South Carolina is back in action on Tuesday hosting The Citadel. First pitch at Carolina Stadium is set for 7 p.m. The game can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.” Live video broadcast is available on the All Access Channel at GamecocksOnline.com.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M Aggies capitalized on a strong pitching performance by junior Rafael Pineda to stave off a series sweep by the Auburn Tigers, winning Sunday’s finale 4-1 on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
Pineda (3-2) scattered six hits and one walk over 7.2 innings, allowing one run while striking out three.
Jason Jester entered with runners on the corners and the potential tying run at-bat with two outs in the eighth and induced an inning-ending fly ball. He retired all three batters he faced in the ninth to earn his eighth save of the season.
Texas A&M (20-13, 6-6 SEC) pounced on the Tigers early with a run in the bottom of the first inning. Mikey Reynolds drove a single up the middle to start the inning and with the hit-and-run on, Krey Bratsen laced a single through the spot vacated by the shortstop covering second base to put runners on the corners. Blake Allemand plated Reynolds with a sacrifice fly to centerfield for the 1-0 lead. The rally was snuffed out when Cole Lankford grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Auburn (19-13, 3-9 SEC) evened the score at 1-1 in the top of the fourth inning. Jordan Ebert’s fading line drive eluded the glove of a diving Brandon Wood down the rightfield line for a leadoff triple. Cullen Wacker followed with a single up the middle for the equalizer.
The Aggies reclaimed the lead in the home half of the fourth. Allemand rattled a hit into the corner down the leftfield line for a leadoff double. After Lankford flied out to right centerfield and Wood struck out swinging, Jonathan Moroney hit a wall-banger to centerfield for an RBI triple, giving A&M a 2-1 advantage.
The Maroon and White tacked on insurance runs in both the sixth and seventh innings. In the sixth, Allemand singled up the middle, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored when Lankford drove a double to the gap in right centerfield. In the seventh, Mitchell Nau was hit by a pitch to start the inning. The mercurial JB Moss pinch-ran for Nau, stole second base, moved to third on a groundout by Troy Stein and scored on a passed ball for the 4-1 lead.
Will Kendall (0-3) was tagged with the loss, yielding two runs on five hits while striking out five over 5.0 innings.
Allemand paced the A&M offensive arsenal, going 2-for-2 with one walk, one sacrifice fly, one double and one RBI.
The Aggies return to action on Tuesday with a 6:35 pm contest against the Sam Houston State Bearkats on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
MIzzou Clinches Series at UGA
ATHENS, Ga. – Senior Dane Opel (Edwardsville, Ill.) hit a three-run, go-ahead triple in the top of the ninth and Keaton Steele (St. Joseph, Mo.) retired the last 15 batters he faced while earning his third win of the season as Mizzou rallied to defeat Georgia, 8-5, on Sunday afternoon (April 7) at Foley Field. Steele was brilliant in relief of Tiger starter Alec Rash (Adel, Iowa), going a career-best 7.1 innings, allowing just one earned run on four hits while striking out nine with no walks. Steele also went 3-for-5 at the dish in the win as he did it all for the Tigers. He is now 3-1 for the Tigers on the mound this season.
Mizzou trailed 5-4 heading into the ninth despite getting runners on in each of the first eight innings as five double plays haunted Mizzou heading into the final frame. In fact, Georgia led 5-0 after scoring four runs off of Rash in 1.1 innings and another off of Steele in the third. But Steele did his best to keep Mizzou in the game, throwing four perfect innings from the fifth through the eighth, allowing Mizzou to chip away at the lead until Opel’s go-ahead hit. Steele then came on and got a pop up and two strikeouts in the ninth as he retired the final 15 UGA batters. Georgia reliever Blake Dietrich was tagged with the loss on Sunday after allowing three runs in 0.1 innings, his first of the season.
Mizzou got two men aboard in the first inning on an Opel walk and a Steele single, but a strike-out, throw-out double play on a botched hit-and-run got UGA out of the jam. The inning extended some streaks for Mizzou as Opel’s walk extended his on-base streak to 21 consecutive games while Steele’s hit gave him hits in eight straight.
Georgia got on the board in the first as a pair of infield choppers turned into hits off of Rash, then an error on a double-play ball by Dillon Everett (Phoenix, Ariz.) plated a run and single by Jared Walsh plated another run. Opel helped Rash get out of the jam as he tallied a pair of outfield assists, one on the error by Everett, gunning down the runner at second and then another on the hit by Walsh as Opel gunned him trying to trot into second for a double.
Georgia got to Rash again in the bottom of the second, again using a couple infield hits to score some runs as UGA took a 4-0 lead as Rash’s day was done, allowing seven hits in just 1.1 innings. Georgia then added another in the third on a sacrifice fly from Brett DeLoach to go on top 5-0. That was the only blemish off of Steele on the day.
But Mizzou rallied in the top of the fourth with RBI singles from Dylan Kelly (Roswell, Ga.) and Kendall Keeton (Columbia, Tenn.) along with an RBI fielder’s choice by Jake Ivory (St. Charles, Mo.), making it 5-3. The inning was once again started by the hot hitting of Opel and Steele, who tallied a single and double, respectively, to kick-start the inning.
Steele continued to keep the Tigers in the game from there, pitching very well, retiring six of seven batters in the fourth and fifth innings. He then retired three more Bulldog batter consecutively in the bottom of the sixth, but Mizzou’s offense remained stagnant from there. Through the seventh, Steele has retired nine in a row and the Tigers threatened to score in many of the later innings, finally breaking through in the top of the eighth with an RBI single from Keeton, bringing the Tigers to within one at 5-4.
And then Mizzou finally broke through in a big way in the ninth, scoring four runs, three of which came on Opel’s bases-loaded triple to the right field corner. Scott Sommerfeld (Manchester, Mo.) led off the frame with a single off the third baseman and then Everett reached base on an error on sacrifice bunt attempt and that put runners on the corners for Munson who walked to load the bases for Opel. He then ripped the triple into the right field corner to give Mizzou its first lead of the day. Opel was then driven in on a sacrifice fly by Kelly for their eighth run of the day.
Steele came back on in the ninth and got a pop up and struck out the last two batters he faced to seal the win for Mizzou, clinching the series. It was also the Tigers first win this season when leading after eight innings.
Mizzou will continue its season-long road trip with a game at Missouri State on Tuesday. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball.
Florida Seizes Series Finale From Mississippi State
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Powered by an eight-run fifth inning, Florida (15-18/5-7 SEC) salvaged the finale of its series at No. 17 Mississippi State (26-9/5-7 SEC) with an 8-3 victory on Sunday afternoon in front of 7,660 spectators at Dudy Noble Field. Sophomore Connor Mitchell (Tampa, Fla.) (1-for-3) moved the Gators in front with a three-run, pinch-hit triple and sophomore Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) was a career-best 3-for-4 with a two-run double and had a pair of hits in the extended fifth frame in which 12 batters stepped to the dish. Sophomore right-hander Johnny Magliozzi (East Milton, Mass.) (3-1) captured his SEC starting debut by working 5.2 innings in which he allowed three runs.
Mississippi State used a sacrifice fly by junior Hunter Renfroe and an RBI single by junior Brett Pirtle to take a 2-0 lead against Magliozzi in the first inning. Junior Adam Frazier led off with a double down the left-field line and went to third on a single up the middle by junior Alex Detz. After Renfroe opened the scoring with a sac fly into center field, Detz stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. Pirtle singled through the right side to drive in Detz and redshirt sophomore Wes Rea was hit by a pitch for two Bulldogs aboard and one down. Magliozzi struck out junior C.T. Bradford and had a fielder’s choice by senior Mitch Slauter end the inning.
The Gators sent a dozen batters to the plate and erupted for eight runs on six hits and one error to build an 8-2 lead in the fifth. It was the most runs scored by the Orange and Blue in a frame this season and was highlighted by a go-ahead, three-run pinch-hit triple by Mitchell. Senior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) led off with a single into left field and Tobias legged out his second infield single of the day to put UF in business. Freshman Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) reached on a bunt single to load the bases with none out and prompt a pitching change. Freshman Myles Gentry took over for sophomore Jacob Lindgren (2-1 record, 4.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R) and Mitchell sliced a 2-1 pitch down the right-field line to clear the bases and put Florida on top. It was Mitchell’s first career triple and was his first pinch hit of the season.
Senior Chad Girodo relieved Gentry (1 H, 1 R) and walked senior Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) for runners on the corners and then surrendered an RBI single into left field by freshman Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) that brought in Mitchell. Sophomore Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) laid down a sacrifice bunt and a throwing error by senior third baseman Sam Frost enabled Dent to score for a 5-2 Gator advantage. Redshirt junior Ben Bracewell came in for Girodo (1 H, 3 R) and sophomore Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) lofted a sacrifice fly into left field to score Martin. After Turgeon stole second, sophomore Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) drew a walk and Ramjit advanced his teammates into scoring position with a grounder. Tobias came through with his second hit of the stanza, a two-run double down the right-field line, to balloon the margin to 8-2. It marked the first time that a Gator had two hits in an inning since Turgeon accomplished the feat against Georgia Tech during the NCAA Gainesville Regional on June 3, 2012.
Frost began the home part of the inning with a double into left center and freshman Jacob Robson (2-for-3) followed with an RBI single to narrow the gap to 8-3. After a fielder’s choice by Frazier erased Robson at second base, Magliozzi induced an inning-ending 6-3 double play from Detz.
In the sixth, Pirtle was hit by a pitch with one down and Bradford earned a two-out walk to cause a pitching change. Sophomore Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) replaced Magliozzi (5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 K, 1 BB) and struck out Slauter to complete the frame.
Gushue raised his hitting streak to nine games with a leadoff double in the seventh and went to third on a grounder by Shafer. However, redshirt sophomore Ross Mitchell had Ramjit ground out and Tobias fly out to strand the runner.
Rea opened the ninth with a base-hit into right field and was replaced by junior pinch runner Derrick Armstrong. Bradford followed with a single into left field to prompt a pitching change, as junior Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.) took over on the mound for Harris (2.1 IP, 3 H, 2 K). Senior pinch hitter Trey Porter flew out to center field, advancing Armstrong to third base, and Gibson caught freshman pinch hitter Kyle Hann looking on strikes for the second out. Bradford stole second for a pair of Bulldogs in scoring position and Gibson had junior pinch hitter Demarcus Henderson ground out to Ramjit to complete the contest. Florida wound up with an 11-8 advantage in hits.
Florida will wrap up its regular-season series with No. 5 Florida State (27-5/10-5 ACC) on Tuesday night in Tallahassee. The game will be carried on ESPN3 and Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell will broadcast the game at 6 p.m. for the Gator Radio 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.
'Dores Down Ole Miss in 11 Innings
Oxford, Miss. – No. 2 Vanderbilt needed 11 innings on Sunday to finish a series sweep at No. 17 Ole Miss with a 7-6 victory at Swayze Field.
The Rebels (23-9, 4-8) rallied for two runs off Commodores’ (29-4, 11-1) closer Brian Miller in the ninth to tie the game 6-6 before Miller could get the Dores into extra innings. Vandy rallied in the 10th to load the bases but could not score. However, the visitors broke up the tie in the 11th. Connor Harrell’s line drive down the third base line bounced off the third base bag and into the left field corner for a double with one out. The senior moved up 90 feet to that same third base on a wild pitch in the dirt but Ole Miss’ catcher Stuart Turner tried to nab a sliding Harrell. Turner’s throw, however, sailed wide of the third baseman and into left field allowing Harrell to get up to score the go-ahead run. Miller did not waste his second opportunity to close out the series sweep, working a 1-2-3 inning to send the Commodores to their 10th straight victory.
Ole Miss jumped on Vandy early with three runs in the first two innings before the Dores answered with four runs in the fourth to take the lead sending nine men to the plate. Vince Conde’s single was the third straight single of the inning and knocked in the first two runs. Spencer Navin’s sacrifice fly to right made it 4-3 VU and Tony Kemp reached on an error to score the fourth run of the inning. Conde tacked on another run with his second RBI-double of the day in the fifth. The VU offense struggled through the next five innings leaving seven men on base, leaving a total of 12 on base for the game to push the total to 34 for the weekend. Ole Miss could not cash in on their opportunities either leaving 14 runners on base in the game, leaving at least one runner in eight of the 11 innings.
Navin led the Commodores with a career-high four hits, driving in two runs on the afternoon. Vanderbilt pounded out 17 hits to match a season-best with eight Commodores having at least one hit and four having at least three hits. Harrell, Yastrzemski and Conde all had three hits in the win. Stuart Turner led Ole Miss with four hits in the loss.
Brian Miller earned his fifth win of the season despite his first blown save. The right-hander allowed two runs on two hits in 3.1 innings out of the bullpen. The Dores’ pen was superb in the victory allowing two runs on six hits 6.2 innings with three walks. Rebels’ closer Brett Huber was saddled with the loss giving up one run on two hits in 2.2 innings.
The series sweep is the fifth of the season for the Commodores and second straight sweep on the road in the Southeastern Conference. The back-to-back sweeps on the road mark the first time since 2008 when the Dores went on the road and swept Mississippi State and Tennessee. Vanderbilt improves to 11-1 in the SEC to set the school record for the best start in conference play, breaking the record of the 1972 team that started 10-2.
Vanderbilt returns to the field on Tuesday night for Pack the Hawk night against UT-Martin. Outfield tickets are only $1 for Tuesday night’s tilt with the Skyhawks that starts at 6:30 p.m. For ticket information call 615.322.GOLD or visit vucommodores.com.