning. Pecoraro cruised from there facing 10 batters over the final three frames to complete his second straight game and earn his first win of the season.
     
    The Vanderbilt offense scratched out a run in the fourth off Ole Miss starter Bobby Wahl before tacking on two more runs in the sixth. In the fourth the Commodores plated a run without the benefit of a hit. Mike Yastrzemski reached first on a one-out walk then stole second and looked to be picked off second base before swiping third. Gomez knocked him in on a groundout to shortstop for a one-run Vandy lead. Vince Conde led off the sixth with a double off the left field wall before coming around to score on an error by the shortstop. Tony Kemp reached on the error and scored two batters later when Gomez singled through the left side.
     
    Gomez, Conde and Conrad Gregor were the only three Commodores to record hits in the win as the Dores set a season-low with three hits. Ole Miss was limited to just five hits with Pecoraro issuing no walks. Wahl (6-2) took the loss for the Rebels giving up three runs, two earned, on three hits with five strikeouts.
     
    The shutout victory was the fifth of the season for the Commodores with the win matching a season-best three-game winning streak.
     
    Vandy returns to action tomorrow night with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m. Sam Selman (8-3) gets the nod for the home team against Rebels’ right-hander Mike Mayer (4-2).



    MSU Baseball Upsets Kentucky

    STARKVILLE, Miss. – Junior right-handed pitcher Chris Stratton became Mississippi State’s first 10-game winner in 10 seasons as the Baseball Bulldogs knocked off No. 2 Kentucky 3-1 in the opening game of a three-game Southeastern Conference weekend series Thursday night at Dudy Noble Field.
                    
    Stratton improved to 10-1 with 6.1 innings of six-hit baseball. MSU pitchers have now recorded 18 quality starts, with nine of those coming from Stratton. The Tupelo native also became the league’s first 10-game winner for this season. From an MSU standpoint, Paul Maholm last earned the distinction, when piecing together a 10-3 campaign in 2002.
                    
    With the victory, MSU improved to 32-21 overall and 14-14 in league play. The Bulldogs are presently in a four-way tie for sixth place in the overall standings and a three-way tie for second place in the Western Division standings. Former league leader Kentucky fell to 41-13 and 18-10. The Wildcats trail South Carolina by percentage points in the conference standings. South Carolina was rained out Thursday night against LSU.
                    
    The Bulldogs have now matched last season’s conference win total with Thursday night’s victory. MSU won its series opener seven times during 10 league weekends this season.
                    
    “This is the game we have to win and this is the manner in which we have to win it – one-run and two-run games with the pitching and defense,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “I thought Strat was very, very good but they did a nice job of covering pitches tonight and shoving them into the outfield.”
                    
    MSU struck first with two runs in the fourth inning. Trey Porter began things when he reached as a one-out hit batsman. Mitch Slauter followed with a double down the left field line. Brent Brownlee reached as a hit batsman to load the bases. Wes Rea followed with a two-run single back through the left side of the infield. Brownlee was put out on the play but the home folks had given Stratton all the offense he would need.
                    
    “For the most part, I thought we took better swings and made them make some plays defensively,” Cohen said.
                    
    Bouncing back from his first league defeat of the season last week at Florida, Stratton struck out eight and walked none, while giving up only a sixth-inning run. In relief, Ross Mitchell sparkled again. Mitchell retired the first seven batters he faced before a two-out single by UK in the ninth inning. Jonathan Holder needed four pitches for the game-ending strikeout and his fifth save.
                    
    Kentucky erased the shutout in the sixth inning. Brian Adams started things with a one-out single. After a lineout, Luke Maile followed with an RBI-double. Stratton got the strikeout to snuff that threat.
                    
    The Bulldogs played errorless ball all night and got excellent outfield play from the trio of Tyler Fullerton, Hunter Renfroe and Brent Brownlee.
                    
    In the home half of the sixth inning, the Bulldogs plated a critical insurance score when Sam Frost executed the perfect squeeze bunt, bringing home Slauter, who began the inning with a hit. Rea also had his second hit of the contest in that at-bat, while Brownlee also did his job in the bunting game in that frame.
                    
    MSU finished with eight hits, including Rea’s 16th multi-hit game and Slauter’s ninth multi-hit game. Adam Frazier also had a hit and has reached safely in 43 of the Maroon and White’s 53 games this season.
                    
    “I think when my swing is where it needs to be, that’s what it’ll look like,” Rea said. “My swing is back and hopefully I can carry this over to the rest of the season.”
                    
    Kentucky finished with seven hits. Maile and J.T. Riddle each had two hits for the Wildcats. Starting pitcher Taylor Rogers (6-4) was lifted in the sixth inning and took the loss.
                    
    “We’re as positive as you can be right now,” Stratton said. “With a series-opening win, they are in a hole and we got a good one in Kendall Graveman going tomorrow, too. They are a good low-ball hitting team and they were really going down to get them tonight. This was a big win.”
                    
    The series resumes with a 7:06 p.m. start Friday. SportSouth will have a regional telecast. In pregame ceremonies, MSU senior baseball players Caleb Reed and Brownlee will be honored, as well as managers G.T. McCullough and Tim Statz.



    Georgia Cruises To 8-4 Road Win Over Alabama

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alex Wood pitched seven strong innings and a trio of Bulldogs had three hits apiece to lead Georgia to an 8-4 road win over Alabama Thursday.

    Georgia (31-22, 14-13 SEC) erupted for five runs on five straight hits in the second off Spencer Turnbull. With one out, freshman designated hitter Jared Walsh, senior Colby May (3-for-5) and Conor Welton loaded the bases with three singles. Then junior third baseman Curt Powell (3-for-5), who leads the team and ranks eighth in the SEC in batting at .346, notched a run-scoring single. Junior shortstop Kyle Farmer (3-for -6) cleared the bases with a three-run triple. Freshman Hunter Cole brought Farmer home with a sacrifice fly to cap the scoring for the Bulldogs. It was Powell’s first hit with the bases loaded this season in nine at bats. Farmer notched his second three-run triple of the week, delivering one this past Tuesday in the win over East Tennessee State in Athens.

    Alabama (19-34, 7-21 SEC) got one run in the bottom of the second thanks to a two-out RBI-triple from James Tullidge. Catcher Brett Booth was on after a base hit and Tullidge worked the count full and fouled off three pitches before making it 5-1. Wood retired Andrew Miller to send it to the third. In the fourth, Alabama went to the bullpen, bringing in freshman Justin Kamplain. Turnbull allowed five runs on seven hits with a walk and two strikeouts to fall to 2-6.

    Alabama threatened in the sixth taking advantage of a couple of miscues by Wood who made his first error on the year on a potential double play ball and later in the frame was called for his first balk. However, he battled back to register his team-leading seventh pickoff, getting Taylor Dugas at second and collecting two more strikeouts to keep the Bulldogs in front 5-1.

    In the bottom of the eighth, Georgia went to its bullpen as junior Blake Dieterich came on for Wood who allowed just one run on six hits with no walks and eight strikeouts in seven innings to move his record to 7-2. Last week, Wood pitched a complete game against fourth-ranked South Carolina. The Crimson Tide scored on an unearned run in the frame to cut the deficit to 5-2. Kamplain provided five scoreless innings of relief and had a career-high six strikeouts as Alabama looked to Case Nixon in the ninth. The Bulldogs responded with two runs on three hits to build their lead back up to 7-2. Senior Levi Hyams reached on a one-out double and after a walk to Peter Verdin, he scored on a base hit by freshman designated hitter Jared Walsh. May notched his third hit of the night, an RBI-single to bring in DeLoach and Alabama went back to the bullpen in Adam Windsor. After a double steal, Georgia added another run on a wild pitch to make it 8-2.  The Crimson Tide scored two runs on three hits off Bryan Benzor and br
    ought the tying run to the on deck circle before freshman closer Pete Nagel came on to register the final out for his third save.

    “It all started with Alex Wood tonight; he was tremendous and didn’t walk a batter for the second straight SEC start and we got a big inning early that helped out,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “We had a chance to extend it a few times and then got those final three runs in the ninth and that was important. We’re in a good spot, but we still have to take care of business the rest of the series. Our bullpen is in good shape and Pete picked up another save. Curt (Powell), Kyle (Farmer) and Colby (May) all had three hits and look out for freshman Jared Walsh. He had some good at bats too.”

    The series continues Friday with first pitch slated for 7:35 p.m. ET.



    South Carolina-LSU Game Postponed

    Columbia, S.C. –The South Carolina-LSU baseball game scheduled for Thursday, May 17 has been postponed due to rain in the Columbia area.  The two teams will play a doubleheader on Friday, May 18.  First pitch for game one is set for 2:30 p.m.  Following the conclusion of the game, the stadium will be cleared.  The second game is scheduled for 7 p.m.  Both games are scheduled for nine innings and can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”  Both games will be streamed at GamecocksOnline.com.  The second game will also be televised by Cox Sports Television.

    Tickets for Thursday’s game will be honored for only the first game of Friday’s doubleheader.  After the stadium clears, tickets for the regularly scheduled Friday evening game will be honored for only game two of the doubleheader.

    Fans using the paid parking lots must pay the $10 or $5 for the 2:30 pm game.  If they leave before the start of the second game, upon exit, if they show receipts for Thursday and Friday, they will be refunded for the Thursday night game.