SEC Diamond Report: February 17 > SEC > NEWS
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    SEC Diamond Report: February 17

    sec baseball RESULTS
    Florida 16, Duke 5
     Arkansas 7, W. Illinois 5
    Auburn 8, Maine 4
    Kentucky 20, Niagra 3
    Mississippi State 7, Portland 1
    Mississippi State 6, Portland 0
    South Carolina 8, Liberty 7
    LSU 14,  Maryland 3
    Georgia Southern 11, Georgia 2
    Ole Miss 5, TCU 2
    Long Beach State 13, Vanderbilt 9
    Southern Miss 6, Missouri 1
    Alabama 7, VMI 4
    Texas A&M 5, UIC 1
    UNLV 3, Tennessee 2
    Liberty 3, South Carolina 2


    Powers’ Career Day Lifts No. 13 Florida To Series Victory Over Duke, 16-5

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Fueled by a pair of grand slams and nine RBI by redshirt sophomore Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.), No. 13 Florida (2-1) erupted for 14 runs over its final three at bats to register a 16-5 series-clinching victory over Duke (1-2) on Sunday afternoon at McKethan Stadium. Powers (2-for-3) joined Preston Tucker as the lone Gators to belt two grand slams in the same outing, as Tucker had accomplished the feat on April 8, 2009, against UCF.

    Florida scored four runs on five hits in the sixth inning to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 6-3 advantage, including a game-tying sacrifice fly by Powers and a go-ahead two-run single by sophomore Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.). Powers delivered grand slams in both the seventh and eighth innings and the Gator offense totaled a season-high 13 hits to capture the rubber game of the series with the Blue Devils. Sophomore right-hander Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) (1-0) tossed 2.2 scoreless innings to earn the win, while freshman Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) went 2-for-4 with two runs and two stolen bases and senior Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) was 2-for-3 with an RBI single. In addition, the series attendance of 13,242 for the three games this weekend was the third-highest on an opening weekend in school history.

    “It was really great to see our bats come alive there in the sixth inning,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “We had some really, really good at-bats there. Some guys got some good swings on some pitches there, but personally, as a team, we probably needed that sixth inning as much as anybody. The bottom line is, if you put it in play, you’ve got a chance. We hit some balls hard this weekend and obviously Zack [Powers] had a great day.”

    “It’s great to have a good game like this but it’s greater to be back playing,” Powers said of missing the 2012 season. “To have a game like this is really special.”  

    A two-out, two-run double by redshirt sophomore Chris Marconcini off sophomore right-hander Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) in the first inning drew first blood for Duke. Sophomore Andrew Istler opened the game with a single into left field and junior Mike Rosenfeld drew a one-out walk for two runners aboard. Shafer had junior Jordan Betts fly out to left field but was then charged with a balk to advance the runners. Marconcini plated his teammates with a two-bagger into left field.

    The Gators answered in the home part of the frame on a game-tying, two-run double by sophomore Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.). Martin worked a one-out walk from freshman right-hander James Marvel, went to second on a balk and stole third for his first career theft with two down. Shafer earned a free pass for runners on the corners and Gushue doubled off the wall in right field to clear the bases for his first two RBI of the campaign.

    Although Duke mounted a two-out rally in the third, as Rosenfeld doubled to the gap in left center and Betts walked, it could not break the stalemate. Junior Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.) replaced Shafer (2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB) and had Marconcini ground out.

    Sophomore Andy Perez led off the fourth with a base-hit into right field and was sacrificed to second on a bunt by junior Matt Berezo (2-for-3). Perez stole third and scored on the play because of a throwing error by Gushue. After junior Anthony D’Alessandro singled into right field, Gibson induced an inning-ending 6-4-3 double to hold the count at 3-2.

    Gushue started the bottom of the inning with a walk and Marvel had senior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) hit into a 4-6-3 double play. After Powers drew the Gators’ fourth walk of the afternoon, Marvel jammed Tobias on an infield fly.

    A one-out walk to Blue Devil senior Jeff Kremer prompted a pitching change, with Harris taking over for Gibson (1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R). The righty forced Kremer at second base on a fielder’s choice by Rosenfeld and had Betts fly out to right field.

    After Marvel threw four innings in his collegiate debut, giving up two hits and two runs, freshman Michael Mattuella (0-1) threw a perfect fifth for Duke.

    The Gators erupted for four runs on five hits in the sixth to seize a 6-3 advantage, highlighted by a two-run, two-out single by Tobias that snapped a 3-3 tie. Sophomore Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) (1-for-3, 3 runs) and Shafer (1-for-2, 2 runs) began UF’s at bat with back-to-back singles and sophomore Remy Janco was summoned to replace Matuella (1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R). The left-hander struck out Gushue and Ramjit greeted junior reliever Robert Huber with an infield single to load the bases with one down. Powers collected his first RBI by lofting a sacrifice fly to straightaway center field and Tobias picked an opportune time for his first hit of the campaign with a single into left center that brought across Shafer and Ramjit. After Tobias stole second, Dent put the Orange and Blue up by three runs with a run-scoring single through the right side of the infield. Freshman Nick Hendrix came in for Huber (0.1, 3 H, 2 R) and had freshman Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) fly out to left field to complete the frame.

    Junior Angelo La Bruna started the seventh with a walk but Harris had Istler ground into a 6-4-3 double play and Kremer line out to Ramjit in right field.

    Powers expanded the Gators’ lead to 10-3 with a grand slam over the right-field wall with two down in the bottom of the stanza. It was the first grand slam by Florida since Brian Johnson connected against Mississippi State in the opening round of the SEC Tournament on May 25, 2011. Martin began the inning with a base-hit into right field but was picked off by freshman Kenny Koplove. Turgeon followed with a walk and freshman pinch hitter Kevin Stypulkowski (Lake Worth, Fla.) was hit by a pitch before a fly-out to right field by Gushue moved Turgeon to third and gave Florida runners on the corners with two down. Ramjit was hit by a pitch to load the bases and senior Ryan Munger took over for Koplove (0.2 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 2 HBP) and surrendered a grand slam to Powers.

    Brezo narrowed Duke’s deficit to 10-5 in the eighth with a two-out, two-run double off freshman Jay Carmichael (Cape Coral, Fla.). Betts had doubled down the right-field line off freshman Mike Vinson (Miami, Fla.) with one down and Vinson had Marconcini fly out to right field. However, the ball was misplayed for an error that enabled the Blue Devils to have runners on second and third. Brezo cleared the bases with a two-bagger into left field.  

    Florida countered with six more runs on an RBI single by Stypulkowski, a pinch-hit sacrifice fly by freshman Christian Dicks (Jacksonville, Fla.) and another grand slam by Powers to finalize the scoring at 16-5. Dent drew a leadoff walk and a one-out single by Martin left the Gators with runners on the corners. After Martin stole second for his second theft of the afternoon, Turgeon walked to fill the bags. Stypulkowski’s first collegiate hit came on a 0-2 count into left field to score Dent and Dicks lofted a sac fly to left field to bring in Martin. Redshirt freshman Cory Reid (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) came through with his second pinch-hit single in as many days to re-fill the sacks and Powers emptied them again with a homer to right field. Powers drove in nine runs this afternoon after totaling seven RBI during his true freshman season of 2011.

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    Arkansas drops series finale to Western Illinois

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Jameson Henning and Brent Turner each had two hits, while Steve Kedroski drove in two runs as Western Illinois defeated No. 1 Arkansas, 7-5, on Sunday afternoon at Baum Stadium.

    Arkansas, which won two of three games in the series, falls to 2-1 with the loss, while Western Illinois improves its record to 1-2.

    Mason Pingel (1-0) got the win on the mound for the Leathernecks, throwing five innings and giving up three runs on seven hits with five strikeouts. Brian Loconsole picked up his first save of the season, tossing 1.2 hitless innings.

    Trent Daniel (0-1) suffered the loss, giving up six runs, only three of which were earned, on eight hits and striking out two in 3.1 innings. Brandon Moore came out of the bullpen and pitched well, allowing just one run on one hit with five strikeouts in 5.2 innings.

    Joe Serrano and Tyler Spoon each had three hits to lead the Razorbacks at the plate. Spoon drove in two runs and scored twice. Brian Anderson recorded two hits and drove in three runs, while Matt Vinson was 2-for-4 with three runs scored.

    Henning and Turner each had two hits and a RBI for the Leathernecks. Kedroski went 1-for-3 with two RBI.

    Western Illinois struck first with a pair of runs in the top of the first. Turner led off the game with a single to left and a walk to Dan Dispensa put runners on first and second. Henning then laid down a sacrifice bunt to put runners on second and third. Kedroski plated both runners with a two-RBI single to center field to give the Leathernecks an early lead.

    Arkansas quickly answered back, scoring twice in the bottom of the first. Vinson reached on an infield single to start the inning and then moved to second on a wild pitch. After a strikeout of Jacob Morris, Spoon lined a single to center, scoring Vinson. A balk advanced Spoon to second and with two outs, Anderson doubled off the wall in left field to score Spoon with the tying run.

    The Leathernecks regained the lead with a run in the top of the second. Zach Burling singled to center to begin the inning and then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Turner. With two out, Henning reached on an infield single to third. A passed ball allowed Burling to score WIU’s third run of the game.

    Arkansas tied the game for the second time in the bottom of the third. Vinson drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second after a sacrifice bunt by Morris. Spoon recorded his second RBI single of the day with a base hit to left to score Vinson and even the game at three.

    Western Illinois took advantage of three Razorback errors to score three runs in the top of the fourth. Erik Maki had a bunt single to start the inning and a sacrifice bunt by Burling advanced Maki to second. Turner then singled to left, scoring Maki. Vinson’s throw to the plate hit off Maki and got away, allowing Turner to advance to second on the throwing error. Dispensa then went to the opposite field and singled to left to put runners on the corners. Henning reached on a fielding error by Anderson at short, which allowed Turner to score and moved Dispensa to second base. The Leathernecks then executed a double steal and catcher Jean Ramirez’s throw to third was high, allowing Dispensa to score on the throwing error and giving the Leathernecks a 6-3 lead.

    WIU added an insurance run in the top of the seventh. Henning singled to center field to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kedroski. A ground out by Jake Moore to second moved Henning to third. Travis Stafford drew a walk to put runners on the corners. Stafford tried to steal second, but was caught in a rundown between first and second. However, during the run down, Henning scored from third to make the score 7-3.

    Arkansas trimmed into the lead with two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Vinson singled to right field to start the inning and advanced to second on a wild pitch. With one out, Spoon walked to put runners on the first and second. McAfee moved both runners to scoring position on a ground out to short. Anderson drove home both runners with a double to center field to cut the lead to 7-5.

    The Razorbacks were able to put a runner on base in both the eighth and ninth innings, but couldn’t get any closer as the Leathernecks held on for a 7-5 win.

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    Six-Run Sixth Sends Auburn To 8-4 Win, Series Sweep Of Maine
                                        
    AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn scored six times in the sixth inning to erase a two-run deficit and an 8-4 win over Maine on Sunday. The win improved the baseball team’s record to 4-0 for the first time since 2008 and just the 17th time since 1949.

    “It wasn’t easy today. We were down 3-1 in the sixth inning and we didn’t have much momentum going,” Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. “We got a little of a momentum shift. That says a lot about the leaders in this clubhouse. They knew what the challenge was and how important this game was. Fortunately for us we were able to put some runs together in the sixth inning.”

    Trailing 3-1 going to the bottom of the sixth, Auburn sent 11 men to the plate in the inning, scoring all six runs before there were two outs in the inning. Freshman Jordan Ebert delivered the big hit, singling to right-center to bring Cullen Wacker and Sam Gillikin home to break a 3-3 tie.

    “To get a sweep and to get a little momentum, it’s going to help the fan support and it’s a spark for our team,” Ebert said. “This could turn into a really good year and this is a great way to start it off.”

    Auburn’s offense was far from done there as Dan Glevenyak and Ryan Tella each stroked run-scoring singles to push the lead to 7-3 Auburn.

    Glevenyak, Damek Tomscha and Ebert all finished the day with two hits as eight out of nine Auburn starters collected at least one hit and seven out of nine drove in a run.

    Chase Williamson (1-0) earned his first career win for Auburn, logging 3 1/3 innings and allowing just one run on three hits and a walk while striking out one. He entered in the sixth in relief of starter Dillon Ortman with a man on third and one out and Auburn down, 2-1. After a two-out, two-strike passed ball allowed a run to score, he struck out the final hitter of the inning.

    “Coming in in a tight situation and the offense puts up a lot of runs for you, it means a lot out there on the mound,” Williamson said.

    Williamson retired Maine (0-4) in order in the seventh and then worked around a leadoff error and a single to get out of the eighth. A one-out walk and a pair of two-out singles pushed another run across, prompting a move to Jay Wade with Auburn up four and the tying run on deck.

    Wade, making his second appearance of the season, needed just three pitches to get the final out of the game and nail down his first career save.

    Maine starter Mike Connolly (0-1) took the loss as he was charged with four runs in 5 1/3 innings, allowing six hits and walking two while striking out three.

    Maine went up 1-0 on a Colin Gay home run in the third and stretched the lead to 2-0 on a Eric White sac fly in the fourth before Auburn cut the deficit in half on a Tomscha RBI double in the bottom of the fourth.

    The win was Auburn’s fourth come-from-behind win of the weekend after having nine in all of 2012.

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    Eagles Claim Series Over The Bulldogs

    STATESBORO-----Georgia Southern posted an 11-2 victory over Georgia Sunday to claim the rubber game of the series in front of 3,024 at Jack Stallings Field.

    The Eagles (2-1) built a 4-0 lead off sophomore right-hander Luke Crumley in the first. GSU sent eight men to the plate, collecting five hits including RBI-doubles by T.D. Davis and Hunter Thomas to highlight the outburst. In the second inning, third baseman Ben Morgan smashed a three-run home run to extend the Eagles lead to 7-0.

    The  Bulldogs (1-2) turned to redshirt freshman Mike Mancuso to start the third. He provided two scoreless innings of relief before allowing a leadoff home run to start the fifth. Crumley took the loss after surrendering seven runs on seven hits in two innings. GSU freshman left-hander Jason Richman was the beneficiary of the offensive explosion, and he was extremely sharp in his debut. Richman picked up the win, limiting the Bulldogs to one run on three hits in 5.1 innings with no walks and six strikeouts.

    Georgia got on the board courtesy of an opposite field solo home run from freshman Zack Bowers to start the fifth frame. It came in his second career at bat. The Eagles got the run back in their half of the inning when Davis led off with a solo home run. Davis collected his third RBI of the day with a sacrifice fly in the sixth as part of a three-run frame off sophomore Heath Holder for an 11-1 lead. Bowers added a two-out RBI-single in the ninth, scoring senior Kyle Farmer who led off with a double.

    “We didn’t see this one coming and part of it was another bad start to the game,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “However, we learned a lot about our team, and this is just the first series. I am a little disappointed offensively, but I liked what I saw from Zack Bowers today. We didn’t make some plays today, and hopefully we’ll get some things cleaned up and be more threatening offensively. I credit Georgia Southern, they did a good job against us.”

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    GAMECOCKS RALLY FOR 8-7 WIN OVER LIBERTY

    Columbia, S.C. – Fifth ranked South Carolina stormed back from seven runs down in the final two innings to rally for an 8-7 win over Liberty in the first game of a doubleheader at Carolina Stadium.  Kyle Martin knocked a RBI single that went off of Liberty pitcher Josh Richardson and after an errant throw by catcher Trey Wimmer, the Gamecocks would score the winning run as Graham Saiko crossed over home plate with the winning run setting off the celebration.  The final game of the doubleheader is set for 4:40 p.m.

    Trailing 7-3 entering the ninth inning, the Gamecocks began the rally as TJ Costen walked, Dante Rosenberg singled and Tanner English walked to load the bases.  A walk to Chase Vergason scored Costen and cut the deficit to three runs.  After a second straight walk to Graham Saiko, the Gamecocks were within two runs with the bases loaded and no outs.  Max Schrock would bring Carolina one run closer as a RBI groundout to the first baseman scored Tanner English.  After an intentional walk to load the bases, Liberty would get the second out of the inning with a strikeout by reliever Josh Richardson.  That set the scene for Martin.  After working the count to 3-1, the Gamecock pinch hitter roped a line drive that caught Richardson on the leg on the mound.  The ball rolled close to home plate.  As Martin rushed down the line, Wimmer looked to make a play at first base.  His throw wouldn’t make it though and his throw got away from first baseman Alex Close allowing both pinch runner Shon Carson and Saiko to score leading the Gamecocks to the victory.

    South Carolina left-hander Adam Westmoreland earned the win after 2.1 innings of relief.  He allowed two runs, both unearned on two hits.  He struck out two batters.  Richardson suffered the loss after 0.2 innings of relief.  He allowed one run, unearned, on one hit with two walks and a strikeout.

    The Flames broke ahead 1-0 in the top of the fourth inning.  Nick Paxton led off with a walk, Ryan Cordell singled and after both runners advanced on a wild pitch, Bryan Aanderud would also walk to load the bases for the Flames.  Holmes would minimize the damage though as he coaxed Alex Close into a 4-6-3 double play that scored Paxton.

    Liberty starting pitcher Brooks Roy was effective in five innings of work.  He did not allow a run and limited the Gamecocks to one hit and three walks.  South Carolina starter Colby Holmes allowed two runs on three hits in 6.1 innings of work.

    Liberty capitalized on a couple of Gamecock mistakes with five of their six runs unearned in the seventh inning to increase the lead to 7-0.  After a single and two walks loaded the bases with one out, Sammy Taormina drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to center field.  The Flames loaded the bases again after a pitch from Gamecock reliever Joel Seddon nicked Liberty batter Nick Lacik.  With Adam Westmoreland on in relief, the Gamecocks looked to get out of the jam on a grounder by Nick Paxton.  However, the ball would get by shortstop Joey Pankake to score another run for the Flames.  Ryan Cordell then cleared the bases for the Flames as his double to left field scored three more runs.

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    LSU Completes Sweep over Maryland with 14-3 Victory

    BATON ROUGE, La. – Third-ranked LSU (3-0) exploded for 14 runs on 14 hits and defeated Maryland (0-3) by a score of 14-3 Sunday at Alex Box Stadium in Game 3 of 2013 opening series.  

    The victory gave the Tigers the series sweep. LSU defeated Maryland 1-0 in Game 1 Friday and 5-1 in Game 2 Saturday.
     
    “I thought we played very well in all three phases the entire weekend,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “Today, the weather was warmer and the wind wasn’t blowing in, so we were able to generate more offense. I thought our guys played more relaxed and loose with some of the opening-weekend jitters out of the way. It felt today like we’re into the rhythm of the season.”

    Junior infielder JaCoby Jones started the scoring onslaught with a solo home run in the second inning, his first of the season.   

    The Tigers added a run in the third inning with an RBI single from shortstop Alex Bregman, who went 3-for-3 on the day.  

    Maryland answered with two runs of their own in the top of the fourth. However LSU quickly answered with a three-run home run from junior catcher Ty Ross.

    LSU added a run in the fifth inning, and then piled on eight runs in the eighth inning. The eighth inning included RBI hits from third baseman Christian Ibarra, outfielder Andrew Stevenson, and infielder Tyler Moore.

    Ibarra was standout defensively as well, making numerous tough plays, including a diving snag off of a line drive in the eighth inning.

    Nate Fury (1-0) recorded one strikeout in one inning of work and was credited with the win.

    Maryland left-hander Alex Robinson (0-1) received the loss. He gave up four runs on three hits along with four walks.

    Senior left-hander Brent Bonvillain started the game for the Tigers, going four innings while striking out three. He gave up two runs on four hits.

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    Alabama Baseball Completes Sweep of VMI with 7-4 Win on Sunday
     
    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama offense shined again as the Crimson Tide completed the sweep of VMI, winning 7-4 in the series finale on Sunday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The winning pitcher was Tucker Hawley (1-0), ascending Alabama to 3-0, and the losing pitcher was Connor Bach (0-1), dropping the Keydets to 0-3.
     
    Senior third baseman Kenny Roberts was 1-for-2 with a double, two walks, a career-high three runs scored and an RBI. Senior catcher Brett Booth stayed hot, going 1-for-2 with a single, two walks, a run scored and an RBI, marking Booth’s third straight game with an RBI. The young guns continued to produce for Alabama, as freshman center fielder Georgie Salem went 2-for-4 with two singles, two stolen bases and an RBI.
     
    Senior right-hander Charley Sullivan went for 4.1 innings to start the game, allowing three runs on six hits and four walks with five strikeouts, tying his career-high. Junior righty Tucker Hawley made his 2013 debut when he relieved Sullivan in the fifth, going for 2.1 innings and allowing only one run on two hits. Sophomore south paw Justin Kamplain got the save (1), throwing 2.1 scoreless innings, while allowing only one hit with three strikeouts.

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    TURNER’S SLAM POWERS REBELS TO SWEEP OF NO. 12 TCU

    OXFORD, Miss. – Stuart Turner’s first hit as a Rebel was a memorable one as the junior catcher delivered a grand slam in the first inning to help power No. 14 Ole Miss (3-0) to a weekend sweep of No. 12 TCU (0-3) with a 5-2 win on Sunday.

    The Rebels picked up a 1-0 win on Friday night and a 5-2 win on Saturday to set up the sweep with the Sunday victory.

    Trailing 1-0 after the top of the first, Turner came to the plate with the bases loaded and delivered the two-out shot to left field to propel the Rebels to a 4-1 lead. Ole Miss would never trail again on the way to completing the series sweep.

    Chris Ellis (1-0) picked up the win in his second career start and first outing as a weekend starter. The sophomore, who was on a pitch count, turned in 4.0 innings of work and allowed one run on two hits with three walks and three strikeouts as the designated pitcher of record.

    Senior Tanner Bailey picked up his first save of the season, working the final 1.2 innings with two strikeouts and one hit. The right-hander entered the game in the eighth inning with a man on second and one out. He retired the next two batters faced with a strikeout and a foul fly to keep the Rebels in possession of the three-run lead.

    Stefan Crichton (0-1) suffered the loss for the Horned Frogs, allowing the four runs on three hits with two walks and a strikeout in his 1.0 inning of work.

    “Once again, we played really well defensively and in pitching,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “Of course, we had the big knock by (Stuart) Turner in the first inning. It’s nice to see for a guy who’s had such a good fall and early spring. He’s had some tough at bats going into today, but we needed that with bases loaded and two outs. It was a big home run. It’s nice to see a guy get off to a good start like that, and to get us off to a good start today. It’s been tough. TCU’s pitching staff is so tremendous. It’s been tough on all of the hitters.”

    TCU took the lead in the top half of the first when Jantzen Witte hit a solo shot to left field to put TCU up 1-0. Ellis then struck out Kevin Cron and Jerrick Suiter around a walk of Derek Odell to get the Rebels out of the inning.

    Turner then hit his grand slam in the bottom of the first to put Ole Miss on top for good. Turner’s shot, also to left field, scored Austin Anderson, Auston Bousfield and Sikes Orvis. Anderson reached on a one-out walk before Bousfield singled through the left side to put two men on. TCU got the second out with a strikeout of Will Allen before Orvis drew the Rebels’ second walk of the inning to load the bases for Turner.

    The junior catcher then took a big cut at the first offering from Crichton and sent it over the wall in left field.

    Ole Miss added to the lead in the fourth inning Anderson came up with an RBI double to left center to drive in Tanner Mathis for the 5-1 lead. Mathis reached on a two-out single to left before scoring from first on the Anderson hit.

    TCU cut the lead to 5-2 in the sixth inning with a groundout to third from Odell that brought Witte home. Witte reached with a lead-off double to left and advanced to third on a groundout from Cron.

    It was as close as the Horned Frogs would get the rest of the way due in large part to the combined efforts of the Rebel defense and bullpen. TCU loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh, but sophomore Scott Weathersby responded out of the pen to retire the first batter faced on a groundout and keep the Horned Frogs off the board.

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    Dores drop finale to Long Beach State
     
    Nashville, Tenn. – Long Beach State came out swinging on Sunday, scoring nine runs in the first three innings to down No. 2 Vanderbilt and salvage the series finale 13-9 in eight innings.
     
    The Dirtbags (1-2) wasted no time getting on the board pushing four runs across in the first inning off Commodores’ (2-1) starter T.J. Pecoraro. VU responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning but LBSU took the runs right back with two in the top of the second before adding three in the third for a 9-2 lead after three innings. The Dores’ pitchers allowed no runs in the fourth and fifth innings as the Vandy offense scored five runs to get the home team back in the game. Vanderbilt batted around in the fifth scoring four runs on four hits. Connor Harrell’s two-run double started the rally before freshmen Dansby Swanson and Xavier Turner each delivered runs. The Dirtbags, however, were not going to be denied, scoring four runs over the final three innings before the game was called after the eighth inning due to travel restrictions for Long Beach State.
     
    All four of Vanderbilt’s hurlers struggled on the day, combining to walk seven batters and allow 13 runs on 12 hits. Pecoraro (0-1) was pegged with the loss after giving up six runs, four earned, on five hits over 1.2 innings. Carson Fulmer allowed three runs on three hits and three walks in 1.1 innings in his collegiate debut. Ryan Millison (1-0) picked up the victory for the Dirtbags in relief recording two outs in the fifth inning. The LBSU bullpen bounced back after allowing nine runs and walking seven batters in four innings yesterday with three pitchers combining to allow two runs on five hits and three walks on Sunday.
     
    The Commodores’ offense pounded out a season-best 14 hits in the loss with nine players contributing at least one hit. Vanderbilt squandered chances leaving 10 men on base for the day, including six in scoring position. Harrell led the way going 2-for-4 with his second home run of the year, a two-run shot in the eighth. Spencer Navin added three hits as the team’s designated hitter and Turner had his first multi-hit game of his career with a single and a double. Jeff McNeil led the Dirtbags with three hits and three RBI while scoring two runs. Eric Hutting and Richard Prigatano added three RBI apiece.

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    GAMECOCKS FALL 3-2 TO LIBERTY IN NIGHTCAP

    Columbia, S.C. – Liberty scored twice in the top of the fourth inning and held off a late rally by fifth ranked South Carolina to upend the Gamecocks 3-2 in the final game of a doubleheader on Sunday played in seven innings at Carolina Stadium.  Despite the loss, the Gamecocks won the series and are now 2-1 on the year with Liberty 1-2 after the first weekend of play.

    The Flames got three big hits in the nightcap with Ryan Cordell and Dalton Britt each tallying triples and Justin Sizemore going 2-for-3 with a solo homer.  Joey Pankake was 2-for-2 with a run scored and a RBI in the loss for the Gamecocks.  Graham Saiko also had two hits for Carolina.

    Liberty starter Trey Lambert earned the win after allowing just one run on five hits in 5.1 innings with one walk and four strikeouts.  South Carolina starter Nolan Belcher suffered the loss after going 5.2 innings allowing three runs on four hits with one walk and nine strikeouts.  The nine strikeouts are the most for Belcher in a game since he struck out 11 on May, 15 2009 in a win over Georgia as a freshman.
    Liberty would break out with a run in the top of the first inning.   Cordell tripled to right-center as his ball went just out of the grasp of Gamecock center fielder Tanner English.  He would score on a RBI infield single by Bryan Aanderud in between third and shortstop.

    The Gamecocks tied it at 1-1 in the bottom of the third inning.  English led off with a single followed by a base hit off the bat of Graham Saiko.   Pankake would drive in English with one-out on a sacrifice fly to right field.

    Liberty regained the lead in the top of the fourth inning on a solo home run by Justin Sizemore.  The Liberty left fielder knocked a 1-1 pitch from Gamecock starter Nolan Belcher over the left field wall.  Liberty then added to it as Trey Wimmer walked with two outs and scored on Dalton Britt’s triple to right-center that increased the lead to 3-1.

    Carolina crept to within a run in the bottom of the sixth inning.  Pankake doubled to open the frame and scored on a one-out sacrifice fly by Erik Payne to right field.  The Gamecocks threatened to tie it in the bottom of the seventh.  TJ Costen led off with a walk.  He, however, would be gunned down at second base on a sac bunt attempt by Tanner English.  The Gamecocks then tried to move the runners with a hit and run but Liberty reliever Ashton Perritt was able to throw a fastball by Saiko and catcher Trey Wimmer was able to nab English at second base to end the Carolina threat.

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    MSU SWEEPS OPENING WEEKEND OF BASEBALL PLAY
                   
    STARKVILLE, Miss. – Timely hitting and strong pitching dominated the weekend as Mississippi State completed a season-opening four-game sweep of Portland in college baseball action.
                   
    The Bulldogs completed the perfect weekend with 7-1 and 6-0 victories in a doubleheader Sunday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field.
                   
    For the weekend, the Bulldogs outscored the Pilots 31-3, while batting .355 with a team earned run average of 0.75.
                   
    “It was a good weekend for our club,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “We had some sporadic office but we pitched it well all weekend. Our defense was really great, too. We had pitchers throwing strikes for the most part and we backed them up with some real solid defense.”
                   
    In Sunday’s nightcap, Luis Pollorena (1-0) threw 4.1 innings of three hit relief to garner the win. Will Cox started and worked three innings for the Bulldogs. Ben Bracewell and John Marc Shelly completed the squad’s first shutout of the season.
                   
    Bracewell actually entered in a tight spot in the eighth inning. With two runners on base and MSU only leading 2-0, the junior right-hander got a pair of outs to snuff that threat.
                   
    The Maroon and White then blew the contest open with four runs in the home half of the eighth inning. Demarcus Henderson had the big blow in that at-bat with a two-run single. Hunter Renfroe had an RBI-double and Trey Porter had an RBI-single in that at-bat.
                   
    MSU finished with nine hits in the nightcap. Adam Frazier, Renfroe and Henderson each had multiple hits.

    In the opener, right-hander Kendall Graveman notched a quality start win in a 7-1 decision.

    The senior so-captain from Alexander City, Ala., blanked UP on two hits over 6.1 innings and worked around four walks to register the win. Trevor Fitts and Pollorena finished the game for State. Graveman struck out four in recording his 12th career win.

    State plated all seven runs in the middle innings, scoring three times Portland starter Zach Torson (0-1) in the fourth inning when the Bulldogs batted through the order. Freshman outfielder Jacob Robson drove in the game’s first run with a career-first single and Frazier added a two-run triple. Senior catcher Mitch Slauter opened the fifth inning with a solo home run and first-time starter Alex Detz doubled in two more when State expanded its lead to 7-0 in the sixth inning.

    Frazier and Slauter finished with two hits and two RBI each while both C.T. Bradford and Robson also hit safely twice to lead the Bulldogs’ 12-hit showing.

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    RIDDLE’S SIX-HIT GAME HELPS NO. 8 UK POUND NIAGARA, 20-3

    SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Junior second baseman J.T. Riddle set a new program record with a 6-for-6 game at the plate and starter Jerad Grundy tied a career-best with nine strikeouts in six innings, sparking No. 8 Kentucky to a 20-3 pounding of Niagara, on Sunday afternoon at Wofford’s Russell C. King Field.

    Kentucky (2-0) was led in the shellacking of Niagara by the electric bat of Riddle, whose 6-for-6 game set a new UK modern-era record (2002-present), charting a triple off the centerfield wall and a double, finishing just a homer shy of hitting for the cycle. He is the first UK player to collect five or more hits since Marcus Nidiffer went 5-for-6 at Indiana in 2010. In his first two games of 2013, Riddle is 9-for-11 with five runs, three doubles, one triple and four RBI.

    “It felt great up there,” Riddle said. “It looks like a beach ball right now. I am putting good swings on it, just staying with my techniques and doing what I have to do to get base hits. Whether it is with two strikes or early in the count I am just putting good swings on the ball and a couple of them fell in for me last game.”

    A native of Frankfort, Ky., and the 2010 Kentucky High School Mr. Baseball, Riddle also owns a 1.273 slugging percentage through his first two contests after pelting the leftfield and rightfield walls with doubles in the opener and the triple off the 15-foot wall in centerfield vs. NU.

    “J.T. is just a better player,” UK head coach Gary Henderson said. “He is more composed, he has always had good composure but it is even better. He is strong. His skill level is improved. He is more disciplined at the plate. Obviously he has better bat speed and the strength issue is really obvious. He is a really, really good player and he has gotten off to a good start.”

    Grundy (1-0) worked six innings, allowing four hits and two unearned runs, walking one and striking out a career-high tying nine. Sophomore Jeff Boehm took over to start the seventh, working one inning with one run surrendered. Freshman righty Tyler Cox tossing a shutout eighth inning and freshman Zach Strecker made his debut with a shutout ninth inning.

    “Jerad had a nice night for us,” Henderson said. “Some things that were very noticeable were that in the fourth inning he started to find his secondary stuff and in the fifth inning his velocity stepped up. (He was) much better in the fourth and fifth. He had to throw a few extra pitches in the sixth because we kicked it around a little bit, but a really good outing for Jerad to get the season going.”

    The Wildcats collected 20 runs on 17 hits, nine walks and three hit batters, also swiping three bases. It was UK’s first 20-run output since a beating of Illinois-Chicago in 2012.

    “You like a lot of things,” Henderson said about UK’s offensive attack. “I liked the quality of at bats even from some of the guys who didn’t get a lot of hits. I thought Matt Reida had a nice night. A.J. had some really good at bats early on. Max Kuhn is looking comfortable. Really happy for Thomas Bernal to get in there and have the at bats that he did. Zellers had good at bats, Greg Fettes came in off the bench and had a couple really nice swings. There were a lot of positives – Micheal Thomas – just a great day at the plate for us.”

    UK was led by Riddle’s historic game at the dish, with sophomore All-America centerfielder Austin Cousino launching his first career grand slam in his six innings of action, setting a new career-high with four RBI.

    Shortstop Matt Reida – who made a pair of sparkling defensive gems up the middle, including starting an impressive double play with Riddle – tied his career highs with three hits and three RBI. Max Kuhn went 1-for-4 with two walks and an RBI, with Thomas Bernal going 2-for-5 with three runs scored and a walk. Zac Zellers scored two runs, drew a walk and had an RBI in the No. 2 spot in the order, while catcher Micheal Thomas went 1-for-2 with two runs and two RBI.

    UK played several position players in their collegiate debuts, including Jacob Russell, Andrew Bryant, Kyle Barrett, Dorian Hairston, Greg Fettes, Casey Schroeder and Zach Arnold. Fettes went 2-for-2 while Hairston collected his first career hit.

    “It helps moral and it is big,” Henderson said about the ability to play lots of newcomers. “Those guys have been practicing for a long time. We had a couple guys out there who redshirted last year, the first at bat for AB (Andrew Bryant) and the first inning for Zach (Strecker). It was a really encouraging outing. We had Jeff Boehm get some at bats and pitch an inning. Tyler Cox and Dorian Hairston, I am sure I am forgetting some, but we got a bunch of guys it’s really encouraging.”

    “It was awesome. All the freshmen out there and guys who haven’t had a chance to swing the bat in a UK jersey, it is just awesome to get them out there,” Riddle said. “We are behind them all the way because they have worked so hard to get to where they are at. It is just fun to see them out there and the older guys all had their back, pitchers and hitters.”

    Niagara (0-3) started Kody Kasper (0-1) worked 2.1 innings, allowing five hits and seven runs – four earned – walking five. NU used Jacob Lysiak, Geoff Soja, Jordan Schwartz, Sean Quinlan, Ben Zaccagnino and Connor Sullivan in relief of Kasper.  

    UK will return to action on Monday, facing USC Upstate at Harley Park at 1 p.m. ET. UK will send junior southpaw Corey Littrell to the mound to face the Spartans. The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Sports Network, with Dick Gabriel on the call. Fans in Lexington can hear the game live on WWTF 1580-AM and online at UKathletics.com.

    The contest was played despite Spartanburg being blanketed with heavy snow on Saturday, which forced the postponement of the USC Upstate game to Monday. A combined herculean effort of hard-working Wofford student-athletes and staff, and Kentucky’s coaches and administrators, worked throughout the afternoon to clear the field of snow, with UK purchasing 17 snow shovels to assist with the snow vacating.  

    Kentucky got on the board in the top of the first inning with a two-out rally. After a pair of groundouts started the game, A.J. Reed drew a full-count walk. Riddle the followed with a towering triple off the centerfield wall, with Reed scoring from first base to give UK an early 1-0 lead.

    Niagara answered with an unearned run in the bottom of the first, evening the game at 1-1. Joel Klock led off with a grounder to first base that was chested up by Bernal, but bounced into foul ground for an error. Michael Fuhrman then singled through the left side. After Klock was out on a fielder’s choice as the lead runner, Grundy got a strike out for the second out. Christian Vangeison then singled up the middle to score Fuhrman with an unearned run.

    The Wildcats batted around in the second inning, scoring four runs on two hits and three errors. Lucas Witt led off the inning by reaching on an error and Bernal drew a walk. Reida then laid down his 16th career sacrifice bunt, with Witt motoring from second base to score on the bunt. The throw back to the plate from first sailed to the backstop for an error, allowing Bernal to move to third. Thomas then smashed a single through the left side to score Bernal and after a Cousino pop up, Zellers drew a walk and Reed reached on an error. After a wild pitch, Thomas scored on a passed ball and then Riddle drove in Zellers with an RBI single through the right side.

    UK stretched its lead in the third inning, as Bernal led off with a double in the game for his first career extra-base hit. Reida then singled with a high chopper over the drawn-in infield to push Bernal to third. Thomas then hung a sacrifice fly to leftfield to score Bernal. Cousino followed with a four-pitch walk to chase Kasper. With Zellers up, Cousino and Reida executed the double steal to put a pair of runners in scoring position. Zellers then drove a fly ball to rightfield to plate Reida with UK’s seventh run.

    UK added to its lead in the fourth inning, as Riddle led off with a double into the right-centerfield gap, scoring after Kuhn drilled a triple into the gap, with Kuhn scoring after the relay sailed into the dugout. Witt then drew a walk and Bernal lined a double into the left-centerfield gap. After a Reida groundout, Thomas reached on an unconventional fielder’s choice to load the bases for Cousino. Cousino delivered his first career grand slam with a bomb over the rightfield fence, giving UK a 13-1 lead.

    In the fifth inning, Riddle led off with a pop up in the infield that dropped as a single, moving to second after Kuhn was hit by a pitch. After a strike out, Bernal scored Riddle on a RBI groundout to second base. Reida followed with a fly ball to leftfield that went unclaimed by the leftfield, dropping as a single with Reida out at second base with Kuhn scoring from third.

    Kentucky kept rallying in the top of the sixth inning, as Fettes led off with a double into the gap, with Russell joining him on first base after a fielding error. Zellers then got hit by a pitch to load the bases and Boehm reached on a fielder’s choice, with Fettes out at the plate. Riddle then collected his fifth hit of the game as an RBI single through the left side. Kuhn then drew a walk, with Russell scoring on a wild pitch during his at bat. After Kuhn drew a walk, Barrett hung a sacrifice fly to leftfield to score Zellers.

    Niagara got a run back in the bottom of the sixth inning, as Taylor Hackett led off with a fly ball to leftfield that was not claimed and dropped in front of Barrett making his collegiate debut. Kevin Paulsen then flied out to leftfield, with the ball bouncing out of Barrett’s glove for an error. After a fielder’s choice got Hackett out at third, Chris Vangeison doubled into the gap to score Paulsen.

    Niagara scored a run in the bottom of the seventh as Greg Rogers singled and scored on Hackett’s double.

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    No. 23 Eagles Rally to Top Tigers, 6-1

    HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Sophomore Jace James (Oklahoma City, Okla.) turned in a great start for the Mizzou baseball team, but the bullpen couldn't hold his lead as the Tigers dropped the series finale to No. 23 Southern Miss, 6-1, on Sunday afternoon (Feb. 17) at Pete Taylor Park. Mizzou led 1-0 heading to the eighth inning and Southern Miss scored six times in the frame to put Mizzou away. James was sensational in his first career Tiger start as he went 5.0 innings, allowing no runs and just three hits and walking none with a strikeout. He threw 61 pitching in the outing.

    Mizzou was limited to just three hits in the game while Southern Miss tallied nine in the win. In fact, since out-hitting Southern Miss in the season opener on Friday, Mizzou was limited to just nine hits over the final two games of the series. John Miles (Columbia, Mo.) was tagged with the loss, his first of the season, while USM's Jay Myrick earned the win.

    James, in his first career Division I start, breezed through the first inning on just six pitches, keeping Southern Miss off balance in the frame. Gavin Stark (Lee's Summit, Mo.) made a great play on a hard-hit ground ball for the third out to back James in the inning as well. Mizzou went again in order in the second and then James worked around an error by shortstop Josh Lester (Columbus, Ga.) and used a third-to-first pick-off move to get out of the second inning, sending it to the third at 0-0.

    James pitched around some trouble in the fourth and fifth innings and then Mizzou got him in position to finish the game as the winner as Dane Opel (Edwardsville, Ill.) drove in the first run of the game on a fielder's choice, scoring Sal Belfonte (Kansas City, Mo.) from third after he led off the inning with a double to deep left center. After allowing just three hits and now walks while striking out one, James was lifted in favor of Jake Walsh (Dallas, Texas) as he was in line for the win. James threw 61 pitches over the five innings as he was very efficient.

    Walsh came on and issued a leadoff walk Dillon Day, but then retired the next two batters before allowing Day to advance to third after a sacrifice bunt and a steal. Walsh then walked Blake Brown but was able to retire Connor Barron after a great play by Stark at first to save the run, preserving the Tiger lead at 1-0 headed to the seventh.

    Southern Miss got to Walsh a little bit in the eighth inning. After Walsh retired the first batter, he gave up a single and then a fielder's choice and a walk to put two men on for leadoff hitter Day. But Walsh got Day to ground in to a 4-3 out to send the game to the eighth inning.

    After a scoreless top of the eighth, USM jumped all over Tiger reliever Miles as Isaac Rodriguez and Mason Robins led off the frame with back-to-back doubles to tie the game at 1-1. Robins was then sacrificed to third by Brown to put the go-ahead run 90 feet from home. Keaton Steele (St. Joseph, Mo.) then came in to try and mop up the mess. He walked a pair of batters, the latter of which was intentional to load the bases for Austin Roussel, who ripped a single to center field, putting USM on top, 2-1. From there, the Eagles tacked on four more runs to go on top, 6-1, headed to the top of the ninth.

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    Texas A&M Takes Series From UIC

    COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The No. 24 Texas A&M Aggies captured their opening series of the season, taking the rubber match from the UIC Flames, 5-1, in a sun-drenched Sunday afternoon on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.

    UIC (1-2) brewed up trouble early in the contest, loading the bases to lead off the first inning. Alex De LaRosa doubled to left field and a bunt single by Ryan Shober put runners on the corners. Tyler Detmer was issued a walk to load the bases. The Flames took the 1-0 lead when Rafael Pineda's pick-off attempt on the runner at second base sailed into centerfield. Looking to add to the lead, UIC put down a sacrifice bunt to put two runners in scoring position with one out. Pineda induced Harry Kammholz into a pop up to shortstop and got Alex Grunenwald to strike out swinging to end the rally.

    Texas A&M (2-1) bounced back with three runs in the home half of the first. Mikey Reynolds hit a leadoff single to the gap in left centerfield and Krey Bratsen reached on a bunt single. Daniel Mengden was issued a walk to load the bases. Troy Stein bounced a potential double-play ball to short, but it was bobbled by Shober, and UIC could only get the out at second, giving Stein the RBI on the equalizer. Cole Lankford followed with another grounder to short and this time Shober was credited with an error as Bratsen scored the go-ahead run. A third-consecutive RBI grounder, this one by Jonathan Moroney, plated Stein for the 3-1 lead.

    The Aggies added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. With two outs, Charlie Curl doubled to centerfield and moved to third on a balk. Jace Statum tripled down the rightfield line to drive in Curl. Mikey Reynolds capped of the rally with a single through the left side of the infield, plating Statum.

    Reynolds paced the Aggies, going 3-for-4 with one run and one RBI.

    Detmer reached base in all four of his plate appearances going 3-for-3 and getting hit by a pitch.

    Pineda (1-0) earned the victory for the Aggies. He yielded just one run, scattering seven hits and one walk while striking out five over 6.0 innings.

    The Aggies had four relief pitchers make their first-ever appearance in the Maroon and White. In the seventh inning, Ty Schlottmann got the only batter he faced to bounce into a double play and Zach Brashear closed out the frame by inducing a groundout. Grayson Long pitched a scoreless eighth with one hit and two walks. Andrew Vinson made it interesting in the ninth by loading the bases, alternating base runners with outs. The inning consisted of a hit batsman, strikeout, walk, fly out, infield single and an inning-ending strikeout.

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    UNLV Edges Vols In 14 Innings

    LAS VEGAS - In just the sixth game of 14 innings or more in Tennessee history, a two-out, walk-off single by UNLV's Joey Swanner gave the Rebels a 3-2 win on Sunday afternoon at Wilson Stadium.

    The loss was UT's third of the weekend with all three coming by a single run. While certainly a tough lesson, it should provide the youthful Vol squad with much-needed experience for upcoming weeks. In all, Tennessee had 17 different players play their first game for the Orange and White over the weekend, including 14 true freshmen making their collegiate debuts.

    Sunday's game was the second 14-inning contest in the last two years for the Big Orange, having also done so on April 21 last year at Mississippi State. It was just the sixth game of that length or longer in school history though with the others coming in 1952, 1953, 1996 and 1999.

    "Today was a nailbiter for sure," UT head coach Dave Serrano said. "We fought and clawed for everything we could get today. I commend [the UNLV] pitching staff. They did a great job of filling up the strike zone. They did a better job than our pitching staff. In a 3-2 game, it looks like a pitcher's duel and I am proud of the way some of our guys did throw, but we have to get back to throwing more quality pitches and taking out that base on balls to lead off innings which is haunting us right now.

    "We get back on the plane and we aren't proud of being 1-3, but we knew it wasn't going to be easy. We have a lot of work to do, but I will say this as the coach of a 1-3 team right now. I wish a lot of people from the Knoxville area could have seen how hard we played this weekend because they would be very proud. They will see it next weekend against Arizona State at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. They are going to be very proud of this group as they continue to grow as a unit and start to figure out how to win games. That's important because we need to figure out how to win these games. Three tough losses by one run and you can say ifs, ands and buts, but the bottom line is the other team got it done and we didn't."

    In Sunday's contest, the Vols were no-hit through six innings by UNLV starting pitcher Mark Shannon before breaking through in the seventh inning. After a one-out walk by Taylor Smart, Christin Stewart roped a triple to straight-away centerfield. It looked like UT would score its first run of the game on the play only to have the Rebels cut Smart down at the plate for the second out of the inning. Just seconds later, however, Pierce Bily came through with his first of three hits in the game, driving an RBI double to right to tie the game at 1-1.

    Tennessee then took a 2-1 lead in the eighth inning when Will Maddox scored on a wild pitch after punching a single to center and moving to third on a ground ball to third base when the Rebels forgot to cover the bag.

    After UT moved within two outs of victory in the bottom of the ninth, UNLV tied the game back up at 2-2 with an RBI double by Matt McCallister. It looked as if the Rebels might close the game out then with a runner at third and just one out, but UT junior Nick Williams came out of the bullpen to record back-to-back strikeouts to send the game to extra innings.

    He would then pitch three more scoreless innings, striking out four, before handing the ball over to southpaw Dalton Saberhagen who twirled a scoreless 13th inning. Swanner then ended the game with his two-out, walk-off single in the bottom of the 14th.

    Despite earning a no-decision, freshman Aaron Quillen gave the Vols a strong effort in his collegiate debut, scattering five hits and allowing just one run over five quality innings. Fellow classmate Trevor Charpie also pitched well, yielding just a single run on one hit in 3.1 innings of action.