|Kentucky 11, Florida 5
|Texas A&M 2, Georgia 1
|South Carolina 2, Mizzou 0
|Mizzou 4, South Carolina 0
|Arkansas 10, Ole Miss 1
|Vanderbilt 8, Auburn 1
|Tennessee 7, Alabama 6
|LSU 7, Mississippi State 3
Kentucky Evens Up Series With Florida
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- All-America centerfielder Austin Cousino went 3-for-5 with four RBI and his fourth homer of the year, leading No. 9 Kentucky to a series-evening 11-5 win over Florida, on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon in front of 3,120 at McKethan Stadium.
Kentucky (15-3, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) trailed 3-0 entering the top of the sixth inning, with Florida ace right-hander Jonathon Crawford twirling a two-hit gem. Kentucky rallied with two runs to get within striking distance before igniting for a five-run seventh inning to take a 7-3 lead, with Cousino smacking the go-ahead two-RBI single.
UK added a four-run ninth inning to stretch its lead, with Cousino’s two-run homer off the videoboard in rightfield highlighting the offensive explosion.
Cousino led the Wildcats at the plate with his 3-for-5 game, driving n four RBI and stealing his seventh base of the year. In 2013, Cousino has hit .319 with four doubles, four homers, 15 RBI and is a perfect 7-for-7 in stolen base tries.
“It is really nice to see Austin now two days into (SEC play),” UK head coach Gary Henderson said. “Really good to see him get hot again. His swings were good. His bat speed is good. He is seeing it well; laying off the bad pitches, all the things you do when it is going your way. Really glad to see him get hot.”
“Coming into Saturday we wanted to even it up,” Cousino said. “Friday didn’t go the way we planned. We got some great innings out of Grundy, even though his stuff wasn’t top notch, or up to his ability. He battled hard and the offense came through in the sixth inning with (Kyle) Barrett and A.J. (Reed) that is what you have to do in these league games.”
UK got a big hit from A.J. Reed, who tripled home the first run of the game in the sixth inning as the Wildcats started to claw back into the game. Reed went 1-for-3 with two RBI and a walk, with Zac Zellers, J.T. Riddle, Max Kuhn and Micheal Thomas each adding hits. Thomas doubled for the first time in 2013 and Riddle added a pair of RBI, with Kyle Barrett and Matt Reida each recording RBI.
UK senior starter Jerad Grundy (4-1) turned in his fourth quality start of the year, despite battling through the first two frames with three runs allowed on five hits.
“Some days you come out there and you really don’t have your best stuff and you really have to rely on the teammates behind you and that is what I did today,” Grundy said.
“The first thing was Jerad Grundy,” Henderson said what he liked from the team on Saturday. “Obviously (he had) no rhythm at all in the first two innings and the ability to find it and get through the second, put up the four zeros and give us a chance.”
Grundy settled in to work six innings, allowing six hits and three runs, walking four on 82 pitches. The Johnsburg, Ill., native allowed only one two-out single after the second inning.
“It was more just settling down,” Grundy said about getting in a grove after the second inning. “I was probably a little excited opening the SEC and the first couple innings, leaving a couple balls up, being early with my pitches. I settled down and got to hang four zeros after that.”
“The poise,” Henderson said about what impressed him about Grundy. “Nothing special about his pitches today. His concentration was good. His toughness was outstanding. The ability to simply maintain his poise and get through the innings, pitch with guys on base, get out of some jams. I was impressed with Jerad’s overall performance. It was the first time all year that he has really struggled with his rhythm. He set a good example for our club. It is a tough game, there is a lot of failure and sometimes it doesn’t go your way and his ability to get through that was really, really important for us today.”
Kentucky sophomore Chandler Shepherd worked 1.2 innings in the seventh and eighth, allowing three hits and one run, walking one. With the tying run at the plate in the eighth inning and a 1-1 count to Mike Fahrman, UK turned to Trevor Gott, who got two strikes to escape the jam. Gott recorded the final three outs in the ninth – working around an error and a walk – striking out two for his sixth save of the year. Gott owns 17 saves in his three-year career, stretching his UK career record.
The series will conclude at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday at McKethan Stadium, with the Wildcats looking for their first series win at Florida since 1999 and just the fourth all-time series win in Gainesville in the history of the program.
The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Lexington can hear the game live on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com. UK will send junior All-America left-hander Corey Littrell (2-0, 3.22 ERA) to the mound to face Florida freshman righty Eric Handhold (0-1, 6.39 ERA).
Florida’s (9-11, 1-1 SEC) right-handed ace Crawford (0-3) worked six innings, allowing only three hits, surrendering five runs on four walks and two strikeouts.
“He has some electric stuff,” Cousino said about his former USA National Team teammate Jonathon Crawford. “I got to know him over the summer. A great kid. When you face big arms like that you really have to capitalize in any way you can. He shut us down there for a little bit, we got him in the sixth. That is what we are going to face in every SEC weekend. We have to be prepared for that no matter what name comes up.”
UF’s Bobby Poyner came on in the seventh to face left-handed hitters, getting one out, and allowing three hits and two runs. Mike Vinson, Corey Stump and Aaron Rhodes worked in relief for the Gators.
The Gators scored in their first opportunity, as Harrison Bader singled down the leftfield line with one out, taking second on Justin Shafer’s sacrifice bunt. Vickash Ramjit then singled through the left side, with Matt Reida’s diving attempt coming up just short, allowing Bader to score from second.
Florida added to its lead in the bottom of the second, as Josh Tobias worked the count to 3-1, then smashed his second career homer – and second in as many days – over the leftfield fence.
UK got on the board in the top of the sixth, as Zellers led off with a walk to bring up Reed. Reed smashed a triple down the rightfield line to score Zellers from first base. Riddle followed with a groundout to the right side to force in Reed with the second UK run of the game.
In the seventh, UK mounted a furious rally to take the lead and chase Crawford from the mound. Barrett drew a leadoff walk and while Thomas was trying to lay down a sacrifice bunt he was hit by a pitch. Reida then loaded the bases with a walk for Cousino. Cousino smashed a first-pitch single into leftfield to score two and give UK a 4-3 lead. Zellers followed with a perfect bunt single down the third base line to bring up Reed, who hung a sacrifice fly to centerfield to score Thomas. Riddle then singled to centerfield to score Reida and Barrett was plunked with a two-out, bases-loaded pitch to force in a run.
“That gave us some life,” Henderson said about Reed’s RBI triple. “J.T. knocked him in and it was a 3-2 ballgame. We had been pretty lifeless through the first five and then the second half of the game the quality of our at bats got better and we played with a lot more intensity and it was good to see us finally get a few hits.”
Florida immediately answered in the bottom of the seventh, plating a run. Casey Turgeon reached on a one-out walk, taking second on a wild pitch and scoring on Bader’s RBI double into the left-centerfield gap.
Kentucky added four insurance runs in the ninth, as Kuhn led off with a walk, taking second on Thomas Bernal’s sacrifice bunt. Lucas Witt then drew a walk and Thomas doubled down the leftfield line to score Kuhn. Reida forced in Witt with a well-placed groundout and Cousino belted a two-run homer over the rightfield fence, with his monster homer bouncing off the top of the videoboard in rightfield.
In the ninth, Florida plated a run for the final margin, 11-5. Turgeon drew a leadoff walk and Bader reached on a fielding error up the middle. A pair of groundouts scored Turgeon with the unearned run, with Ramjit forcing in the run with a slow roller to Reed at first base.
Texas A&M Downs Georgia in 10 Innings
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - With a season-high 6,112 fans in attendance, junior outfielder Krey Bratsen recorded his second walk-off RBI of the week to give the Texas A&M Aggies a 2-1 win over the Georgia Bulldogs in an extra-inning affair on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park on Saturday afternoon.
With the scored knotted at 1-1 in the bottom of the 10th inning, Jace Statum served as catalyst for the game-winning rally, drawing a six-pitch walk to start the frame and moving to second on a sacrifice bunt by Mikey Reynolds. Bratsen provided the endgame by punching a 1-2 offering into shallow right centerfield to drive in Statum.
Earlier in the week, Bratsen was issued bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth for a 6-5 walk-off win against the Houston Baptist Huskies. Saturday's Olsen Magic win gave A&M six consecutive wins at Blue Bell Park.
Texas A&M (13-7, 2-0 SEC) broke the scoring seal in the bottom of the third inning. Statum was issued a four-pitch walk to start the frame and stole second base with one out. After Krey Bratsen popped out to the shortstop for the second out of the inning, Blake Allemand bounced a single through the left side of the infield, plating Statum for the 1-0 lead.
Georgia (8-11, 0-2 SEC) took advantage of a sun-aided single to notch an equalizer in the top of the fifth inning. Brett DeLoach popped a ball into the air on the left side of the infield. Back-pedaling from his position at shortstop, Reynolds lost the ball in the sun and the wind carried it into shallow left centerfield for a leadoff single. With one out, Jess Posey deposited a double down the rightfield line to drive in DeLoach, tying the game at 1-1. Aggie starter Daniel Mengden was able to strand Posey at second with a pair of strikeouts.
Mengden equaled a career-long with his 8.0 innings. He allowed one run on six hits while striking out eight in the no-decision. Jason Jester (2-0) earned the win, retiring six of the seven batters he faced in 2.0 innings. He allowed one walk and recorded one strikeout.
Jared Walsh (1-2) was strapped with the loss in relief. He allowed one run on one hit and one walk while striking out one over 2.1 innings. Starter Patrick Boling recorded a career-high with 10 strikeouts. He yielded one run on six hits and two walks over 6.2 innings.
Statum went 1-for-1 with three walks and two runs scored. In the last two games, he is 1-for-1 with two sacrifice bunts, five walks, three runs and one RBI.
Reynolds went 2-for-4 with one sacrifice bunt and one stolen base. With his first-inning single, Reynolds extended his streak of consecutive games with a hit to 19, tied for ninth place on the school's all-time list. Allemand batted 2-for-4 with one RBI.
Curt Powell was the only Bulldog to record multiple hits, going 2-for-4 on the afternoon.
The Aggies will go for their first weekend series sweep of the season on Sunday when they host Georgia in a 12:05 pm contest at Blue Bell Park. The contest will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest.
South Carolina Blanks Mizzou in First Leg of Doubleheader
Columbia, Mo. - South Carolina senior left-hander Nolan Belcher hurled 8.1 scoreless innings and combined with senior left-hander Tyler Webb for a five-hit shutout as the fifth ranked Gamecocks defeated Missouri 2-0 in game one of the doubleheader at Taylor Stadium. The Gamecocks win the series and improve to 17-2 and 2-0 in the SEC with Missouri dropping to 5-9 and 0-2 in league play. The second game of the doubleheader is scheduled for 5:40 p.m. ET.
South Carolina broke ahead 1-0 in the third inning with an unearned run. Max Schrock reached base with a one-out single to center. With two outs and Schrock on first base, Joey Pankake belted a single into right-center on a hit and run. On the play, Missouri center fielder Logan Pearson mishandled his fielding attempt and Schrock kept hustling and scored all the way from first base to give the Gamecocks a one-run lead.
Chase Vergason increased the lead to 2-0 in the fifth inning with a solo home run. On Graves' 1-0 pitch, Vergason turned on a fastball that went over the wall in right field for his third homer of the season.
Belcher limited the Tigers to just five hits and struck out six batters while walking none. He has pitched 26.1 consecutive innings without allowing a run and has not allowed a walk since the Liberty game on opening weekend. He is now 4-1 on the year. Webb pitched 0.2 perfect innings for his seventh save of the season and second of the series. Missouri starter Brett Graves suffered the loss and is now 0-2 on the year. He allowed two runs, one earned, on seven hits with no walks and four strikeouts.
Mizzou Returns the Favor in Night Cap
Columbia, Mo. - Missouri raced out to a three-run lead in the first two innings and behind a combined three pitchers, earned a 4-0 win over fifth ranked South Carolina in the final game of a three-game SEC baseball series at Taylor Stadium. The loss snaps South Carolina's 10-game winning streak. Despite the loss in game two of the doubleheader, the Gamecocks take the first conference series of the year. South Carolina is now 17-3 and 2-1 in the SEC with Missouri 6-9 and 1-2 in the league.
Missouri reliever Keaton Steele earned the win and is 2-0 on the year. He worked six scoreless innings and allowed just three this and one walk while striking out seven batters. South Carolina starter Colby Holmes suffered the loss and is now 1-2 on the year. He allowed three runs on three hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 1.1 innings of work.
Missouri broke ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning. Dane Opel drew a two-out walk and scored on Dylan Kelly's RBI double down the left field line. The lead increased to 3-0 in the second inning. Consecutive walks to Jake Ivory and Josh Lester started the frame for the Tigers. A one-out bloop single by Dillon Everett loaded the bases and Ivory then scored on an infield single off the bat of Kendall Keeton. Lester then scored Mizzou's third run on a wild pitch by Holmes.
It remained that way until the seventh inning when the Tigers scratched across one more run. Kelly led off with a single, his third hit of the afternoon. A one-out single by Ivory and a walk to Lester loaded the bases for the Tigers. Kelly would score on a RBI fielder's choice to Pankake off the bat of Shane Segovia.
Missouri has nine hits on the afternoon with Carolina tallying four for the contest. Kelly went 3-for-5 for Missouri with Ivory 2-for-2 and Everett 2-for-3 as well. Pankake's hitting streak was snapped at 11 games.
"It was a tough day to play for both teams," said South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook. Nolan (Belcher) has been incredible and pitched well (in game one). We stung the ball pretty good (in game two). I thought are at bats were okay we just couldn't generate momentum. It's a weekend series and we won it, so we will take the series and head home, get some rest and get ready for a big week ahead."
South Carolina is back in action on Tuesday night traveling to Charleston, S.C. for a non-conference contest with The Citadel. First pitch at Joe Riley Park is set for 7 p.m. ET. The game can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College including flagship station, 107.5 FM, "The Game." Live audio broadcast is available at GamecocksOnline.com.
Arkansas Blasts Ole Miss to Even Series
FAYETTEVILLE – Randall Fant allowed just one run over six innings, while Joe Serrano had three hits and Tyler Spoon drove in three runs to lead No. 15 Arkansas to a 10-1 win over No. 8 Ole Miss on Saturday afternoon at Baum Stadium.
Arkansas improves to 14-6 overall and 1-1 in the Southeastern Conference, while Ole Miss drops to 19-2, 1-1 in league play.
The victory for the Razorbacks evens the weekend series with the rubber game scheduled for tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. Arkansas will start junior right hander Ryne Stanek (1-1, 3.71), while Ole Miss will start sophomore righty Sam Smith (2-0, 2.70). The series finale will be televised by CST. Tickets remain for Sunday’s series finale. Reserved tickets are $10 and can be purchased by calling 1-800-982-HOGS (4647), by visiting ArkansasRazorbacks.com or on gameday at Baum Stadium, while supplies last.
Fant (1-0) earned his first win of the season, striking out five and giving up just one run over six innings of work.
Jalen Beeks and Colby Suggs combined to throw three shutout innings of relief. Beeks tossed two scoreless frames, while Suggs threw a perfect ninth inning. With the three shutout innings today, the Arkansas bullpen has allowed only one unearned over the last 22.1 innings.
At the plate, the Arkansas offense had 11 hits in the victory. Serrano had a team-high three hits for the Razorbacks with a RBI and a run scored. Tyler Spoon drove in three runs and went 1-for-4 with a run scored. Eric Fisher was 2-for-5 with a run scored, while Jacob Mahan went 1-for-2 with a RBI and three runs scored.
Ole Miss starter Mike Mayers (2-1) took his first loss of the season. Mayers gave up seven runs, five earned, on nine hits and struck out five over 5.1 innings.
The Rebels were led offensively by Auston Bousfield, who had three hits and scored a run. Sikes Orvis went 1-for-4 with a RBI, while Stuart Turner had a pair of hits.
For the second straight day, the Razorbacks struck first, scoring once in the bottom of the first. Mahan drew a four-pitch walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Serrano. A ground out to short by Spoon advanced Mahan to third. After a walk to Brian Anderson, Vinson reached on an infield single to first, scoring Mahan for the game’s first run.
Arkansas added two more runs in the home half of the second. Fisher began the inning with a single to right field and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jacob Morris. A single to left by Brett McAfee put runners on the corners with one out. Mahan then laid down a bunt that got past Mayers for an infield single, scoring Fisher from third and advancing McAfee to second. A base hit to right by Serrano loaded the bases for Spoon, who beat out an attempted double play at first to score McAfee and put the Razorbacks in front 3-0.
Ole Miss got a run back in the top of the fourth. Bousfield and Turner started the inning with back-to-back singles. With one out, Orvis singled up the middle, plating Bousfield from second.
Arkansas stretched the lead to 5-1 with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Spoon was hit by a pitch to start the inning and advanced to second on a single to left by Anderson. Vinson laid down a sacrifice bunt back to the mound, but the pitcher’s throw to first was wild, allowing both Spoon and Anderson to score on the error and giving the Razorbacks a four-run edge.
The Razorbacks added two more runs in the sixth and three in the seventh. In the sixth, Spoon drove in two runs with a double to the right-center field gap. In the seventh, Morris scored from second on a wild pitch, Serrano drove in a run with a RBI single to left and a throwing error by the left fielder allowed another run to score.
Ole Miss put two runners on the eighth, but Beeks was able to work out of the jam. In the ninth, Suggs induced three ground balls to end the game and give Arkansas the 10-1 win.
Vanderbilt Claims Series at Auburn
Auburn, Ala. - No. 2 Vanderbilt scored six runs over the last three innings to put away Auburn and claim the series with an 8-1 win at Plainsman Park Saturday afternoon.
The Commodores' (18-2) offense struggled through the first three innings before finally breaking through in the fifth inning. Freshman Rhett Wiseman broke up a scoreless game ripping a triple into right field to score Mike Yastrzemski from first base. Joel McKeithan made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly to deep left-center field. The Dores put the game away over the last three innings scoring six runs on eight hits. Wiseman and McKeithan again provided the runs in the seventh inning. Wiseman with a RBI-single and McKeithan with a safety squeeze bunt to score Vince Conde from third. McKeithan's career day was capped by a RBI-single in the Commodores' three-run ninth. The VU shortstop drove in a career-high three runs in the win going 1-for-2.
"We go into each game trying to be aggressive," McKeithan said of the offense. "Yesterday it worked out that we got our pitches to hit early in the game, that we could hit and drive in some runs. Today it worked out that we had to make a little adjustment half way through the game. Right after that we started putting runs on the board."
Seven different Commodores had at least one of the team's 11 hits on the afternoon. Kemp led the way with three hits as Jack Lupo and Wiseman added two each.
For the second straight day Vanderbilt's starting pitcher turned in 6.1 no-hit innings. Tyler Beede (5-0) followed up Kevin Ziomek's Friday night gem with 6.1 no-hit innings of his own. Beede, however, was anything but perfect walking six Tigers over his 6.2 scoreless innings to earn the win. The sophomore pitched himself into and out of trouble all afternoon but did not allow a run and only two hits. Beede stranded three runners over the first two frames before settling down in the third and fourth innings. Damek Tomscha finally broke up the no-hit bid in the seventh inning with a single to center field and Dan Glevenyak's single chased Beede from the game. Steven Rice entered and struck out the only batter he faced to end the Tigers' threat in the seventh.
"[Tyler] didn't really have his best stuff today but he battled," said McKeithan. "He had a no hitter through six and that really shows what kind of stuff he has to be able to go out there when he doesn't have his best stuff and compete."
Auburn again threatened to get back in the game in the eighth loading the bases against freshman Carson Fulmer. After Fulmer forced in a run with his second walk of the inning, closer Brian Miller was summoned from the VU bullpen. Miller needed just two pitches to get the final out of the eighth before working the ninth inning to earn his sixth save of the season. Auburn starter Michael O'Neal took the loss allowing three runs on three hits over six-plus innings. The Tigers' bullpen allowed five runs on eight hits over the final three innings.
Vanderbilt's 18-2 start is the team's best since 2011 when the squad matched the 2007 team school record 19-1 start. The Commodores are now 11-1 when scoring at least seven runs and a perfect 18-0 when holding opponents to four runs or less.
The Dores go for the sweep tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. Lefty Philip Pfeifer (2-0) gets the ball for Vanderbilt against Auburn's right-hander Rocky McCord (2-0).
LSU Powers Past MSU
STARKVILLE, Miss. - LSU junior right-hander Ryan Eades limited Mississippi State to one run in seven innings Saturday night, and freshman shortstop Alex Bregman launched a three-run homer to lead the second-ranked Tigers to a 7-3 win over the No. 8 Bulldogs at Dudy Noble Field.
The win clinched a series victory for LSU, as the Tigers improved to 18-1 overall and 2-0 in the Southeastern Conference. Mississippi State dropped to 18-4 overall and 0-2 in league play.
The series concludes at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in a game that can be heard on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network. Live video, audio and stats are available at www.LSUsports.net.
LSU won an SEC series over Mississippi State for the seventh consecutive time, and the Tigers have won five straight series in Starkville.
Eades (4-0) threw 108 pitches in seven innings, limiting MSU to one.