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    SEC Baseball Tonight - Friday, 3/29

    Friday Night BASEBall RESULTS
    Kentucky 3,  Georgia 2
    Ole Miss 4,  Florida 3
    Auburn 6,  Alabama 3
    LSU 2,  Missouri 0
    South Carolina 6,  Texas A&M 4
    Arkansas 5,  Mississippi State 4
    Vanderbilt 4,  Tennessee 3


    TIGERS BLANK MISSOURI, 2-0, FOR SIXTH STRAIGHT WIN

    COLUMBIA, Mo. – Aaron Nola fired 7 2/3 shutout innings to propel LSU (No. 2 USA Today/ESPN, No. 3 Baseball America, No. 4 Collegiate Baseball) to a 2-0 victory over Missouri in the opener of a three-game Southeastern Conference series Friday night at Taylor Stadium.

    LSU (24-2 overall, 6-1 SEC) won its sixth consecutive contest in its first meeting with Missouri (9-13, 2-5) since it joined the SEC last July, and the first meeting between the rival Tigers since 1986.

    Nola (4-0) struck out 10 and did not issue a walk until the eighth inning. He threw 69 of his 103 pitches for strikes, scattering only five singles.

    “Aaron was really sharp tonight; he pounded the zone and mixed his pitches well to keep them off-balance,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “The conditions weren’t great for hitting tonight, and we managed just enough offense to get the win. Missouri’s starter (Rob Zastryzny) was tough and didn’t allow us to sustain a big inning, but I’m happy our players earned a hard-fought victory.”

    Missouri threatened to undo Nola’s work in the bottom of the eighth after Case Munson lined a hard leadoff single through the right side, and Logan Pearson walked with one out.

    Nola’s final batter of the night, Dillon Everett, chased a 2-2 pitch low and outside for the second out.

    LSU closer Chris Cotton came in to face Dane Opel, and Cotton won the lefty vs. lefty matchup by inducing a fielder’s choice to leave the runners stranded.

    Cotton gave up a one-out single to Kendall Keeton in the ninth, but he struck out two other batters and induced a ground ball to notch his seventh save.

    Missouri starter Rob Zastrynzy (1-5) allowed just one earned run when Mason Katz jumped on a high fastball with two out in the top of the fourth inning for his team-high 11th home run, breaking the scoreless tie.

    Dylan Kelly led off the bottom of the fourth with an infield hit, and he was on third with one out following a wild pitch, but Nola buckled down, striking out Michael McGraw and retiring Josh Lester on a ground ball.

    LSU added an unearned run with two out in the eighth when Keeton misplayed Raph Rhymes’ ground ball to second, which allowed Andrew Stevenson to scamper home.

    Stevenson was hit by a pitch with one out and moved to second on a single by Alex Bregman.

    Zastrynzy struck out seven and walked one over 7 2/3 innings, scattering five hits.
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    Two Home Runs Lead Auburn To 6-3, Series-Evening Win Over Alabama
                                        
    AUBURN, Ala. – Hunter Kelley hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the third and Garrett Cooper hit a three-run shot in a four-run fifth as the Auburn baseball team claimed a 6-3 win over Alabama on Friday night to even the three-game series at a game each. The win improves Auburn’s record to 16-11, 1-7 SEC while Alabama fell to 17-11, 6-2 SEC.

    “It was important for us to get that lead,” Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. “We finally got some things to go our way. Hunter Kelley came up with a big two-run home run and Garrett Cooper, who has been swinging the bat really well, came up big for us today.”

    Michael O’Neal (5-2) gave the Auburn pitching staff just what it needed as he went 7 2/3 innings to earn his first SEC win. The southpaw surrendered an unearned run in the first and two more in the eighth as he was able to scatter eight Alabama hits in his outing without walking any hitters. At one point he retired 10 straight Alabama hitters, starting with the final hitter of the first through the final hitter of the fourth.

    “It’s Alabama and you want to win, especially having lost seven straight in the SEC,” O’Neal said. “We have not been playing well lately and everything bad that could happen bad happen to us. It was finally nice to have that night where when Hunter takes it deep you just know we are going to win. It’s just nice to get that win and get that monkey off our back.”

    “We had some momentum going our way and when you have a guy on the mound like Michael O’Neal, who is just a strike thrower, he misses barrels and did a great job,” Pawlowski said.

    Kelley, hitting ninth, gave Auburn its first lead in SEC play in the bottom of the third when he stroked a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left for his first home run of the season, a two-run shot following a Blake Austin walk.

    Two innings later Auburn got to Alabama starter Jon Keller (3-3) again as it had three hits and two walks to take a 6-1 lead. Kelley drew a one-out walk to get the inning started, went to third on a Ryan Tella single and scored on a Jordan Ebert single. Cooper then stepped to the plate and smashed a ball to dead center for his second home run of the season and his first since opening weekend.

    “I was looking for a ball up and he threw me a fastball right over the plate,” Cooper said. “As soon as I hit it I knew it was getting out of here. Last night I came up with the bases loaded and hit into a double play. Tonight was a different story.”

    Alabama would not go away quietly, scoring two more unearned runs in the eighth on a Booth sac fly and an Austen Smith RBI single to cut the deficit to three.

    With two down in the eighth following the Smith single, Pawlowski called on Tuscaloosa native Terrance Dedrick to get the final four outs. The right-hander needed three pitches to get Kyle Overstreet to ground into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.

    “I just had to get up there and throw strikes and keep the ball low,” Dedrick said of coming in in the eighth. “It was a very exciting moment for me but the only thing on my mind was to not let them get a good swing on the ball and not let that runner in.”

    In the ninth, Mikey White led off with a single but Dedrick got pinch hitter Cameron Carlisle to ground into the 3-6-1 double play and then struck out pinch hitter Andrew Miller to nail down his second save of the season.

    Alabama went up 1-0 in the first when Brett Booth hit a two-out RBI double.
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    KUHN’S WALK-OFF WALK LIFTS NO. 8 BASEBALL TO 3-2 WIN

    LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Sophomore Max Kuhn drew a bases-loaded, two-out walk in the bottom of the 10th inning to force in the walk-off run, leading No. 8 Kentucky to a 3-2 series-opening win over Georgia, on Friday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

    Kentucky (20-5, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) saw its 2-1 lead erased in the bottom of the ninth inning, as the Bulldogs plated a game-tying run with two outs and two strikes off UK record-setting closer Trevor Gott.

    After a scoreless bottom of the ninth, the Wildcats mounted the game-winning rally with one out in the bottom of the 10th. Shortstop Matt Reida drew a one-out walk to spark the charge, with Georgia then turning to closer and rightfielder Jared Walsh to face UK All-America centerfielder Austin Cousino. Cousino and then Zac Zellers drew clutch walks to load the bags for A.J. Reed – who took a hard-luck, no-decision as the starting pitcher. On a 1-2 count, Walsh’s breaking ball skidded away from catcher Brett DeLoach, who took over behind the plate in the ninth. Reida took off from third and was out sliding at the plate for the second out. Reed then took a ball and was hit by a full-count pitch to load the bases for Kuhn with two outs.

    A native of Zionsville, Ind., Kuhn drew four consecutive balls to draw the game-winning, walk-off walk and force in Cousino with the decisive run. The walk was Kuhn’s team-high 23rd of 2013, with the infielder owning a 23-16 walk-strikeout ratio. Kuhn has the most walks for a UK player through the first 25 games of the season since All-America outfielder Sawyer Carroll drew 25 walks in his first 25 games of 2007.  

    Reed worked 8.1 dominating innings, allowing only six hits and one run, not issuing a walk and striking out four. He left with a 2-1 lead, the bases clear and one out in the top of the ninth inning, with Gott taking over in relief.

    Gott, the UK single-season and career save record holder, got the first two outs and worked pinch hitter Jess Posey – brother of MLB MVP Buster Posey – to a 1-2 count before Jess Posey lined a single the opposite way to score the game-tying run and give Gott his first blown save of 2013 and his first in a span of 16 consecutive save chances. Gott worked 1.2 innings, allowing three hits and one run, not issuing a walk and striking out two.

    UK collected eight hits in the game, with Cousino and freshman rightfielder Kyle Barrett leading the club with two hits each. Cousino went 2-for-3 with two RBI and two walks, ripping a two-run double in the fifth inning to give UK a 2-1 lead. Barrett went 2-for-3, with UK also getting hits from Reed, J.T. Riddle, Paul McConkey and Micheal Thomas.

    Georgia (9-18, 0-7 SEC) starter Sean McLaughlin worked eight innings, allowing eight hits and two runs, walking one and striking out seven. Lefty Jarrett Brown worked 1.1 innings, allowing just one walk and one strikeout. Walsh (1-3) took the loss, allowing the decisive run on three walks with one out recorded.
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    Arkansas rallies for 5-4 win over Miss. State

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. –  Matt Vinson put Arkansas ahead with a three-run triple in the bottom of the seventh and the 13th-ranked Razorbacks held off a Mississippi State rally in the top of the ninth to defeat the No. 16 Bulldogs, 5-4, on Friday night at Baum Stadium.

    With the victory, Arkansas improves to 20-7 overall and 5-2 in Southeastern Conference play, while Mississippi State drops to 22-7 and 2-5 in league play.

    With Mississippi State leading 3-2 entering the bottom of the seventh, the Razorbacks rallied for three runs to take a 5-3 lead. Tyler Spoon started the rally with a one-out single and advanced to second after a walk to Brian Anderson. Dominic Ficociello was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Vinson, who lifted a 1-0 pitch over the head of center fielder C.T. Bradford and to the wall in left-center field, clearing the bases to give the Razorbacks a 5-3 lead. Arkansas was unable to extend the lead as Vinson was left stranded at third base.

    After a quiet eighth inning, Mississippi State did not go quietly in the top half of the ninth. A leadoff walk to Brett Pirtle and a hit by pitch to Demarcus Henderson put runners on first and second with nobody out. Nick Ammirati laid down a bunt to the left of the mound and Trent Daniel attempted to throw Pirtle out at third, but the throw was low and got past Jacob Mahan, allowing Pirtle to score, moving Henderson to third and Ammirati to second with nobody out. Daniel induced a pop out by MSU leadoff man Adam Frazier for the first out of the inning. Arkansas then called on closer Colby Suggs, who got C.T. Bradford to fly out to left for the second out. After an intentional walk to Hunter Renfroe loaded the bases, Suggs struck out Alex Detz on three pitches to give the Razorbacks a thrilling 5-4 victory.

    Vinson drove in a game-high four runs in the win and went 1-for-2. Joe Serrano and Spoon each had two hits and scored a run, while Ficociello had a hit and a RBI. Mahan extended his hitting streak to 14 straight games with a hit and a run scored.

    Renfroe led the Bulldogs at the plate with a perfect 4-for-4 night with a walk and a run scored. Detz had two hits and a RBI, while Ammirati and Wes Rea each had a hit and a RBI.

    Arkansas reliever Jalen Beeks (3-0) earned the win on the mound. Beeks gave up two hits in a scoreless inning of work. Suggs earned his second save, getting the final two outs of the ball game.

    Arkansas starter Barrett Astin pitched well, but received a no decision. Astin allowed two runs on seven hits and struck out six in 5.2 innings.

    Mississippi State starter Luis Pollorena (4-1) took the loss for the Bulldogs. Pollorena allowed four runs and struck out five in 6.1 innings of work.
                
    In the first inning, Arkansas got two runners aboard with a pair of walks. Ficociello drove in the game’s first run on the first hit of the day, lining a single to right-center field.

    The Razorbacks added another run in the third, extending their lead to 2-0. Serrano and Spoon led off the inning with back-to-back singles. After Anderson drew a walk to load the bases, Vinson also earned a free pass, drawing an walk for the game’s second run.  
                
    Mississippi State evened the game with a pair of runs in the top of the sixth. After getting two quick outs, the Bulldogs got three straight hits to tie the game. After Renfroe singled, Detz doubled off the right field to plate Renfroe for the first Bulldog run. Rea followed up with an RBI single that tied the game at two and forced Astin from the game. Brandon Moore replaced Astin, and got out of the jam in the sixth.
                
    The Bulldogs took their first lead of the game with a run in the seventh. Mississippi State got a leadoff double, and moved the runner to third with a sacrifice bunt. An RBI single from Ammirati plated the runner and put MSU ahead 3-2.
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    GAMECOCKS CLINCH SERIES WITH 6-4 WIN

    Columbia, S.C – No. 14 South Carolina batted around in the first inning to score five times and senior left-hander Nolan Belcher worked into the ninth inning and struck out nine batters with no walks to earn his fifth win of the season as the Gamecocks defeated No. 13 Texas A&M 6-4 on Friday evening at Carolina Stadium clinching the weekend series.  South Carolina is now 21-6 and 4-4 in the SEC with the Aggies now 18-10 and 5-3 in league play.

    Belcher went 8.1 innings and allowed four runs, two earned, on seven hits to improve to 5-2 on the year.  Senior left-hander Tyler Webb recorded the final two outs with a pair of strikeouts to pick up his 10th save of the year.  Texas A&M starter Kyle Martin suffered the loss and is 2-4 on the season.  He lasted only 0.1 innings and yielded five runs on three hits with three walks.

    Carolina sent nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the first to take a 5-0 lead and knocked Martin from the game in the process.  With one out and runners on first and third, LB Dantzler laced a sharp hit ball through the right side that A&M second baseman Charlie Curl could not come up with scoring Graham Saiko for the first run of the game.  Connor Bright kept the momentum going as he increased the lead to two runs with a base hit to center field scoring Joey Pankake.  The hit parade continued with Chase Vergason as he laced a base hit into right field loading the bases. A walk to Grayson Greiner scored Dantzler and ended the day for Martin.  With two outs and the bases still full, Tanner English knocked a double down the right field line scoring two runners and giving Carolina a five-run cushion.

    The Aggies would get on the scoreboard in the fourth inning with an unearned run as they took advantage of a pair of Gamecock errors to cut the deficit to 5-1.  Mikey Reynolds led off with a base hit to left field, the first base runner of the game for the Aggies after Belcher opened the game retiring nine in a row.  On the play, he advanced to second on a fielding error by Gamecock left fielder Graham Saiko.
     With one out, A&M had their second runner reach as Blake Alleman reached first on a throwing error by Pankake at shortstop.  Reynolds would score on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Troy Stein.

    Carolina answered with a run in the bottom half of the fourth to extend the lead back to five runs.  Saiko tallied a one-out single and scored on Pankake’s two-out RBI single to left field.

    Texas A&M scored twice in the seventh inning to cut the deficit to three runs.  Logan Taylor drove in a pair of runs with a double to right-center.

    The Aggies kept coming in the ninth inning.  Designated hitter Mitchell Nau reached base with one out on a fielding error by Pankake.  Brandon Wood then reached base with a base hit to give A&M a pair of runners.  With two outs, Reynolds brought A&M within a pair of runs on a RBI single he lifted into left field scoring Nau.  Webb dug in though and recorded the final out of the game with a strikeout of Krey Bratsen on three pitches sealing the Carolina win.

    South Carolina had 11 hits with Texas A&M finishing with nine for the contest.  Vergason and English each had three hits to lead the Gamecocks at the plate.  Reynolds and Brandon Wood had two apiece to lead Texas A&M.
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    NO. 11 OLE MISS DOWNS FLORIDA 4-3 IN EXTRA INNINGS

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Rebel offense took advantage of chances and manufactured runs on Friday night as No. 11 Ole Miss (23-4, 4-3 SEC) picked up a 4-3 win over Florida (11-16, 2-5 SEC) in 11 innings at McKethan Stadium.

    In his homecoming, junior Will Allen delivered the big hit in the top of the 11th with a leadoff double to set up the go-ahead score for the Rebels. Following the hit to left center, Lance Wilson entered the game to run for Allen.

    Ole Miss’ Will Jamison put down a sac bunt to move Wilson to third, but Florida relief pitcher scooped and misplaced the throw, allowing Wilson to slide in safely and then come home as the ball scooted away from the Gators’ third baseman and Ole Miss took the 4-3 lead.

    Brett Huber then picked up his seventh save of the season, closing out the game for the Rebels in the 11th as Ole Miss picked up the win in the series opener.

    Aaron Greenwood (3-0) picked the win in relief as he worked 2.0 innings with one hit and a strikeout after entering the game with a man on and no outs in the ninth.

    Florida closer Johnny Magliozzi (2-1) took the loss, working the final 2.2 innings but surrendered the winning run, albeit an unearned run because of the throwing error on the Jamison bunt.

    “That game tonight wasn’t easy, but that’s life in the SEC; none of them are easy,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “I’m proud of the way our guys hung in there tonight. That’s what you have to do in this league. The pitchers hung in there and the defense hung in there and we manufactured some runs. It was a good team win tonight.”

    Ole Miss got on the board in the first inning when Tanner Mathis scored on a sac fly to left field from Austin Anderson. Mathis doubled to open the game before taking third on a sac bunt from Auston Bousfield that set up the sac fly from Anderson to get the 1-0 lead.

    The opportunistic offense continued for the Rebels in the fourth inning as Ole Miss scored without recording a hit in the inning. Will Jamison drew a walk before stealing second to get into scoring position. The speedy outfielder wouldn’t need a ball in play to score, however, taking advantage of a wild pitch to go from second to home and give the Rebels the 2-0 lead.

    Florida answered with a rally in the bottom of the fourth, starting things off with a double down the left field line from Justin Shafer. He then took third on a wild pitch before coming home on a sac fly to center field to cut the lead to 2-1.

    The Gators would then load the bases on a walk and then a fielding error at short when the Rebels looked to turn a double play on a ground ball to first. Florida then got a second sac fly in the inning on a ball to right that evened the score at two and left men at the corners. The Gators tried to take home when the runner on first got caught in a rundown, but the Rebels went home with the throw for the final out and kept the game tied after four.

    Ole Miss moved back into the lead in the fifth inning. An Anderson single and a walk of Turner put two men on before Mistone would bunt them both into scoring position. Florida then changed pitchers, bringing in left-hander Daniel Gibson to face Sikes Orvis, who sent the first pitch to left field for a sac fly that scored Anderson and put the Rebels up 3-2.

    The Gators looked to answer in the seventh inning when Cody Dent snuck a double down the first base line past a diving Orvis with one out. Ole Miss and Wahl answered the bell, however, striking out the next batter before picking off Dent at second to keep Ole Miss in the lead.

    Florida put together an eighth inning rally with a one-out double from Taylor Gushue that sent the Rebels to the bullpen for Bailey. A chop grounder to third died on the infield to put men at first and second before a bloop single to shallow center brought Gushue and tied the game at three.

    Ole Miss would get out of the inning with a groundout and a strikeout from reliever Matt Denny to keep things tied at three heading to the ninth.

    The Rebels moved back into the lead in the 11th when Lance Wilson came home on a throwing error by the pitcher off a sac bunt from Jamison. Wilson, who had gone to third on the sac bunt attempt, came home when the throw to the bag was off and scored to put Ole Miss in front 4-3.
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    Commodores outlast Vols in 12 innings
     
    Nashville, Tenn. – It took 12 innings and nearly four hours but No. 3 Vanderbilt finally edged visiting Tennessee 4-3 on Friday night to win the series opener at Hawkins Field.
     
    The Commodores (23-4, 6-1) wasted opportunities in the ninth, 10th and 11th innings before finally coming up with the big hit in the 12th. Mike Yastrzemski led off the final frame by getting hit by a pitch. Vince Conde then executed a perfect hit-and-run, singling up the middle to put runners on the corners. Tennessee (13-11, 3-4) issued an intentional walk to John Norwood to load the bases and set up a force play at any base. Spencer Navin had been part of Vandy’s frustration earlier in the game, striking out with runners on second and third in the 10th inning. But the junior came through in the 12th, lifting a fly ball to right field that landed over the right fielder’s head for a game-winning single.
     
    Brian Miller entered the game in the top of the eighth after the Dores tied the game with two runs in the bottom of the seventh on back-to-back RBI-singles from Tony Kemp and Xavier Turner. Miller went to work on the Vols’ lineup striking out four of the first six batters he faced. The right-hander worked out of a jam with a little help in the 10th when Tennessee’s Will Maddox slid by second base and was tagged out for the second out. The Volunteers would have had runners on second and third with one out but instead Jeff Moberg’s fly out to left ended the inning and the threat. Miller again worked out of a tight spot in the top of the 12th. After getting two quick outs, Miller hit relief pitcher Trevor Charpie, who was batting for the first time in his career. Consecutive singles from A.J. Simcox and Maddox loaded the bases but Miller again rose to the occasion striking out Moberg to end the inning.
     
    Kemp and Conde led the way for the Dores in the win picking up two hits apiece as the team walked nine times on the night, collecting eight hits. Maddox paced Tennessee’s 11-hit attack with three singles.
     
    Miller (4-0) earned the win in a career-best five innings of relief work allowing no runs. The sophomore scattered five hits and fanned a career-high six to earn his fourth win of the year. VU starter Kevin Ziomek struck out 10 and allowed three runs on six hits over seven innings in a no decision. Ziomek’s 10-strikeout game is his fourth game this season with at least 10 strikeouts. Charpie took the loss for Tennessee allowing the winning run in the 12th inning. Starter Zack Godley was solid for the Volunteers tossing seven innings and giving up three runs on five hits with eight strikeouts.
     
    Vanderbilt’s 6-1 start in Southeastern Conference play is the best since 1980 when the Commodores started 6-1 as well. The 12-inning affair is the longest game of the season for VU and the longest since a 12-inning win at Mississippi State last season.