Razorbacks Rally, Defeat Sam Houston State, 5-4
|Arkansas 5, Sam Houston State 4
|Samford 5, Mississippi State 0
|Vanderbilt 8, UNC-Wilmington 2
|Ole Miss 6, TCU 2
|South Carolina 7, Manhattan 0
|LSU 4, Louisiana-Monroe 1
|Florida 4, Bethune-Cookman 0
|Kent State 7, Kentucky 6 (21 innings)
HOUSTON – Junior Matt Reynolds had three hits including a go-ahead RBI on a fielder’s choice to lead the University of Arkansas baseball team to a hard-fought, 5-4, victory over Sam Houston State in the first game of the NCAA Houston Regional on Friday afternoon at Reckling Park on the campus of Rice University.
“I thought both pitchers did a great job,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “DJ (Baxendale) came out and filled up the zone with strikes. Sam Houston State did a good job of battling. I thought that Caleb Smith threw an outstanding ballgame. He gave them a great opportunity to win the game. I’m real proud of our team for coming back. Obviously we had a very bad inning defensively and Sam Houston State hit some balls hard and took advantage. They never stopped believing and they came back and won the ballgame.”
The Arkansas victory improves the Razorbacks to 40-19 on the year and advances Arkansas in the winner’s bracket of the Houston Regional where they will play the winner of the Rice-Prairie View A&M game scheduled for later today. The winner’s bracket game will take place Saturday at 6 p.m. Sam Houston State falls to 38-21 on the year with the loss.
The Razorbacks have now won 40 games in four consecutive years and for the sixth time in 10 seasons under Coach Van Horn. Arkansas has won at least 40 games in a season 18 times in school history.
With the Razorbacks trailing 4-2 going to the bottom of the seventh, Arkansas regained the lead with three runs. Jake Wise led off the inning with a double down the left field line and Matt Vinson walked to put runners on first and second. A base hit to left by Joe Serrano loaded the bases with nobody out. Tim Carver tied the game with a two-RBI single into left field. A walk to Dominic Ficociello loaded the bases for the second time in the inning. Reynolds drove in the go-ahead run on a fielder’s choice ground out to shortstop.
“I think we all just banded together,” Carver said about Arkansas’ rally in the seventh inning. “Once we saw Wise hit a double, everyone’s confidence just went up. Hitting is contagious so we fed off of that, did our best to get on and keep things going.”
Sam Houston State was able to get a runner on base in both the eighth and ninth innings, but Brandon Moore was able to keep the Bearkats off the scoreboard as Arkansas held on for the 5-4 win.
Reynolds had three hits at the plate to lead Arkansas. Reynolds contributed a single in the first, a double in the fourth and a single in the sixth for his 19th multi-hit game of the season, tying him for the team high. The All-SEC first team choice also had a RBI and a run scored in the victory.
Carver drove in a pair of runs, both coming on his game-tying single in the seventh, and finished the game going 1-for-4. Wise went 1-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored. Vinson and Serrano each added a hit.
Eight different hitters had one hit each for the Bearkats. Jake Arrington had a pair of RBI, while Anthony Azer and Luke Plucheck each drove in one run each.
Moore (5-2) earned the win in relief. The sophomore right hander threw three scoreless frames, allowing just two hits.
Caleb Smith (8-6) took the loss for Sam Houston State. Smith gave up five runs, all earned, on seven hits and struck out two in 7.2 innings.
DJ Baxendale started for the Razorbacks and pitched well, but took a no decision. The junior right hander pitched six innings and allowed four unearned runs with six strikeouts. With his outing today, Baxendale has now made three appearances in the NCAA Tournament and has given up just one earned run in 20.1 innings for an ERA of 0.44.
Sam Houston State had a scoring chance in the top of the second, but was unable to get on the board. With one out, Kevin Miller blooped a single into shallow right field. After a strikeout of Ryan O’Hearn, John Hale was hit by a pitch and Jessie Plumlee walked to load the bases with two outs. Baxendale got Corey Toups to strike out swinging to end the inning.
Arkansas grabbed the lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth. Reynolds led off the inning with his second hit of the day, a double to right-center that popped out of the glove of the diving right fielder. A walk to Brian Anderson put runners on first and second with nobody out. Bo Bigham laid down a sacrifice bunt. The Sam Houston State pitcher attempted to throw Reynolds out at third, but the throw was late, loading the bases. Derrick Bleeker and Wise then hit back-to-back sacrifice flies to score a pair of runs and give the Razorbacks a 2-0 lead.
The Bearkats answered back with four runs in the top of the fifth. Hale led off the inning with a single, but was thrown out trying to advance to third after a single by Plumlee. Toups reached on a fielder’s choice, with Plumlee advancing to second on a throwing error by Carver at shortstop. Colt Atwood then reached on a fielder’s choice to second with Toups advancing to second on a fielding error by Bigham. Plucheck brought in the first run of the day for SHSU on a fielder’s choice ground out to third with Atwood being retired at second on the play. A single to center field by Azar tied the game at two and put runners on first and third. Arrington then hit a fly ball to left. Bleeker misjudged the ball, coming in at first and then racing back to the warning track where the ball popped out of his glove and went for a triple that scored two runs and put the Bearkats in front 4-2.
Bulldogs Fall in Tallahassee Regional Opener
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – If every dog has his day, the bad news for the Mississippi State baseball team is Friday belonged to Samford.
In a first-round battle of Bulldogs at the Florida State-hosted Tallahassee Regional, Samford recorded its first-ever regional victory with a 5-0 shut out of No. 17 Mississippi State before a crowd of 3,154 at Dick Howser Stadium.
MSU (39-23) will face either Florida State (43-15) or UAB (32-28) in a noon EDT elimination game Saturday. The Bulldogs will now need four wins in three days to win a third straight regional tournament. MSU saw a six-game regional win streak snapped with Friday’s defeat.
“I thought Samford Samford did a great job today,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “The game reminded me a lot of a ballgame we played a couple of weeks ago against Central Arkansas. We didn't score in that game either. We didn't recognize pitches (Friday). I don't know if it was a focus issue."
Samford hit four home runs in Friday’s victory. The Southern Conference-based Bulldogs held only a 1-0 lead in the eighth inning before reaching a tiring Chris Stratton for two home runs in the eighth inning. Caleb Reed also allowed one in relief.
It was the second time this season Samford homered four times in one game. It was also the first time this season that MSU pitching had allowed three or more home runs in a game.
“They did a good job of just going down and getting pitches,” Stratton said. “It really reminded me of Kentucky, just the way they could go down and get it. They had a good plan and they executed it really well."
In the second inning, Samford grabbed all the offense it needed on a nation-leading 23rd home run by right fielder Brandon Miller.
The Maroon and White failed to answer as its best scoring opportunity went awry in the home half of the inning. A one-out walk to Demarcus Henderson opened the door. A single by Mitch Slauter followed. After a strikeout, Sam Frost reached as a hit batsman to load the bases. A popup on the infield snuffed that threat.
MSU would strand only five base runners the rest of the way as Samford starting pitcher Charles Basford was on cruise control. Basford was lifted after a leadoff walk in the ninth inning. While throwing a season-high 131 pitches, Basford (10-2) allowed five hits and no runs, with four walks and four strikes. C.K. Irby completed the contest for Samford.
Stratton (11-2) was touched for a pair of home runs in the eighth inning. After a leadoff out, Saxon Butler hit his 15th home run of the year. Later in the frame, a two-out walk to Miller preceded a two-run shot by Irby – his fifth of the season. In relief, Caleb Reed was touched for Christiaan Durdaller’s fifth home run of the season.
Stratton worked 7.2 innings, allowing six hits and four runs (all earned), with four walks and four strikeouts.
While being shut out in a regional or super regional game for the first time in 34 tries, MSU managed five hits. Slauter had two hits, while Adam Frazier had a single to run his hit streak to 13 games.
“Our kids are disappointed,” Cohen said. “The tournament goes on. We will have another opponent (Saturday) and we will have another opportunity to compete. Our kids are looking forward to that challenge."
Irby finished with three of Samford’s seven hits.
Dores run over Seahawks in NCAA opener
Raleigh, N.C. – Vanderbilt stole a season-best eight bases and used a stellar pitching performance to beat UNC-Wilmington 8-2 in the opening game of the NCAA Tournament Raleigh Regional Friday afternoon.
The Commodores (34-26) grabbed the lead in the third inning with a two-out rally. Mike Yastrzemski’s double to the left-center field gap ignited the rally before Anthony Gomez lifted a flair to center field that dropped in to score Yastrzemski for the first run of the game. Conrad Gregor lined a single into right field with Seahawks’ right fielder Tyler Molinaro coming up throwing to third base. The throw bounced off Gomez, who was sliding into third, and allowed him to score for a two-run Vandy lead.
The Dores blew the game open in the fourth, scoring four runs on one hit and stealing five bases in the frame. Riley Reynolds led off the inning with a double and moved to third on a wild pitch. Connor Harrell coaxed a walk to put runners on the corners for Jack Lupo. The VU left fielder dropped down a perfect safety squeeze bunt to score Reynolds for the first run of the inning. After a walk to Vince Conde, he and Harrell stole second and third. A groundout and error by first baseman Hunter Ridge scored Harrell from third base. Yastrzemski drove in Conde from third with a sacrifice fly to make it 5-0. Gomez drew a two-out walk to put runners on first and third base. With Gregor at the plate, UNC-Wilmington (38-22) pitcher Kelly Secrest threw over to first base to chase Gomez back to the bag. Kemp took off for home when Secrest threw to first, sliding into home plate for the fifth run of the inning as Gomez swiped second. Kemp’s steal of home is Vanderbilt’s second in the last three games. Gomez added to the lead in the sixth with a two-run single.
T.J. Pecoraro (2-4) was outstanding over 7.2 innings to earn the win. The right-hander dominated, scattering six hits with no walks and matching a career-best with eight strikeouts. The Seahawks’ only offense on the day came in the seventh inning when Thomas Pope blasted a two-run homer over the left field fence. Pecoraro cruised through the first six frames allowing only two base runners to reach scoring position, including Hunter Ridge who was thrown out at home plate by Yastrzemski to end the second inning. Pecoraro retired nine Seahawks in a row before Ridge singled in front of Pope’s homer. UNC-Wilmington starter Tyler McSwain (9-4) took the loss allowing six runs, two earned, on seven hits over 3.2 innings.
Gomez and Yastrzemski each had two hits to lead the Commodores. Gomez knocked in a game-high three runs to give him his team-best 15th multi-RBI game of the season. Gomez’s two hits give him 86 on the season and 263 for his career, which ties him with former teammate Aaron Westlake for eighth all-time at Vanderbilt. Ridge led the Seahawks with three hits.
Vanderbilt’s eight stolen bases in the win set a new season-high, topping the previous high of seven set against Florida in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament last Saturday. The Commodores have stolen 38 bases in 47 attempts in the team’s last 11 games led by Tony Kemp’s perfect 10-for-10 on the base paths.
The Dores advance in the winner’s bracket of the Raleigh Regional and will play the winner of North Carolina State-Sacred Heart Saturday night at 6 p.m. CT. Left-hander Sam Selman is scheduled to get the ball for the Commodores.
Rebels Rally Past TCU 6-2 To Open NCAA Tournament Play
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The upperclassmen set the table and a group of freshman finished things off in an eighth inning rally as Ole Miss (36-24) defeated TCU (36-20) in the opening game of NCAA Regional play at Texas A&M on Friday.
With the bases loaded in the eighth and the score knotted at two, freshman Auston Bousfield drew a full count walk to give Ole Miss its first lead of the game and Sikes Orvis followed it up with a two-RBI single up the middle as the Rebels claimed the win over the Horned Frogs.
Juniors Tanner Mathis and Alex Yarbrough, and senior Zach Kirksey all reached to load the bases with one out before the freshmen came up with the clutch plays to catapult the Rebels into the lead. Freshman catcher Austin Knight came up with the final RBI in the inning as Ole Miss plated four runs to grab the four-run lead.
"We played really well today, and it started on the mound," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "Bobby Wahl gave us a great effort and got deep into the game. We were very clean defensively and R.J. Hively just did what he's done for us the last half of the season over the last two innings.
"Tanner (Mathis) really kept the pressure on them all game," Bianco said. "He got things going for us in both of our innings where we rallied. Two freshmen were clutch in that big inning for us to break the game open. Sikes (Orvis) has been tremendous and really getting good swings off for us."
Wahl (7-3) picked up the win, allowing two runs on four hits with nine strikeouts and did not walk a batter in 7.0 innings of work. Hively then closed out the final two frames, allowing one hit with three strikeouts.
Brandon Finnegan (3-4) took the loss in relief for TCU, allowing two runs on one hit with a walk in the eighth inning. He did not record an out. Starter Preston Morrison allowed two runs on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts through 6.1 innings and left the game with the score tied to take no decision.
Mathis and Yarbrough and Andrew Mistone all posted two hits on the afternoon to lead the Rebel offense at the plate.
TCU got on the board first, using back-to-back singles to open the home half of the inning and put men at the corners before Kevin Cron grounded out to first to bring the lead runner home. Ole Miss would then get a pop out and a strikeout to end the inning, but TCU held the 1-0 lead.
Cron then hit a solo shot to open the fourth inning, taking an 0-2 count over the wall in left field to give the Horned Frogs a 2-0 lead on the Rebels.
Ole Miss got on the board in the sixth inning with an RBI triple to the wall in right center from Alex Yarbrough that scored Tanner Mathis and made it 2-1. Mathis reached on a single up the middle to start the inning. Matt Snyder then grounded out to second to bring Yarbrough home and tie the game at two.
The Rebels broke things open in the eighth inning, loading the bases with one out before Bousfield got things start with a walk to bring home Tanner Mathis and put Ole Miss in the lead. Sikes Orvis then delivered a single up the middle to drive in two more runs and the Rebels held a 5-2 lead as TCU went to the bullpen for the fifth pitcher of the day.
Ole Miss added a sixth run to the scoreboard a batter later when Austin Knight hit a grounder to second base that went through the wickets and scored Bousfield from third. The RBI ground ball made it 6-2 in favor of the Rebels before TCU would turn a double play to end the inning.
R.J. Hively then shut the Horned Frogs down over the final two innings to give the Rebels the win and advance to game two of the regional at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday night. Ole Miss will face the winner of Friday night's contest between host Texas A&M and Dayton.
Gamecocks Blank Manhattan, 7-0, in Columbia Regional
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina junior pitcher Colby Holmes pitched eight scoreless innings on Friday, as the Gamecocks shut out Manhattan, 7-0, in the second game of the 2012 NCAA Columbia Regional at Carolina Stadium.
Holmes (7-1) surrendered only a single in the eighth inning and fanned a career-high nine batters in eight innings of work to earn the win. He also did not have a walk and hit one batter. The game went into a lightning delay in the bottom of the eighth with two outs, preventing Holmes from completing the game.
With the victory, the Gamecocks improve to 41-17 on the season and advance to face rival Clemson on Saturday at 4 p.m. South Carolina has now won a NCAA-record 17 straight postseason games and is 9-0 all-time at Carolina Stadium in the postseason. The Gamecocks have also won 20 consecutive postseason games at home.
Manhattan drops to 33-26 on the year and will take on Coastal Carolina in an elimination game on Saturday at noon.
Jaspers starting hurler Taylor Sewitt (11-2), who had a no-hitter going through five innings, gave the Manhattan six solid innings of work before being pulled to begin the seventh. He allowed four runs and four hits and struck out three in the loss.
The Gamecocks collected seven hits on the night. Senior right fielder Adam Matthews went 2-for-4 with three RBIs to lead the way, while junior Christian Walker delivered a solo home run and freshman Tanner English contributed a two-run triple.
The pitchers controlled the first five innings, as the teams combined to have just five base runners during that stretch on four walks and a hit batter.
The Gamecocks broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth with a four-run outburst. Freshman Joey Pankake ripped a leadoff double to the gap in left center to break up Sewitt’s no-hitter. After Evan Marzilli singled and Walker drew a walk to load the bases with no outs, Matthews roped a single to left to drive in Pankake and Marzilli to give South Carolina a 2-0 advantage, ending Sewitt’s scoreless streak at 39 1/3 innings. English then smashed his team-high fourth triple of the season to right field to clear the bases and push the Gamecocks’ lead to 4-0.
Holmes continued to dominate the game into the eighth inning as he retired 18 straight batters from the last out of the second inning until two outs in the eighth, when Joe Rock broke up the no-hitter with a single to left field. However, Holmes bounced back to strike out the next batter to end the inning.
South Carolina added three insurance runs in eighth, including a leadoff solo home run just inside the foul pole in left by Walker, to build a 7-0 cushion.
Gamecock junior reliever Patrick Sullivan then entered in the ninth and worked a scoreless inning, including two strikeouts, to end the game.
The Gamecocks’ contest against Clemson will be televised on ESPNU on Saturday at 4 p.m. Live stats will be available at GamecocksOnline.com.
Nola Leads LSU into NCAA Winner's Bracket, 4-1
BATON ROUGE -- In front of the largest postseason crowd in Alex Box Stadium history, starting pitcher Aaron Nola (7-4) limited Louisiana-Monroe to one run on four hits to lead LSU into the winner's bracket, 4-1, on Friday night.
LSU (44-16), which advanced to face No. 2-seeded Oregon State on Saturday night at 7 p.m. CT, scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to break a 1-1 tie and secure the victory for Nola.
The Baton Rouge native had a career-high 10 strikeouts while matching his longest outing. He threw 118 pitches, 83 for strikes.
ULM (31-29) fell into the loser’s bracket where it will face No. 3-seeded Belmont at 2 p.m. CT on Saturday. The Warhawks will be the home team.
LSU third baseman Tyler Hanover drove in the game-winning runs with a two-RBI single to center field that scored Ty Ross and Alex Edward in the seventh. Aaron's brother Austin Nola, the Tigers senior shortstop, was 2-for-3 with two RBI.
“I have to tip my hat to ULM and to their pitcher Randy Zeigler,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “That was a tremendous ball game, it really was. That was NCAA postseason play at its best. I just thought it was an overall tremendous ball game. Aaron (Nola) and Randy were going after each other one pitch at a time. I think our defense might have made the difference in the game. They had a couple of missed plays, and we played flawlessly.”
After Nola struck out five of its first seven batters, ULM took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning when Taylor Abdalla singled to left, advanced to second on a groundout and scored on a two-out single by Les Aulds.
The Tigers struck back in the bottom of the frame when Arby Fields reached base on a fielder's choice and took two bases on a failed pickoff attempt. Fields scored on a sacrifice fly by Austin Nola to tie the game at 1-1.
Aaron Nola fought through a bases-loaded jam in the top of the seventh but coerced designated hitter Corben Green into a double play to end the threat.
In the bottom of the seventh, Ross singled off the glove of the shortstop and moved to third on Edward's single past second base. With the Warhawks' infield in and runners on second and third, Hanover chopped a single through the middle of the infield that scored both Ross and Edward. Leading 3-1, Austin Nola doubled to right-center field to drive in Hanover, giving his brother all he needed for his first postseason victory.
LSU's Chris Cotton threw a perfect ninth inning to earn his first save of the season.
Zeigler (5-7) took the loss despite a valiant effort. The former LSU hurler allowed four runs on five hits, walked one and had three strikeouts. The Tigers managed only two hits prior to the seventh inning.
“Our kids battled him hard against Randy,” Mainieri said. “Austin (Nola) in particular just absolutely crushed a couple of balls early in the game that I thought were going to be home runs except for the wind blowing in from left field. We had a handful of other balls that I thought we hit really hard that kept us at a 1-1 ball game there. Eventually, our kids just kept battling through. It just goes to show you how the break sometimes can go for you or against you. We had some good fortune tonight. We took advantage of it. It ended up being a good win for us.”
Both the paid (10.989) and actual (9,902) attendance were the largest in the postseason history of either the old or new Alex Box Stadiums.
LSU will be the home team against Oregon State.
Crawford Tosses 7th No-Hitter In NCAA Tournament History As No. 1 Florida Blanks Bethune-Cookman, 4-0
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Sophomore right-hander Jonathon Crawford (Okeechobee, Fla.) made his NCAA Tournament debut one to remember on Friday night, as he twirled the first no-hitter by a Florida pitcher in 21 years to lead the top-seeded Gators (43-18) to a 4-0 victory over fourth-seeded Bethune-Cookman (34-26) at McKethan Stadium.
Freshman Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) (3-for-4) drove in all four runs for the Orange and Blue with an RBI single in the second inning and a three-run homer in the fifth. With the triumph, UF will next face No. 24 Georgia Tech (37-24) in a winner’s bracket game at 7 p.m. on Saturday, while the Wildcats will meet the College of Charleston (37-21) in an elimination game at 1 p.m.
“What a way to start the Regional play,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “The guy to my right [Crawford] had a special night, it was a great night by Jonathon. We needed a good start from our starting pitcher. I thought their starting pitcher was going to be outstanding, and he was. I thought we did a good job getting his [Gonzalez] pitch count up. It is one of those games where we knew it was going to be tight. Bethune is always a very good team. It’s one of those teams, that when it pops up on the board, there is a feeling of a little bit of anxiety because they are very capable. We needed a special outing by Jonathon. I am very proud of Jonathon, but also very proud of our team.”
After pitching just 3.2 innings as a freshman last year, Crawford drew the starting assignment in Florida’s NCAA Tournament opener tonight and became the first Gator hurler to register a complete-game no-hitter since John Burke accomplished the feat in a 2-0 shutout of Furman on May 23, 1991, that was the Gators’ opener in the NCAA East Regional held at McKethan Stadium. Florida’s last combined no-hitter occurred on March 19, 1993, when the duo of Doug Brennan (7.0) and Chris Nelson (2.0) defeated Pace, 16-0.
Crawford (6-2), whose previous career-high stint was six innings against LSU on April 6, went the distance on 98 pitches (70 of them strikes) and faced the minimum of 27 batters. The righty issued a one-out walk to Wildcat freshman Jake Welch in the third inning, who was gunned down trying to steal second by junior catcher Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.). Crawford also benefitted from tremendous defensive plays by his teammates, including several by freshman third baseman Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) and a game-ending stab of a line drive hit by junior Carlos Delgado that required a leaping catch by Turgeon at second base. Crawford threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of 27 batters and totaled five strikeouts without permitting any runners to reach second.
“Last year, we left him off the roster in Omaha, and it was a very tough decision, but it was one that we felt like it needed to be made,” O’Sullivan said. “Jonathon was much improved this fall, very open-minded to changes and has worked extremely hard. I have been hard on him, and on top of that we have asked him to have multiple roles this year – Friday starter, Saturday starter and reliever. This is what coaching is all about – when you feel like you help a player get close to reaching his potential. I am awfully proud of him, where he came from, but he knows that when he comes here tomorrow it’s a whole new game.”
On facing the last batter in the top of the ninth and his performance on the night, Crawford said, “I was scared for a second that he (Carlos Delgado) would get a hit, but Casey [Turgeon[ jumped up and caught it. I was aware I had a no-hitter all along. It feels great, my defense played really well, so it feels great to come out there and get my team off to a great start.”
On when he realized that he could have a no-hitter Crawford exclaimed, “When I came in after the eighth, it kind of hit me. I was really excited and nervous at the same time. That’s when it really hit me that I could possibly have a no-hitter for the first time.”
The Gators put a pair of runners on base with one down in the first but B-CU senior Rayan Gonzalez (9-2) had junior Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) hit into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play. Senior Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) (2-for-4) had a one-out single into right field and Zunino followed with a four-pitch walk before Gonzalez worked out of the jam by inducing the ground ball.
Turgeon opened the scoring with an RBI single in the second inning. Senior Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) led off with a base-hit through the left side, moved into scoring position with his 10th stolen base in 11 attempts, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Turgeon’s base-hit into center field that raised his hitting streak to seven games. After a passed ball moved Turgeon to second, freshman Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) earned a free pass for a two runners aboard. Although junior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) attempted to sacrifice both of his teammates into scoring position with a bunt, Turgeon was thrown out at third base on a fielder’s choice. A fly ball by Tobias to straightaway center field pushed Shafer to third and Gonzalez jammed junior Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) on an infield fly to end the frame.
Crawford retired the first seven Wildcat hitters of the game before issuing a one-out walk to Welch, which would be the lone base-runner of the contest for Bethune-Cookman.
Turgeon collected his second hit with a single into left field to begin UF’s fourth and Shafer drew his second walk of the contest before Ramjit flew out to left field. Tobias waged a 13-pitch at bat with Gonzalez that featured nine-straight foul balls and wound up flying out to left field and Gonzalez struck out Fontana to keep the Wildcats down by a run.
Florida expanded its lead to 4-0 in the fifth inning a two-out, three-run homer by Turgeon into the left-field bleachers. Johnson roped a two-out single to right field and wound up on the third base after consecutive wild pitches by Gonzalez. A walk to Pigott gave the Gators runners on the corners and prompted a pitching change, as sophomore Bryan Rivera replaced Gonzalez (4.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R). Turgeon belted the southpaw’s first pitch out of the yard for his fourth homer of the campaign and first since March 18 against Vanderbilt.
Florida enjoyed an 8-0 advantage in hits in improving its all-time mark to 28-0 versus the Wildcats.
Kent State edges Kentucky 7-6 in 21 innings in NCAAs
GARY, Ind. -- In the second-longest game in the history of the college baseball postseason, No. 25 Kent State got an RBI triple in the top of the 21st inning and held on for a 7-6 win over No. 11 Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA Gary Regional, hosted by No. 14 Purdue on a bitterly cold Friday night at U.S. Steel Yard.
Kentucky (43-17) and Kent State dueled in a marathon of a game that marked the second-longest game in the history of the NCAA Tournament. In the longest game played in Southeastern Conference history, the Wildcats and the Flashes battled through over two complete games in a tilt that saw a total of 38 hits and 43 runners left on base, lasting six hours and 37 minutes. UK used all of its position players on the 27-man roster, with a total of 21 players seeing action in the contest.
After Kentucky rallied with a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to even the game at 4-4, Kent State plated a run in the top of the eighth to take a 5-4 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning. UK got an RBI single from Luke Maile to score the game-tying run and force the historic extra innings.
The teams then combined to toss shutout innings for the first eight frames in extra innings. Kent State took a 6-5 lead in the top of the 18th inning, before the Wildcats got an RBI double off the cavernous wall in centerfield to even the game in the bottom of the frame to force more extras. Kent State won the game in the 21st, as leadoff hitter Evan Campbell pushed a bunt single in between the mound and second base, scoring on an RBI infield single.
In a wildly quirky game, UK struck out a single-game school record 26 with catcher Michael Williams recording a staggering 28 putouts. UK closer Trevor Gott took his first career at bat in the 11th inning, a freshman UK reliever tossed nine innings in a loss and the Wildcats bullpen tossed a combined 17.1 innings in relief. The Wildcats also had three players suffer injuries in the game, including Maile, Lucas Witt and A.J. Reed - whose attempt at scoring from first base as the walk-off run in the 18th on a double was halted by leg cramps.
The Wildcats saw heroic efforts throughout the game, including the two-way performance of Reed. A native of Terre Haute, Ind., Reed started as the designated hitter, where he played the first nine innings of the game. After UK rallied in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game and force extra-innings and Maile had to be pulled with the injury, Reed moved over to first base, as Gott came on in relief to a career-high four shutout innings with a career-best six strikeouts. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder worked a career-long nine innings, allowing seven hits and two runs, walking two and striking out eight. He went 1-for-9 at the plate, with his single in the 18th helping UK even the game.
"Getting a guy that's been the DH for 12 (innings) and you go and get him and he gets nine innings, that's a special guy," Henderson said.
"I'm pretty tired. My body's just tired," Reed said. "We [ate] a couple hours before the game so it's been a while since you've had stuff in your body and all we really got was protein bars and Gatorade and water, so you're just not getting a lot of the protein and stuff that you need to keep yourself going. You just got to give it all you can, and that's what I did tonight."
UK got a career-high five-hit game from Zac Zellers, who added two walks in his nine plate appearances. Maile went 3-for-4 with two RBI, with Austin Cousino going 2-for-8, Thomas McCarthy adding a 2-for-9 game and Williams charting a 3-for-9 outing, also cranking a double off the wall in leftfield where he was later ruled out on appeal for not touching first base to leadoff the bottom of the 12th.
Matt Reida went 1-for-3 at shortstop with UK reserves Paul McConkey and Steven Hoagland seeing extended action, with Hoagland getting five at bats after collecting three in his first two years. McConkey also came painstakingly close to a big fly in the 18th inning, launching a pair of lasers over the rightfield fence that narrowly missed a homer during the same at bat, with one appearing to hit off the foul pole and another missing the foul pole by a few feet.
"I've never been a part of [this kind of game] myself personally," Williams said. "Definitely unique. You've got to grind, all of it. You just got to stick together as a team and it was definitely a good competitive effort by both teams we just came up short. It's a very emotional game. It's definitely tough, but our team has handled adversity all year and we'll come out ready to fight tomorrow. We'll forget about this game and we'll be fine because we'll be emotionally high again."
UK starter Taylor Rogers worked 3.2 innings, allowing six hits and four runs, walking two and striking out six. Senior Alex Phillips replaced him in the fourth inning, allowing the inherited runner to score and working 3.2 innings, allowing four hits and one run, walking three and striking out a career-high six.
Tim Peterson allowed the game-winning run to score in relief of Phillips, getting the final two outs in the eighth. Got then came in for a career-long outing, surpassing his previous career high of 2.1 innings with four shutout innings, allowing two hits and one walk, striking out a career-best six. Reed (5-3) then came on to toss a gem in the hard-luck loss.
"The things you think about are how proud you are of your bullpen," Henderson said. "That's pretty remarkable really. I'm not as good at math as I used to be, but it would appear 17 and a third of them came out of our bullpen. I probably don't need to elaborate on that. You feel good about your kids."
Kent State (43-17) senior southpaw soft tosser David Starn, the winningest pitcher in program history, worked six innings, allowing eight hits and four runs, walking one and striking out six. Casey Wilson picked up the win in relief of Starn, working 1.2 shutout innings, walking one and allowing one hit. Brian Clark came on to get Kent State out of a jam in the eighth inning, turning in 5.1 innings in relief, with three hits, one run and seven strikeouts. Josh Pierce worked 4.1 innings, allowing two hits and one run, walking four and striking out four. Michael Clark (3-4) got the win, tossing the final 3.2 innings, allowing four hits and striking out four.
UK will return to action in the 4 p.m. ET game on Saturday night, facing off with the loser of the Purdue vs. Valparaiso game at U.S. Steel Yard. 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.
Rogers started the game with a flawless top half of the first, retiring the side in order, striking out two in the process.
With one out in the bottom of the first, McCarthy singled up the middle off Kent State starter Starn to find his way to first. Starn lost control of an off speed pitch that would plunk Maile in the foot and put runners on first and second for Kentucky. Starn worked his way out of the early jam, striking out one and forcing a ground out to leave the first inning of play in the Gary Regional scoreless.
The Golden Flashes were the first on the board, bringing across one run in the top of the second. George Roberts led off the inning with a single up the middle before advancing to second as T.J. Sutton reached on a hit by pitch. Nick Hamilton followed with a single into left field to load the bases with no outs. Rogers forced a groundball but an infield error enabled Roberts to score from third and leave the bases loaded with no outs. Rogers worked his way out of the jam, using his curveball to strike two hitters out swinging and forcing a lineout to McCarthy at third. Rogers and the Wildcats minimized the damage, allowing just one runner to cross the plate and leave three stranded on base.
Starn retired the first two batters for the Wildcats in the bottom of the second, forcing a fly out to Roberts at first and one to Sutton in right field. Zellers singled through the left side with two outs but was picked off trying to take second. The Wildcats finished two trailing 1-0.
Rogers struck out the Golden Flashes' leadoff hitter in the top of the third for his fifth strikeout of the day but allowed Lyon to reach first on a walk. Lyon advanced to second on a wild pitch and Roberts reached first on a bloop single into rightfield to put runners on first and second with one out for the Golden Flashes. A strikeout of Sutton tallied Rogers' seventh strikeout of the day and a lineout to Zellers in right field ended the inning, leaving two more stranded for Kent State and holding onto a 1-0 lead.
Following a leadoff strikeout, Cousino got the Wildcats started in the bottom of the second, reaching on a hit by pitch. McCarthy recorded his second single of the day with a base hit through the left side of the infield. With Cousino and McCarthy both running, Maile singled into rightfield, scoring Cousino and moving McCarthy to third with one out. Reed grounded out to second, allowing McCarthy to score from second and give the Wildcats their first lead of the day at 2-1.
Sawyer Polen led off the top of the fourth with a single into left center. Kent State executed some small ball, laying down a sacrifice bunt to move Polen into scoring position at second and a drag bunt up the first baseline from Derek Toadvine put runners on first and third with one out for the Golden Flashes. Rogers walked Campbell to load the bases and a flinch on the mound from Rogers brought Polen home on a called balk. Runners on second and third, Jimmy Rider singled into left field to score Toadvine and leave runners on first and third with one out. Rogers forced a lineout to Reida at short to record the second out of the inning before handing the ball over to Phillips with two outs and runners on first and third. As the first batter to face Phillips, Roberts knocked an RBI double down the left field line to score Campbell and leave runners on second and third with two outs. Phillips walked Sutton to load the bases but left the three baserunners stranded after Kent State reclaimed the lead at 4-2.
Starn retired the first two batters in the bottom of the fourth before surrender a free pass to Zellers. Reida drilled a line drive over the shortstop for a two-out single but the two baserunners were left stranded as Starn struck out the final out of the inning.
Following a leadoff walk, Phillips breezed through the Kent State lineup in the top of the fifth, striking out two and forcing a lineout to Maile at first.
The Wildcats got one back in the bottom of the fifth, started by a single into left field from Maile. With two outs and Maile on first, Williams doubled into right center to give Kentucky two runners in scoring position. With Riddle up, Starn lost control of a pitch and Williams was able to come across on a wild pitch to cut Kent State's lead to one run at 4-3 through five.
Phillips retired the first two batters in the top of the sixth and was able to avoid any damage from a two-out double, forcing a fly out to Cousino in center to end the inning.
Starn retired the side in the bottom of the sixth, striking out two and forcing an infield fly out.
After striking out the first two batters of the top of the seventh, Phillips surrendered a two-out triple over Zellers in rightfield from Alex Miklos. Phillips left the Miklos stranded on third by forcing a fly out into right field to end the inning and keep the game at 4-3 going into the bottom half of the seventh.
Kentucky tied the game in the bottom of the seventh, sparked by Cousino's triple down the right field line. Following Cousino's triple, Kent State made a call to the bullpen to righty Wilson. McCarthy stepped up for the Wildcats, grounding out to shortstop but knocking Cousino home in the process to tie the game at four. Wilson retired the remaining two outs in order for Kent State as the game headed into the top of the eighth in a tie at 4-4.
Phillips struck out the leadoff man in the top of the eighth, marking a career high for Phillips with six strikeouts. Rider singled into right center with one out and Phillips walked David Lyon to end his day with runners on first and second and one out. Peterson took the mound for Kentucky to face a 4-for-4 Roberts. Roberts stayed hot and delivered an RBI single into right center, giving the Golden Flashes a 5-4 lead in the top of the eighth. With runners on first and third and one out, Peterson got out of the jam with an unconventional 3-2-5 double play. Maile catching Lyon trying to take home kept the Kent State lead at 5-4 heading into the bottom of the eighth.
Trailing by one run, Williams led off the Wildcats with a single into centerfield. Riddle laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Williams into scoring position. Witt's groundout to second moved Williams to third with two outs. A walk of Zellers would end Wilson's night as lefty Clark took the mound with runners on first and third and two outs. With a lefty on the mound, Henderson called to righty Thomas Bernal to pinch hit, his first at bat since he delivered an RBI single on May 19th at Mississippi State. Clark did his job and recorded a strike out to end Kentucky's threat and take the game into the ninth with Kent State holding onto a 5-4 lead.
Gott entered the game for Kentucky in the top of the ninth, striking out the side to take Kentucky into the bottom of the ninth trailing by one run.
In its last opportunity, Kentucky scored one in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game and send it to extra innings. Cousino led off for Kentucky with a single to the right side and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from McCarthy. Like many times this year, Maile came up clutch for the Wildcats, singling up the middle to knock Cousino in from second and tie the game at five. Adams came on to pinch run for a visibly hobbled Maile but Clark retired the final two outs and left Adams stranded on first.
Gott shut down the Golden Flashes in the top of the 10th, striking out the leadoff batter and forcing a fly out and line out.
The Wildcats threatened in the bottom half of the 10th but weren't able to bring the winning run across. Witt reached on a throwing error from the shortstop with one out and advanced to third on a single from Zellers into left field. Zellers moved to second on the throw attempting to nab Witt, putting runners on second and third with one out and Hoagland coming to the plate. Kentucky attempted a squeeze bunt to bring across the winning run but Hoagland's bunt was fielded by the pitcher who caught Witt attempting to take home. Kentucky still had a shot with runners on first and third but Clark struck out the final out of the inning to take the game into 11.
Gott came back out for Kentucky in the top of the 11th and retired the first two batters in order, striking out the leadoff and forcing Roberts to ground out to second for the second out of the inning. Sutton singled up the middle with two outs and pinch runner Troy Summers came onto first. Attempting to take second, Williams gunned Summers at second for the third out of the inning.
Gott took the mound in the top of the 12th for his fourth inning. After retiring the first two batters in order, Gott let Miklos reach on balls. A bunt single from Toadvine put runners on first and second but Gott forced Campbell to fly out to Zellers in right center.
Williams led off the Wildcats in the bottom of the 12th with a line-drive double off the leftfield wall but Kent State appealed to first and the first base umpire ruled that Williams had missed first base, becoming the first out of the inning. Riddle lined out to second and Witt grounded out to third to end the inning.
"I'll be honest, I thought I touched first base and he called me out and I was kind of frustrated and I shouldn't have been," Williams said. "I apologize."
After Gott threw a career-high four innings, Reed took the mound for Kentucky in the top of the 13th, getting a quick three outs of what would eventually be a 27-out appearance.
Clark struck the first two Kentucky batters out in the bottom of the 13th before letting Cousino reach on a hit by pitch. Clark didn't let the hit by pitch do any damage, forcing a fly out to end the 13th inning.
Hamilton led off the top of the 14th for Kent State with a single up the middle. Polen laid down a sacrifice bunt that moved Hamilton to second and a ground out to Riddle at shortstop moved Hamilton to third with two outs. With a runner on third and two outs, Reed fought and struck out Toadvine to end the top of the 14th.
McConkey led off Kentucky in the top of the 14th and reached base safely on a walk. McConkey reaching base to lead off for Kentucky wouldn't bring a run across as Pierce retired the next three batters in order.
Reed struck out the leadoff batter in the top of the 15th before allowing an infield single to the left side. Reed forced Lyon to ground the ball to Hoagland who tagged second and threw out Lyon for a double play to end the inning.
The Wildcats threatened again in the bottom of the 15th, sparked by a one-out double down the rightfield line from Zellers. Following a strikeout, Pierce intentionally walked Cousino and let McCarthy reach on balls to load the bases with two outs. With the count going full, McConkey flied out to third to end Kentucky's threat in the bottom of the 15th and keep the game going.
Reed retired the side in the top of the 16th, forcing a ground out, strikeout and pop up to take the game into the bottom of the 16th still in a tie.
Pierce matched Reed's quick inning, retiring the side in order, forcing two fly outs and a ground out to complete a quick 16th inning.
Reed came back out in the top of the 17th, and sat the Golden Flashes down in order for a second consecutive inning.
With one out in the bottom of the 17th, Pierce plunked Zellers to give the Wildcats a runner on first. A failed bunt attempted left Zellers out at second and Hoagland on first with the fielder's choice. Hoagland stole second to give Kentucky a runner in scoring position with two outs but Pierce forced a ground out to second to end the inning.
Kent State worked to take a 6-5 lead in the top of the 18th. Campbell led off the top half of the 18th with a single through the right side before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt from Rider. Lyon worked the count full and reached on balls to put runners on first and second. A deep fly out to right center allowed Campbell to tag from second and reach third. Koch hit a groundball deep in the six hole that Riddle fielded but wasn't able to throw to first in time, allowing Campbell to score and give the Golden Flashes a 6-5 lead.
The Wildcats weren't ready to give in, following a fly out to center, McConkey worked the count full - narrowly missing homers foul down the rightfield line - to draw a walk. Reed singled into right, moving the tying run to third and forcing Kent State to bring Clark in from the bullpen with one out. Williams drilled a ball off the centerfield wall, scoring McConkey easily. Reed held momentarily between first and second to make sure the ball couldn't be caught in the thick, cold Indiana air, before being sent around third base. Reed wasn't able to score from first as the relay beat him to the plate, pulling up with calf cramps between third base and the plate at the plate.
"You start to do things when you're playing a game like this," Henderson said about Reed getting thrown out as the walk-off run in the bottom of the 18th inning. "You start to push things a little bit. You steal, you wave A.J. from first, you're going to safety [squeeze] even though they come in and you make gambles. That's all there is to it. You start gambling."
"A.J. busted his butt for me," Williams said. "He got thrown out and that's part of it."
With one out in the bottom of the 19th, Zellers doubled into deep left center. Clark avoided any damage, striking out one and forcing a ground out to end Zellers' threat.
Reed retired the first two batters in the top of the 20th before walking Lyon in a full count. Reed didn't let the walk cause any damage, striking out the final out of the inning.
Kentucky threatened with bases loaded in the bottom of the 20th but wasn't able to bring the winning run across. McConkey reached on an infield single to the right side. Reed walked and Williams was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. Clark managed to work his way out of the jam, forcing a 1-2-3, inning-ending double play on a comebacker from J.T. Riddle.
Kent State used bunts to recapture the lead in the top of the 21st. Koch led off with a base hit bunt on the right side on a hard-hit ball that sailed all the way to the second base bag before being fielded. He was then moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt from Hamilton. Following a strikeout, Miklos stepped up for Kent State, knocking an RBI triple into to deep center to give the Golden Flashes the lead. Reed forced a fly out to end the inning but Kent State took a 7-6 lead going into the bottom half of the inning.
Kentucky threatened in the bottom of the 21st but wasn't able to bring the tying run home. Zellers singled to right field with one out and pinch hitter Boehm was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with one out. A soft groundout to second moved runners to second and third but the runners were left stranded after Clark recorded a strikeout to end the game.