SEC Baseball Today: May 18 > SEC > NEWS
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    SEC Baseball Today: May 18

    LSU 5, South Carolina 2
    South Carolina 5, LSU 4
    Florida 10, Auburn 1
    Arkansas 10, Tennessee 3
    Alabama 4, Georgia 0
    Vanderbilt 6, Ole Miss 2
    Mississippi State 4, Kentucky 3

    Tigers Move Into Tie for SEC Lead with 5-2 Win Over South Carolina
    COLUMBIA, S.C. – Sophomore right-hander Kevin Gausman fired his second consecutive complete game Friday to lead fourth-ranked LSU to a 5-2 win over top-ranked South Carolina in the first game of a doubleheader at Carolina Stadium.
    LSU improved to 41-13 overall and 18-10 in the SEC. The Tigers are tied with Kentucky for first place in the overall SEC standings. South Carolina dropped to 38-14 overall and 17-10 in league play.
    Game 2 of Friday’s doubleheader will begin at 6 p.m. CT, and it will be televised by Cox Sports Television. The series concludes at 1 p.m. ET (Noon CT) Saturday, and the game will be televised by ESPNU.
    Gausman (9-1) limited the Gamecocks to two runs on five hits in nine innings with two walks and six strikeouts. South Carolina left-hander Michael Roth (5-1) suffered his first loss of the season, allowing three runs on 10 hits in eight innings with four walks and four strikeouts.
    Catcher Jordy Snikeris paced the Tigers’ 12-hit attack in Game 1 by going 2-for-4 at the plate with a two-run homer and three RBI.
    LSU took  a 1-0 lead in the first inning when shortstop Austin Nola led off the game with a singled and later scored on a two-out single by Snikeris.
    The Tigers increased the lead to 2-0 in the fourth when second baseman JaCoby Jones singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by designated hitter Casey Yocom and scored on an RBI single by centerfielder Arby Fields.
    South Carolina narrowed the gap to 2-1 in the fourth on shortstop Joey Pankake’s RBI single,  but a solo homer by LSU first baseman Mason Katz in the top of the fifth gave the Tigers a 3-1 advantage. The homer was Katz’ 11th of the season and his second in consecutive games.
    LSU increased its lead to 5-1 in the top of the ninth on a two-run blast by Snikeris, his second homer of the season.
    Pankake’s two-out RBI single in the bottom of the ninth reduced the deficit to 5-2, but Gausman retired pinch hitter Kyle Martin with runners at first and second to end the game.

    Gamecocks Rally for 5-4 Win in Nightcap

    Columbia, SC - Trailing 3-0 entering the sixth inning, second ranked South Carolina stormed back with a three-run homer by Christian Walker and a RBI triple from Joey Pankake to take a one-run lead and Adam Matthews added a RBI double in the seventh inning as the Gamecocks held on for a 5-4 win over LSU on Friday evening in front of a sellout crowd of 8,242 fans at Carolina Stadium.  South Carolina is now 39-14 and 18-10 in the SEC while LSU drops to 41-14 and 18-11 in conference play.  The Gamecocks are one-half game ahead of Florida, Kentucky and LSU for first place heading into the final conference game of the year.  The rubber game of the series is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday and will be televised live on ESPNU with Clay Matvick and Kyle Peterson on the call.  It can also be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College including flagship station 107.5 FM, “The Game.

    Junior left-hander Tyler Webb hurled 1.2 scoreless innings of relief to pick up the win.  He is 5-0 on the year.  Junior right-hander Matt Price worked three innings and struck out seven batters while allowing one run on three hits to earn his ninth save of the season, his eighth save vs. a SEC team.  LSU starter Aaron Nola suffered the loss and is now 6-4 on the year.  He allowed four runs on seven hits in seven innings of work.

    Forrest Koumas started for the Gamecocks and came out very quickly striking out the first two batters he faced.  However after walking two straight batters, he would surrender a run in the first on Tyler Moore’s two-out RBI base hit up the middle.  He would get out of a bases loaded jam though as Adam Matthews made a great catch in deep right field up against the outfield fence to limit the Tigers to just one run.  

    LSU added single runs in the third and fifth inning.  With runners on first and third and one out, Alex Edward set down a sacrifice squeeze to score a run.  In the fifth inning, Moore drove in his second run of the night with a RBI single.

    The momentum shifted for the Gamecocks beginning in the top of the sixth inning as the rally started on defense.   With men on first and second and one out, LSU’s Mason Katz would fly out to left field and Tanner English showed off his arm gunning out the runner on second base and turning a double play.  English promptly led off the bottom of the sixth with a single into left field.  Evan Marzilli followed with a walk.  With one out and runners on first and second, Walker drove the first pitch to deep left field almost to the scoreboard tying the game up at 3-3.  Grayson Greiner would continue the strong offensive inning popping a two-out single over the second basemen’s head.  Pankake would then step in and knock a triple to the gap in right-center scoring Greiner and giving Gamecocks a 4-3 lead.

    Price entered the game with runners on first and second and no outs in the seventh inning.  LSU attempted to sacrifice but Alex Edward popped up to Greiner in foul territory for the first out. Price then set down the next two batters on strikeouts to end the threat.

    Carolina got an important insurance run in the eighth inning.  With Evan Marzilli on second base, Adam Matthews extended the lead with two runs on a RBI double to left field.

    LSU looked to mount a rally in the eighth inning with two outs and runners on the corners as Raph Rhymes connected with a two-out RBI bloop single over Vergason’s head at second base.   But Price kept LSU at bay with a strikeout of Tyler Moore ending the eighth inning.  

    Price worked a perfect ninth inning to seal the victory for the Gamecocks.

    South Carolina won despite being out-hit 11-8 in the contest.  Matthews tied a season-high in hits with a 3-for-4 day at the plate and he also stole two bases.  Rhymes, Moore, Edward and Tyler Hanover all has two hits apiece to lead LSU.

    No. 3 Florida Secures Series Win At Auburn, 10-1
    AUBURN, Ala. – A 12-hit, three-homer offensive attack and the dominant pitching of junior left-hander Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) powered No. 3 Florida (40-15/18-11 SEC) to a series-clinching 10-1 victory over Auburn (29-26/12-17 SEC) on Friday night at Plainsman Park. With the triumph, the Gators reached the 40-win plateau for the 21st time in school history and the school-record fourth-consecutive season under head coach Kevin O’Sullivan. The Gators will enter the final day of the regular season with a chance at the SEC title.
    Johnson (6-4) matched his season and career high with a seven-inning stint in which he allowed just two singles and an unearned run, with seven strikeouts and two walks. The Gator pitching staff has allowed five singles over the first two games to the league’s top offense. Junior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) (2-for-4 ) clubbed a three-run homer as part of a four-run first inning, senior Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) went 3-for-5 with a two-run dinger in the sixth, and junior Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) had a solo shot to start the third.
    The Gators sent nine batters to the plate in the first inning against freshman Daniel Koger (3-5) and tallied four runs on three hits, highlighted by a three-run homer by Ramjit. Senior Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) drew a one-out walk and Tucker followed with a ground-rule double to left field when the ball rolled underneath a bench and was ruled to be a dead ball by the umpires. Zunino walked on four pitches to load the bases and Johnson lofted a sacrifice fly to straightaway center field to score Pigott. Ramjit bashed Koger’s initial offering over the right-field fence to expand the lead to 4-0 on his fifth homer of the season, all in SEC play. Ramjit’s round-tripper was his first since April 15 at Tennessee.
    Florida tacked on three more runs on four hits in the third inning to build a 7-0 advantage. Zunino opened the frame with his SEC-leading 15th homer to right field to give the visitors a five-run cushion. Johnson then beat out an infield single, ending the night for Koger (2.0 IP, 6 R, 5 H). Ramjit greeted junior Slade Smith with a base-hit into center field and freshman Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) was plunked to load the bases with none out. Freshman Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) legged out an infield hit to score Johnson with the sixth run and freshman Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) hit into a 6-4-3 double play that brought in Ramjit.
    Johnson retired the first two Tigers in the home part of the stanza but then issued consecutive walks to sophomore Zach Alvord and sophomore Jay Gonzalez. A fielding error by Tobias on a grounder by senior Creede Simpson enabled Alvord to score but Johnson prevented further trouble by having junior pinch hitter Patrick Savage fly out to right field.
    Sophomore Ryan Tella reached on a throwing error by Turgeon to begin AU’s fourth and Johnson had senior Justin Bryant line out to left field. Tella moved into scoring position with a stolen base and Johnson responded by striking out junior Mitchell Self and having sophomore Blake Austin fly out.
    Sophomore Dillon Ortman replaced Smith (2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R) prior to the fifth and Johnson (2-for-3) led off with a single to right field. The right-hander had Ramjit fly out and induced an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play by Turgeon.
    The Gators increased their lead to 10-1 in the sixth, featuring a two-run bomb by Tucker. Shafer roped a one-out single into left center, took second on his third stolen base of the year and went to third on an errant relay throw by the AU catcher. Junior Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) earned a free pass for runners on the corners and a wild pitch from Ortman scored Pigott and enabled Fontana to occupy second. After Pigott flew out, Tucker belted his 14th homer to deep center field for his second of the series and the 55th of his career to match Brad Wilkerson (1996-98) for second on the school’s all-time list.
    Johnson departed after seven strong innings and the duo of sophomore Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.) and freshman Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) each threw a perfect frame to conclude the contest. Florida will send sophomore Karsten Whitson (Chipley, Fla.) (3-0, 3.33) to the mound against a Tiger hurler yet to be announced in tomorrow’s series finale at 2 p.m. ET. The Gators are one win shy of tying the school record for most regular-season wins (41 in 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998 and 2011). UF advanced to the College World Series in four of the previous five 41-win seasons (’91, ’96, ’98 and 2011).

    Arkansas clinches series with 10-3 win
    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Bo Bigham went 4-for-4 with a RBI and two runs scored to lead Arkansas to a series-clinching 10-3 victory over Tennessee on Friday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
    Arkansas improves to 38-17 overall with the win and 15-14 in league play. Tennessee is now 24-30 and 8-21 in league play after the loss.
    For the second straight night, the Razorback offense had a double-digit hit total, finishing the game with 14 hits. Eight of Arkansas’ nine starters had at least one hit in the win, led by Bigham’s four hit effort. Bigham had a pair of doubles and a pair of singles in his fifth-career four-hit game. Bigham also had a RBI and two runs scored. Brian Anderson, Sam Bates and Derrick Bleeker each had two hits in the win. Bleeker had a RBI, while Wise drove in two runs. Matt Reynolds saw his 10-game hitting streak come to an end, but he did extend his reached base streak to 38 straight games after getting hit by a pitch in the sixth inning.
    Tennessee had 10 hits in the loss, led by Wes Walker’s perfect 3-for-3 game at the plate. Chris Fritts and Zach Osborne each had a hit and a RBI for the Volunteers.
    Arkansas reliever Cade Lynch (3-1) picked up the win. Lynch threw 3.1 scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out four.
    Trent Daniel closed the game by tossing two scoreless innings.
    Razorback starter Ryne Stanek went just 0.2 of an inning and was lifted after getting hit in the right shoulder by a line drive off the bat of Drew Steckenrider. Stanek was later diagnosed with a bruised right shoulder.
    Tennessee starter Nick Williams (3-5) suffered the loss. Williams gave up eight runs on 11 hits and struck out three in 5.1 innings.
    Arkansas struck first with a run in the top of the second. Bates led off the inning with a bloop double into left-center field. A base hit to left by Anderson put runners at the corners with no outs. Williams picked off Anderson at first base, but he was able to stay in the run down long enough to allow Bates to score from third with the game’s first run.
    The Razorbacks tacked on two more runs in the top of the fifth. Bigham began the inning with a single and was able to come around and score on a one-out triple down the right field line by Matt Vinson. A wild pitch scored Vinson to stretch the lead to 3-0.
    Tennessee got on the board with a run in the bottom of the fifth. Maddox reached on a throwing error to start the inning and then advanced to third on a single by Osborne. Maddox came in to score on a double play off the bat of Morgan to trim the lead to 3-1.
    Arkansas broke the game open with six runs in the top of the sixth. With one out, Bates singled into right field. Anderson then doubled down the left field line and a fielding error by the Tennessee left fielder allowed Bates to score. Bleeker then scorched a single into center fielder to score Anderson from second base. A double to left field by Bigham put runners on second and third. Wise cracked a single to center field to score both runners and stretch the lead to 7-1. With two out, Wise moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a base hit to center by Tim Carver. Ficociello singled to put runners on the corners and a wild pitch scored Carver for the sixth run of the inning.
    The Razorbacks added another run in the seventh when Bates drew a leadoff walk and came around to score on a two-out double down the left field line by Bigham.
    Tennessee closed the scoring with two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Osborne drove in a run on a groundout to short, while Fritts had a RBI single to drive in the second run of the inning.
    The Volunteers were unable to get any closer as Daniel pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth inning to preserve the 10-3 win.
    The Razorbacks and Volunteers close the regular season on Saturday at 3 p.m. (CT) in the finale of the three-game series. Arkansas will start junior southpaw Randall Fant (2-2, 3.96), while Tennessee will start sophomore right hander Zack Godley (4-2, 3.50).

    Alabama Baseball Defeats Georgia 4-0 to Even Series
    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama starting pitcher Jon Keller tossed 7.0 scoreless innings, allowing five hits while walking none to go along with a career-high tying six strikeouts, to lead the Crimson Tide to a 4-0 victory over the Georgia Bulldogs on Senior Night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. With the victory Alabama improves to 20-34 overall and 8-21 in Southeastern Conference play, while Georgia falls to 31-23 and 14-14 in the SEC.
    “I thought tonight it was really one of our best games all year,” UA head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “Jon Keller was outstanding. He’s pitched really well, for the most part, all year and tonight he got a little run support, he was able to stretch an extra inning and he got support in the back of the game from Jake Hubbard. I thought it was a clean game and that we played really well all night long.”
    Keller (2-5) threw a career-high 106 pitches, 67 of which were for strikes, allowing just two Georgia batters to advance past first base, and none past second. Jake Hubbard pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth, striking out two while allowing no hits in his team-leading 29th appearance of the year.
    Taylor Dugas totaled a 2-for-4 night at the plate with one run scored and one RBI, including the 18th triple of his career, adding to his UA record set earlier this season. Dugas also notched the 232nd run of his career, placing him one run behind Brent Boyd for second place on the all-time career runs list.
    James Tullidge continued his hot hitting at the plate, registering a 2-for-3, one run effort to stretch his team-leading hitting streak to nine games. Ben Moore and Hunter Gregory each added a pair of hits and a collective three RBI on the night for the Tide.
    “You go right down the line and all the seniors contributed,” Gaspard said. “Hunter Gregory had some big hits, Dugas continues on contributing. I thought across the board the seniors played well and certainly contributed to the win tonight.”
    The Crimson Tide got on the scoreboard first, plating two runs in the bottom of the third inning to grab an early 2-0 advantage. Gregory led off with a single, stole second then scored on Dugas’ RBI- triple for the first run. Following an out, Moore singled home Dugas with a sharp line drive to right field to make it 2-0 after three frames of play.
    Alabama added to the lead an inning later, scoring two runs on the strength of a two-out, two-RBI double by Gregory to push the score to 4-0.
    From there Keller held UGA scoreless for the next three innings before giving way to Hubbard, who shut the door on the Bulldogs over the final two innings.
    Alabama will play its final game of the year on Saturday in the rubber match of the three-game series between the Tide and Bulldogs. Alabama will send right hander Charley Sullivan (2-3, 4.98) to the hill while UGA will counter with freshman righty Luke Crumley (3-2, 4.05). First pitch from Sewell-Thomas Stadium is set for 1:05 p.m.

    Dores down Rebels to clinch series
    Nashville, Tenn. – Vanderbilt clinched the series with a 6-2 win over No. 22 Ole Miss Friday night at Hawkins Field.
    The Commodores’ (28-25, 15-14) offense was held hitless through the first four innings and had just two singles entering the seventh inning. Anthony Gomez, however, opened the seventh with a single and was followed by singles from Conrad Gregor and Spencer Navin, whose single plated Gomez for the first run of the game. Riley Reynolds pushed the lead to two runs with a perfectly placed bunt single past the pitcher to score Gregor. With one out and runners on first and second, Vanderbilt pulled off a double steal with Navin and Reynolds moving to second and third. Catcher Will Allen’s throw skipped into left field to score Navin with Reynolds moving to third after a throwing error from the left fielder on the same play. Vince Conde then capped the rally with a single to score Reynolds.
    Four straight singles with two outs in the eighth put the Rebels (34-21, 14-15) away. Gomez picked up his second of the night and his 254th career hit to move into 10th place alone on Vanderbilt’s all-time hit list. Gregor followed with his third hit of the night before Navin knocked in both runs. Ole Miss made it exciting in the ninth, scoring a run on Matt Snyder’s single to right field and had two runners aboard when the game ended.
    Drew VerHagen (5-2) earned the win out of the Dores’ bullpen throwing only seven pitches and getting two outs. Starter Selman was solid over 6.1 scoreless innings, scattering six hits and fanning three. The left-hander worked out of jams in the first, second and third innings before settling down. Mike Mayers (4-3) took the loss giving up one run on three hits across six innings.
    Gregor led the Dores with three hits on the night pacing Vanderbilt’s 11-hit attack. Gomez and Navin each added two hits apiece with Navin driving in three runs. Tanner Mathis led Ole Miss with three hits in the loss.
    The win is Vanderbilt’s fourth in a row, marking the first time this season the Commodores have won more than three straight games. The series victory is also Vandy’s fourth straight dating back to the Kentucky series.
    The Commodores wrap up the regular season tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. Vanderbilt turns to lefty Kevin Ziomek (3-6) while Ole Miss sends right-hander R.J. Hively (5-4, 2.64) to the hill.

    MSU Baseball Clinches Weekend Series With No. 2 Kentucky

    STARKVILLE, Miss. – A three-run home run by Daryl Norris provided the margin of victory Friday night as Mississippi State knocked off No. 2 Kentucky 4-3 in an intense Southeastern Conference baseball game played at Dudy Noble Field.
    With the victory, the Bulldogs clinched their first series from the Wildcats since 2007. MSU completes the regular season with five league series wins, each coming during the final seven weeks of the campaign. The Bulldogs now have five wins against Top 10 opponents this season.
    Entering the final day of the SEC regular season, the Bulldogs are in a two-way tie with Arkansas for second place in the Western Division and a three-way tie for fifth place with Vanderbilt and Arkansas in the overall league standings. The win guarantees MSU a .500-or-better season inside league play for the first time since a 15-13 conference finish in 2007.
    “I can’t say enough about what the Bulldog Nation did tonight,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “They made noise and they showed up knowing what was at stake. Our kids love it and appreciate it because it means so much for us. It was a tournament type atmosphere and I love our fans for coming out and making it that way.”
    The Dudy Noble Field crowd of 4,116 roared its approval when Norris cranked his first Bulldog home run off the light pole in the Left Field Lounge area. The mammoth shot placed the hosts on top 4-2 in the home half of the fourth inning.
    From there, the MSU relief corps nailed the contest down. After UK climbed within a run in the fifth inning, the Wildcats managed one base runner over their final four at-bats. MSU pitching retired 15 of the final 16 batters faced in the contest.
    “I was a little surprised,” Norris said. “It was the first of my career so I honestly had no idea what to do when I hit it. It felt so good to hit something hard after I’ve been struggling for so long.”
    MSU starting pitcher Kendall Graveman was lifted in the fourth inning after the Wildcats grabbed a 2-1 lead. Nick Routt got the final out of that inning but was lifted after back-to-back hits to start the fifth inning. Luis Pollorena (4-0) retired six of seven batters faced to get the win. Caleb Reed worked a perfect seventh inning. Ross Mitchell worked a perfect eighth inning. Jonathan Holder worked a perfect ninth inning for his sixth save.
    Holder, a true freshman right-hander, has not allowed a run in 22.2 innings of work this season.
    “You can make moves when you have the personnel to be able to do it,” Cohen said. “With our pitching staff, we feel like we have the personnel to be able to do it. These guys make the decisions easy for you because they come in and get the job done. They work their tails off in practice.”
    MSU finished with nine hits, including Adam Frazier’s 24th multi-hit game of the season. A watch to Mitch Slauter and single by Sam Frost preceded Norris’ blast.
    Kentucky finished with seven hits. Michael Williams had two hits for the Wildcats. UK starter Jerad Grundy (4-3) was lifted in the fifth inning and took the loss.
    In the pregame, seniors Reed and Brent Brownlee were honored, as well as managers G.T. McCullough and Tim Statz.
    The Bulldogs and Wildcats close the regular season with a 2 p.m. start Saturday.