Mississippi State fell to 18-3, 0-1 in SEC play.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Sixth-ranked Ole Miss (19-1, 1-0 SEC) posted the best start in program history on Friday night, using 10 hits and a pair of long balls to defeat No. 11 Arkansas (13-6, 0-1 SEC) by a score of 7-1 in the conference opener at Baum Stadium.
Ole Miss had previously started a season 18-2 through the first 20 games in 1960, 1964 and 2004.
Preston Overbey went 2-for-4 on the night with a second-inning grand slam to power the Rebels to the early lead. Sikes Orvis then helped extend things in the fifth with his first home run of the season, a solo shot, that helped spark a three-run innings as Ole Miss took the 7-1 lead that would hold for the final margin of victory.
Bobby Wahl (5-0) picked up the win, allowing one run on three hits with five walks and five strikeouts through 7.0 innings of work. It was the longest outing of the season for the junior right-hander.
Trey Killian (2-2) took the loss as the freshman allowed seven runs on five hits with two walks through 3.0 innings of work. He did not strike out a batter in the start.
“I’m proud of the way we came out ready to compete today,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “The challenge all along has been to remember we don’t have to do anything different tonight on a Friday in SEC play at a tough stadium. We’ve done what we did all year and handled the pressure and were relaxed and composed and put an inning together to answer their early run. We swung the bat well throughout the lineup tonight and then Bobby (Wahl) was able to settle in and pitched much better down the stretch.”
Arkansas struck first turning a lead-off double into a run in the first inning to take the early lead on the Rebels. Jacob Mahan doubled down the third base line to start things off and took third on a groundout to second from Dominic Ficociello. He then scored when Tyler Spoon singled to left center to give the Razorbacks the 1-0 edge.
Ole Miss responded in a big way in the top of the second, loading the bases with two outs before Preston Overbey delivered a grand slam to left. A one-out single from Andrew Mistone put the first man on, before a two-out single from Will Allen and a walk of Will Jamison would load the bases. Overbey then took the 2-1 pitch and sent it deep over the wall in left field to put Ole Miss on top 4-1.
Arkansas threatened in the bottom of the inning by loading the bases with two outs, but the Rebels got out o the inning with no damage on a fly ball to center to end the attempted rally by the Razorbacks.
Ole Miss extended the lead in the fourth, kicking things off with a solo home run from Orvis to start the inning before plating two more runs down the stretch. Following the lead-off shot from the Rebel first baseman, Allen and Jamison again reached on a single and a walk to put two men on. A wild pitch moved both into scoring position to set up an RBI groundout from Tanner Mathis and a double to left from Auston Bousfield to take the lead to 7-1.
Wahl continued to hold the Razorbacks off the board through the seventh inning, allowing only three base runners total from the third through the seventh. Scott Weathersby then took the mound to finish out the game, pitching the eighth and ninth with one walk, three strikeouts and did not allow a hit.
The two teams will continue the series with game two at 2:05 p.m. on Saturday at Baum Stadium.
Alabama Opens SEC Play With Big Win
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Senior right-hand pitcher Charley Sullivan (1-1) threw a complete game, three-hitter for Alabama, as the Crimson Tide cruised to a 12-1 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers to open Southeastern Conference play on Friday night from Sewell-Thomas Stadium. With the win, Alabama improves to 10-8 overall and 1-0 in SEC play, while Tennessee falls to 9-8 overall and 0-1 in conference action.
"I thought that Charley Sullivan was outstanding tonight,” UA head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “The first couple innings it took a little bit for him to get going but then he found a really good rhythm in the third inning. He had a lot of good pitches and worked ahead in the count and had some quick innings. The ability to get a complete game on a Friday night is big help as you move into the weekend … with bullpen being rested.”
After giving up a run in the first inning, Sullivan settled in to pitch a gem for the Tide, going all nine innings and only allowing one run on three hits and a walk. Sullivan struck out seven batters and used 106 pitches to dismantle the 30 batters he faced. Sullivan threw the first complete game for Alabama since Nathan Kilcrease’s complete game performance against South Carolina on May 19, 2011. It was the first complete game three-hitter for an Alabama pitcher since March 6, 2011, when Tucker Hawley pitched a gem against Northwestern State.
UT starter Zack Godley (1-2) was charged with the loss after allowing eight runs (four earned) offense on eight hits and a walk.
Sophomore right fielder Ben Moore keyed the Alabama offense, going 2-for-4 with a three-run double and a single, was hit by pitch, stole a base and scored a run. Senior catcher Brett Booth had another strong game, going 3-for-3 with two singles, a double, a stolen base and three runs scored. Kyle Overstreet drove in two and had a run scored, and Georgie Salem, Austin Smith and Mikey White all drove in a run. Cameron Carlisle made his first start of the season as the designated hitter, and was 1-for-3 with two walks and a run scored.
Sullivan allowed a leadoff walk to Taylor Smart to start the game, and after he stole second, Smart advanced home on sacrifice bunt and a groundout for the first run of the game. The Tide responded in the second, as Overstreet, Carlisle and Andrew Miller all reached base to set up a Salem bases loaded walk to tie the game. Moore cleared the bases with a stand-up double to put Alabama up, 4-1.
“Offensively, I thought the big hit by Ben Moore in the second to put us up 4-1 really kind of relaxed things and got the hitters going,” Gaspard said. “We also had really good offensive pressure throughout the ball game. Brett (Booth) had some good hits. It was good to see our offense have some confidence.”
Alabama kept the runs coming by adding two more in the fifth. After Roberts singled to open the inning, Booth singled and showed some crafty base running with a as he reached second on an attempt to throw out Roberts at third. Although Smith struck out, a wild pitch thrown on strike three allowed Booth to move up and Roberts to score from third. Overstreet capped off the inning by advancing Booth home on a groundout to stretch the lead to 6-1.
Moore was hit by a pitch to open the seventh and after Booth singled for the second time in the game, they executed a double steal to move both runners into scoring position. With the stolen base, more is now 8-for-8 this season to lead the team. Moore scored after a single by Smith and a balk by Tennessee’s Eric Martin with runners on the corners, allowed Booth to score, putting the Tide up 8-1.
Alabama added four runs in the bottom of the eighth, thanks to three Tennessee errors in the inning. Doubles by Salem and Booth helped extend the big inning for Alabama, as Booth, Overstreet and White all had RBIs in the frame. Wade Wass made his Alabama debut as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning and reached on an error by the Tennessee shortstop.
“I thought it was one of the better games we've played for nine innings. We were solid, pitched well and played really well defensively. Offensively, we had a good plan all night long."
Alabama returns for game two on Saturday at 6:05 p.m. CT, and the final game of the series is slated for 1:05 p.m. CT on Sunday. Alabama will start sophomore LHP Jon Keller (2-2, 3.00) and Tennessee is slated to threw freshman RHP Aaron Quillen (1-1, 4.05).
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Florida Claims Opener Against Kentucky
Florida (9-10/1-0 SEC) snapped a 1-1 tie with a three-run seventh to notch a 4-1 victory over No. 10 Kentucky (14-3/0-1 SEC) in the teams’ Southeastern Conference opener on Friday night at McKethan Stadium. In what was a pitching duel between Gator freshman right-hander Jay Carmichael (Cape Coral, Fla.) and Wildcat sophomore left-hander A.J. Reed, UF scored three unearned runs in the seventh to claim its league debut for the fourth-straight year and the fifth time in head coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s six years at the helm. Sophomore Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) (3-1) threw two scoreless innings to pick up the win, while sophomore Johnny Magliozzi (East Milton, Mass.) kept UK off the board in the ninth to register his fourth save.
“It’s one thing to get your first start, but then you get your first start against a ranked opponent for the first SEC game of the year,” said O’Sullivan. “I thought he [Jay Carmichael] did a really nice job. He pitched into the sixth inning and kind of got himself in trouble when he hit a guy and walked a couple of guys, but other than that, he commanded the ball, pitched with all three of his pitches and did a really nice job. I thought our bullpen came in and did a terrific job: [Bobby] Poyner, [Ryan] Harris and Mags [Johnny Magliozzi] did exactly what they needed to do.”
“I think the great thing about our offense tonight was Josh Tobias having a 2-for-2 night, hitting a home run the other way and staying on the ball. I saw some emotion from him when he was coming around first base and I was awfully pleased and happy for him there. We obviously manufactured some runs in the seventh inning, but it was a great team effort. The pitching was outstanding all night long; any time you hold a team like Kentucky to four hits and one run over nine innings, you’ve got to feel good about that, pitching-wise. The bottom of our order did well – Connor Mitchell had a hit and Tobias had two – so, three of our six hits were from the eight and nine spots. The middle of our order needs to get going a little bit more, but it was just one of those games where it came down to a pitch here or an at-bat there. We played a complete game.”
Sophomore Austin Cousino (2-for-3) led off the game with a base-hit into left field and Carmichael had junior J.T. Riddle ground into a 4-6-3 double play and sophomore Max Kuhn ground out.
Sophomore Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) (2-for-2) provided the Gators with a 1-0 lead with his first career homer with two down in the third inning. Reed (2-2) had retired the first eight UF hitters of the contest before Tobias sent the left-hander’s first offering over the right-field fence.
“I was looking for a good pitch to drive,” Tobias acknowledged. “I just put a good swing on it. It was good to get ahead early and put the pressure on them.”
The Wildcats loaded the bases in the fourth inning, as Riddle was hit by a pitch, Kuhn followed with a walk with one down and junior Paul McConkey earned a two-out walk. Carmichael had redshirt junior Micheal Thomas pop up to sophomore Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) at shortstop to strand the runners.
The Gators mounted a two-out rally in the fifth, thanks to a walk by sophomore Connor Mitchell (Tampa, Fla.) and an infield single by Tobias. Reed kept the score at 1-0 by having Turgeon fly out to right field.
Reed (2-for-4) helped his own cause with a game-tying RBI double in the sixth. Cousino had opened the inning with a single into left field and Carmichael had Riddle pop up to redshirt sophomore Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) for the first out. Cousino moved into scoring position with his team-leading sixth stolen base and Carmichael struck out Kuhn. However, Reed sent a 3-2 pitch to straightaway center field to bring home Cousino on his third two-bagger of the year. After matching his career-high of 5.2 innings, in which he yielded three hits and totaled two strikeouts, Carmichael was replaced by sophomore Bobby Poyner (Wellington, Fla.). The southpaw had McConkey ground out to preserve the stalemate.
"It was something else,” said Carmichael about making his first collegiate start. “It was a great experience. Having these guys behind me really helps, they're very supportive. We needed that [win] badly; and we’re going to run with this and keep fighting.”
In the home part of the frame, freshman Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) led off with his second triple of the season. Reed left him there by having sophomore Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) pop up to first base and then struck out senior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) and sophomore Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.).
After Harris worked a 1-2-3 seventh, the Gators capitalized on three Kentucky errors and plated three runs on two hits to build a 4-1 advantage. A throwing error by McConkey at third base enabled Powers to occupy second base to start the frame. Freshman Brady Roberson (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) then laid down a bunt that McConkey mishandled for runners on the corners with none out. Mitchell beat out an infield single to score Powers with the go-ahead run and moved freshman pinch runner Christian Dicks (Jacksonville, Fla.) to second base. Tobias sacrificed his teammates into scoring position with a bunt and Turgeon delivered an RBI single into right field to plate Dicks for a 3-1 advantage. Reed uncorked a wild pitch that pushed Turgeon to second and a fielder’s choice by Bader resulted in Mitchell being safe at the plate when he beat the throw from junior shortstop Matt Reida. Senior Walter Wijas came in for Reed (6.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 1 ER) and had Shafer fly out to center field before McConkey’s third error of the inning loaded the bases with two down. Wijas jammed Gushue on a pop-up into foul territory to hold the Wildcats’ deficit at three runs.
Magliozzi replaced Harris (2.0 IP, 0 H) prior to the ninth and Reed led off with a single and redshirt sophomore Thomas Bernal followed by being hit by a pitch. The right-hander responded by having the next three hitters, sophomore pinch hitter Jeff Boehm, senior Zac Zellers and Reida, fly out to center field to complete the contest. Florida held a 6-4 advantage in hits.
Rusty Ensor and Tom Werme will be in the booth for tomorrow’s second game of the series for SportsSouth at 12 p.m., with the contest being shown in Gainesville on Sun Sports, Channel 48 or 1048 (HD). Junior right-hander Jonathon Crawford (Okeechobee, Fla.) (0-2, 4.22) will meet UK senior southpaw Jerad Grundy (3-1, 1.35). The contest between the Gators and Wildcats will be available online through GatorVision, while Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell will call the action for the Gator IMG Sports Network. Live audio and stats will be available on GatorZone.com and fans can also follow updates of each game on @GatorZoneBB, the official Twitter account of the Gator baseball program.