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    SEC Baseball Today: Friday, April 12

    Friday Night Baseball RESULTS
    Kentucky 5, Tennessee 4
    Auburn 4, Georgia 3
    Ole Miss 6, Alabama 0
    LSU 6, Arkansas 2
    Mississippi State 3, Texas A&M 2
    Vandy 11, Mizzou 5
    Florida 4, South Carolina 3


    Kentucky Takes Roller Coaster Game From Tennessee

    LEXINGTON, Ky. – In a roller coaster of a game, Tennessee had a one-run lead turn into a three-run deficit in the bottom of the eighth before battling back to within a single tally and putting the tying run on third in the top of the ninth only to see No. 13 Kentucky squeak out a 5-4 win in the series opener on Friday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
     
    “I’m trying to teach this team that when you do certain things it allows you to win,” UT head coach Dave Serrano said. “We’re not doing that and that is what is so frustrating. I know it is hard on them like it is hard on me too, but they have to learn. You tip your hat to Kentucky because they came out on top, but we gave them everything and they took advantage of it. 
     
    “We have to continue to work to shore that up. We have to learn how to win and that is not an easy characteristic to learn. You have to find a way to bottle that up when you get it and never let it get away.
     
    With Tennessee clinging to a 2-1 advantage, Kentucky moved in front for the first time all evening when it put up a four-spot in the home half of the eighth. A leadoff error by the Vols got the ball rolling for the Wildcats before an RBI double by Kyle Barrett tied the game. Zac Zellers then gave UK its first lead of the night with a two-run single and a double by Austin Cousino padded the lead a three-run cushion. 
     
    That final run proved to be a big one as the Orange and White rallied to within one in the top of the ninth. Will Maddox and A.J. Simcox started the rally with back-to-back singles before coming home to score when Kentucky left fielder Zac Zellers misplayed the ball on a single by Scott Price. 
     
    The error allowed Price to move all the way to third with just one out, but UK closer Trevor Gott got a pop-up to shallow left and a strikeout to leave him stranded 90 feet away and close out his ninth save of the year.
     
    “No matter what anyone says about this team and no matter how this season ends up, and we still have a long way to go, no one can ever say this team quits. We could have easily folded up the tent after that eighth inning. We were deflated and we came back.”
     
    Simcox led a 12-hit Tennessee attack with a 3-for-5 effort while Maddox and Vincent Jackson each had a pair of hits in the loss. Freshman right-hander Aaron Quillen gave the Vols four shutout innings on the mound, striking out one and allowing five hits.
     
    After three scoreless frames to start the game, Tennessee was the first to crack the scoreboard, putting up two in the top of the fourth. Bily jumped on an 0-1 offering and ripped it down the left-field line for a leadoff double and quickly came around to score when Jackson stroked a single to right. A balk and a groundout would then move Jackson up to third before Houser pulled a single into left to give the Big Orange a 2-0 lead.
     
    UT freshman southpaw Andy Cox worked out of a big jam in the bottom of the fifth as Kentucky put a runner on third with just one out after a leadoff walk, wild pitch and a productive groundout. The UT lefty would leave him stranded there however, as he got Zac Zellers to foul out to first and struck out A.J. Reed with a high fastball to end the inning with the Tennessee lead intact.
     
    Reed returned the favor in the very next frame though. After a single by Jackson and double by Taylor Smart put two Vols in scoring position with nobody out, the Wildcat starter was able to get a flyout to shallow right and a strikeout before a drive to the warning track in left was tracked down for the third and final out. 
     
    Kentucky came surging back once again in its next trip to the plate, using three walks to load the bases with just one out. The Vols would hand the ball over to Eric Martin and he kept the damage to a minimum, allowing just one run to cross the plate on an RBI single by Kyle Barrett before a flyball to left ended the inning with the bags full of Wildcats. 
     
    Martin would then add a scoreless seventh inning to his final line to set up the dramatic finish to the contest. 
     
    Tennessee and Kentucky will be right back at it at 2 p.m. on Saturday as the Vols look to even the series. The matchup on the mound will pit UT right-hander Nick Williams (1-2, 5.59) against Wildcat southpaw Jerad Grundy (5-3, 3.46).



    Auburn Takes Series Opener From Dawgs

    AUBURN, Ala. – Hunter Kelley’s RBI double in the bottom of the seventh gave Auburn its first lead of the game as it rallied for a 4-3, series-opening win over Georgia on Friday night. With the win Auburn improved to 21-13, 4-9 SEC while Georgia dropped to 12-23, 2-11 SEC.
     
    “It’s exciting to see what Hunter Kelley did,” Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. “Hunter Kelley gets an opportunity to play and comes up with a huge double. Our guys fought hard.”
     
    Ryan Tella went 4-for-5 from the leadoff spot, scoring three of Auburn’s four runs on the night. The junior singled and scored in the first and fourth and doubled and scored in the sixth as Auburn claimed its SEC-leading 15th come-from-behind win of the season.
     
    Justin Camp (4-0) earned the win out of the Auburn bullpen, entering in the sixth with Auburn down 3-2 and two men aboard for Georgia. He induced a grounder to end the sixth and then pitched a scoreless seventh as Auburn tied it in the sixth on Cullen Wacker’s sacrifice fly and took the lead on Kelley’s double.
     
    Terrance Dedrick earned his team-best third save of the season, throwing two perfect innings.
     
    Georgia’s Blake Dieterick (1-2) took the loss, allowing the Kelley double.
     
    Georgia went up 1-0 in the first when Hunter Cole singled and scored on a Jared Walsh double.
     
    Auburn tied it at 1-1 when an error by the Georgia rightfielder allowed Tella to score from first on a Jordan Ebert single. The single extended Ebert’s hitting streak to 11 games.
     
    Georgia went up 3-1 in the second, scoring a pair of unearned runs after an error by Dan Glevenyak extended the inning. Daniel Nichols drew a two-out walk and then DJ Smith reached on the Glevenyak throwing error. Consecutive singles from Curt Powell and Cole gave Georgia the two-run cushion.
     
    Auburn got a run back in the fourth when Wacker singled in Tella with two outs to make it 3-2.
     
    Blake Austin finished the night 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles for Auburn.
     
    Powell and Cole each led Georgia with two hits.
     
    Neither starter factored into the decision. Auburn’s Conner Kendrick worked 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on seven hits and four walks while striking out seven, one off his career high. Georgia’s Patrick Boling worked four innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out nine.
     
    The two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1pm. Game two of the twin bill will start approximately 45 minutes after the conclusion of game one. Prior to the game, the Auburn Diamond Dolls will host the annual Strike Out Cancer 5K. Registration begins at 8:30am and the race takes place at 10am.



    Ole Miss Downs Alabama in Game One

    OXFORD, Miss. – Bobby Wahl and Aaron Greenwood combined to hold the Crimson Tide to two hits as No. 18 Ole Miss (24-10, 5-8 SEC) shutout No. 22 Alabama (22-14, 8-5 SEC) to claim the series opener by a score of 6-0.
     
    Wahl (7-0) turned in his seventh quality start of the season, allowing only one hit with five walks and three strikeouts in his 6.0 innings of work before handing the ball off to Greenwood. The junior right-hander then picked up his second save of the season, holding Alabama to one hit in the final 3.0 innings and striking out three batters.
     
    Charley Sullivan (3-3) took the loss for the Crimson Tide, allowing four runs on five hits with a walk and three strikeouts in 3.0 innings of work.
     
    “I’m proud of the way that we played tonight,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “After all that has been happening over the past few weeks, the guys played really hard tonight. We had a lot of energy, especially early on. It was kind of the goal that we talked about with Coach (Cliff) Godwin, that we would be super aggressive and try to make things happen. 
     
    “We had a lot of hit and runs and put a lot of guys in motion,” Bianco said. “It was something that we haven’t had in a while, the two-out RBI. We had the big double by (Tanner) Mathis and a big double by (Stuart) Turner. We had a good first few innings to get us going. You can’t ask for much more out of Bobby (Wahl) and Aaron (Greenwood). They put up zeros the whole night. Bobby was probably as good as I’ve ever seen him in the first few innings.”
     
    Once again, the Rebels turned in an efficient offensive night similar to the manner in which the squad got off to a 21-2 start to the season. Ole Miss plated six runs on seven hits, including a two-run home run from junior catcher Will Allen in the eighth inning to extend the lead.
     
    The Rebels got on the board in the first inning with an RBI double from Stuart Turner that brought home Auston Bousfield, who reached when he was hit by a pitch. The two-out hit from Turner started the scoring as Ole Miss would push runs home in each of the first three innings.
     
    The lead grew with an RBI double from Tanner Mathis in the second inning before the Rebels would capitalize with smart base-running in the third inning to bring two runs home.
     
    Turner scored the first of two runs in the third frame when he came home on a single through the right side from Sikes Orvis. The hit, which came with men at the corners, sent Andrew Mistone from first to third to set up the second scoring play of the inning.
     
    Orvis got caught in a rundown between first and second on what was one of several hit-and-run plays in the third inning, allowing Mistone to come home from third and give Ole Miss the 4-0 lead.
     
    Alabama pitchers held the Rebels in check until the eighth inning when Allen delivered his two-run shot over the bullpen in left field to take the lead out to 6-0. Allen’s home run with two outs gave the Rebels four two-out RBI on the night.
     
    The Rebels cruised through much of the game, escaping the biggest scoring threat from the Crimson Tide in the sixth inning. With the bases loaded and one out on the board, Wahl coaxed back-to-back Alabama batters to hit into foul fly balls to first and the backstop to end the attempted rally by the visiting Tide
     
    Ole Miss and Alabama will return to action in game two of the weekend series at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Swayze Field. The game will be televised by CSS following the Rebels’ annual Grove Bowl game in football as a part of Grove Bowl Weekend.



    LSU Picks Up 15th Straight Win 

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Sophomore right-hander Aaron Nola fired the first complete game of his career Friday night, and designated hitter Sean McMullen belted a three-run homer to lead the top-ranked Tigers to a 6-2 win over No. 10 Arkansas at Baum Stadium.
     
    The victory was LSU’s 15th straight overall and its 10th consecutive win in SEC play. The Tigers improved to 33-2 overall and remained in first place in the league standings with a 12-1 mark.
     
    The Tigers’ overall win streak is their longest since the 2008 club won 23 games in a row. LSU’s current SEC win streak is the Tigers’ longest since the 2008 team won 12 consecutive league games.
     
    Arkansas dropped to 24-11 overall and 8-5 in the league standings. LSU is tied with Vanderbilt (12-1) for the overall SEC lead, and the Tigers have a four-game lead in the Western Division over Arkansas and Alabama.
     
    LSU and Arkansas resume the series at 6 p.m. Saturday in a game that will be televised by Cox Sports Television, and it can be heard on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network. Live video is available in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net; however, the streaming video will be blacked out in states that receive Cox Sports Television.
     
    Junior right-hander Ryan Eades (7-0) will start Saturday’s game on the mound for LSU, while Arkansas will counter with junior right-hander Ryne Stanek (3-2).
     
    Nola (6-0) recorded the first complete game by an LSU pitcher this season, limiting the Razorbacks to two runs on four hits with one walk and 10 strikeouts. The complete game was the first by an LSU pitcher since May 18, 2012 when Kevin Gausman posted a 5-2 win over South Carolina.
     
    Nola was aided by several outstanding defensive plays, as the Tigers demonstrated why the lead the SEC with a .983 fielding percentage.
     
    “What I like so much about this team is that we have such balance and excel in all phases of the game,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “That was certainly evident tonight – Aaron was brilliant and the mound and our defense made some amazing plays behind him. We got the big home run from McMullen, who’s been tremendous at the top of the order, and I was extremely proud of (LSU catcher) Ty Ross for coming through with a clutch two-out hit to stretch our lead.”
     
    McMullen’s three-run homer, his first of the season, gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead in the top of the fifth inning. The home run was the first allowed this season by Arkansas starter Barrett Astin (2-2). 
     
    Ross delivered a two-out, two-run single in the sixth to extend LSU’s advantage to 5-0.
     
    Arkansas first baseman Eric Fisher launched a two-run homer, his second dinger of the season, to narrow the deficit to 5-2 in the seventh.
     
    The Tigers added an insurance run in the top of the ninth, taking advantage of three Arkansas errors  in the inning. Shortstop Alex Bregman’s sacrifice fly padded the lead to 6-2.
     
    Astin worked 5.2 innings and was charged with five runs (three earned) on seven hits with no walks and five strikeouts.



    Mississippi State Picks Up Road Win at A&M

    COLLEGE STATION, Tex. – Mississippi State found a way Friday night on the road in Southeastern Conference baseball action.

    Thanks to strong starting pitching by Luis Pollorena, dominant closing by Jonathan Holder and Hunter Renfroe’s 11th home run of the year, the 16th-ranked Bulldogs knocked off Texas 3-2 in the opening-game of a three-game weekend series at Olsen Field.

    “Texas A&M has a great atmosphere,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “I thought our kids approached this game with a great workmanlike attitude. They came out and competed and got a huge win. It means a lot when you can go into Saturday with a chance to win a series.”

    MSU won a conference series opener for the third time five tries this season. MSU improved to 28-9 overall and 6-7 in league play, while Texas A&M fell to 21-14 and 6-7.

    Pitching in front of friends and family in home start, the senior left-handed Pollorena made the most of his fifth start of the season. Pollorena (6-1) pitched 6.1 innings, allowing five hits and two runs (one earned), with three walks and two strikeouts. Holder closed the door on the Aggies for his 10th save of the season.

    “You really can’t say enough about Luis,” Cohen said. “He goes out there every Friday night and commands the strike zone. Jonathan was just nasty there at the end. This isn’t pro baseball where you wait until the ninth inning to use your closer.

    “Jonathan is the best we have and the game was certainly on the line in the seventh inning.”

    The Bulldogs battled back from a 2-0 deficit with single scores in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Renfroe began the MSU scoring with an RBI-double in the fourth inning. The game-tying run scored on an errant pickoff attempt. Renfroe’s team-best 11th-round tripper cleared the left field and gave the Bulldogs the lead for good.

    “Hunter has 11 home runs in a different day and age with the bats,” Cohen said. “He has more home runs than three or four teams in the league combined. He is so hot for us right now and he always has good at-bats. We had some really great timely hitting.”

    Pollorena faced the minimum in four of his first six innings pitched. The Bulldogs turned two of their double plays in support of Pollorena. In the seventh inning, the call went to Holder with Aggies at first and third and one out.

    A flyout and strikeout snuffed that threat. The third double play ended the eighth inning, before Holder retired the side in order in the ninth inning.

    “You can not say enough about the poise that Jonathan displayed in an incredibly difficult situation.”

    Renfroe was the lone multiple hitter for MSU, which finished with five hits. Texas A&M had seven hits, including two by Logan Taylor. Daniel Mengden (4-2) worked seven innings for the Aggies and took the loss.

    The series resumes with a 12:35 p.m. start Saturday. MSU is scheduled to start senior right-hander Kendall Graveman (4-2, 1.99 ERA), while Texas A&M is scheduled to start junior right-hander Rafael Pineda (3-2, 2.52). The contest will be televised regionally by SportSouth.

    The series finale is at 1:05 p.m. Sunday.



    Vandy Downs Mizzou

    Nashville, Tenn. – No. 2 Vanderbilt used the long ball and a consistent offense to down Missouri 11-5 Friday night at Hawkins Field in the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
     
    The Tigers (12-18, 4-9) jumped on Vanderbilt starter Kevin Ziomek for two runs in the first inning to put the Commodores (31-4, 12-1) in an early hole. But the VU offense went straight to work in the bottom half of the inning to claim the lead on a Connor Harrell three-run home run into the left field bleachers. Missouri added two more runs in the second before Kyle Smith tied the game in the bottom of the inning with his second home run of the season, a solo shot over the center field fence on the first pitch of the inning. 
     
    Both starting pitchers settled in for the third and fourth innings to carry a tie game into the bottom of the fifth inning when the Dores played long ball once again. Harrell blasted a solo home run off Memorial Gym beyond the left field bleachers to open the inning, his second home run of the night. Mike Yastrzemski and Vince Conde followed with back-to-back doubles to stretch the lead to two runs. Vanderbilt opened it up in the sixth scoring three runs and added two more in the eighth on Conde’s two-run double. 
     
    The top six players in the VU lineup combined to go 15-for-26 on the night scoring 10 runs and driving in nine of the team’s 10 RBI. The team’s 17 hits match a season-best with the Dores now having 34 hits in their last two Southeastern Conference games. Vanderbilt now has had at least 10 hits in six of the last seven games. The Commodores three home runs is a season-high and the first time the team has hit three homers in a game since last April at Middle Tennessee State. Harrell’s two home run game is the first by a Commodore since Harrell belted two at Stanford in the second game of the season last year. Conrad Gregor, Harrell and Conde all registered three hits in the win with Harrell and Conde each driving in four runs.
     
    Ziomek earned the win with a gutsy six-inning performance. The lefty allowed four runs on six hits with six strikeouts to improve to 7-1 on the year. Ziomek allowed only one hit over his final four frames and sat down the final four he faced. Missouri starter Rob Zastryzny (2-6) took the loss allowing six runs on eight hits with six strikeouts over four-plus innings.
     
    The victory is the 12th straight for the Commodores and extends the team’s school record start in conference play to 12-1. Vanderbilt’s 31-4 record matches the 2011 team that also started 31-4.
     
    Vanderbilt hosts Missouri tomorrow at 4 p.m. with the game broadcast on ESPNU. Sophomore Tyler Beede (8-0) gets the ball for the Dores with the Tigers yet to name a starter. For ticket information call 615.322.GOLD or visit vucommodores.com.



    Gators Take Series From Gamecocks

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Sophomore Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) delivered a two-run, two-out single in the eighth as Florida (18-18/7-7 SEC) rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the inning to notch a 4-3 triumph over No. 8 South Carolina (27-9/8-6 SEC) on Friday night at McKethan Stadium. With their fourth-straight win, all over ranked opponents, the Gators reached the .500 mark for the first time since March 9 and clinched their second SEC series win of the season. In addition, the Orange and Blue has won three one-run outings in a row. 
     
    Sophomore Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) (2-for-4) started UF’s decisive rally with a base-hit up the middle before senior Adam Westmoreland (4-1) jammed sophomore Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) on an infield fly. Sophomore Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) delivered a single into center field for two runners aboard with one down and senior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) walked to load the bags. Sophomore Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) then narrowed the gap to 3-2 with an RBI grounder back to Westmoreland that brought home Turgeon. Bader moved the Gators in front by slicing a 1-1 offering into left field that brought across Shafer and Ramjit to give the hosts a 4-3 advantage.
     
    Sophomore Johnny Magliozzi (East Milton, Mass.), who had saved Thursday’s night’s 3-2 Gator win, replaced redshirt freshman Aaron Rhodes (Venice, Fla.) prior to the ninth and issued a leadoff walk to sophomore Tanner English on a 3-2 count. Junior Graham Saiko (2-for-4) moved his teammate into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt and senior Chase Vergason flew out to center field for the second out. Senior LB Dantzler was walked intentionally and Magliozzi uncorked a wild pitch that moved both runners over. The right-hander rebounded to strike out junior Brison Celek swinging to end the contest and register his eighth save. Rhodes (1-0) claimed his first collegiate victory with a 1.1-inning stint in which he gave up two hits and a run.   
     
    “He [Harrison Bader] didn’t have the greatest at-bats before that last one,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “Like I told the team at the end, ‘they only remember your last one,’ and that last one for him was a big one. It was a big, big hit for a freshman to come into that situation and buckle down while facing a really good pitcher, [Adam] Westmoreland. He put a really good swing on the ball and he put his other at-bats behind him. This game is funny in that way, it always seems to come right back to you, and he did a really great job.”
     
    “I also thought the freshmen pitchers did a really nice job. Obviously, their [USC’s] approach was to swing early in the count and they did a nice job attacking Danny [Young], but he hung in there. I think one inning he had runners on second and third with nobody out, and he held them to one run. Then, Mike Vinson came in and did a nice job and kept it together. [Bobby] Poyner came in and got his two outs, Aaron Rhodes did a nice job and then Mags [Johnny Magliozzi] came in and did his thing. Overall, it was a really great game. It was a frustrating game offensively, because I thought we had some chances to put some runs on the board early, but we hung in there and the eighth inning was huge for us.”
     
    South Carolina totaled three hits in the first inning against freshman left-hander Danny Young (Boca Raton, Fla.) but came away empty-handed. Saiko led off the game with a single up the middle and Vergason hit into a 6-4-3 double play after Saiko was called for runner’s interference at second base. Following a single by Dantzler, Celek roped a double into the left-field corner. Young had freshman Max Schrock line out to right field to end the frame. 
     
    The Gators took advantage of a throwing error to break the ice in the bottom of the inning. Freshman Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) drew a leadoff walk from senior Jordan Montgomery and Turgeon advanced his teammate to third with a single into right center. With one down, Montgomery had an errant pickoff throw that enabled Martin to score and Turgeon to occupy third base. The left-hander struck out Shafer and had Ramjit pop up to hold the deficit at 1-0.
     
    USC tied the game in the third on an RBI grounder by Schrock. Saiko began the inning with a single into left field and Vergason ripped a double to right field to put the Gamecocks in business with none out. Young struck out Dantzler and walked Celek intentionally to load the bases with one down. After Schrock drove in Saiko, Ramjit made a sprawling catch in foul territory on a pop-up by sophomore Joey Pankake to complete the frame.
     
    Sophomore Connor Bright (3-for-4) provided the visitors with a 2-1 lead in the fourth on his third homer of the campaign into the left-field bleachers with one down. 
     
    Ramjit opened the Gator fourth with a base-hit into left field, ending the night for Montgomery (3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER) and bringing Westmoreland into the fray. Tobias moved Ramjit into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt and Bader was hit by a pitch for two Florida runners aboard. Westmoreland had sophomore Mike Fahrman (Tampa, Fla.) line out to right field and senior Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) ground out to preserve the 2-1 advantage.
     
    After having Dantzler ground out to start the fifth, on which Ramjit made a tremendous stop, Young (4.1 IP, 8 H, 2 R) was replaced by freshman Mike Vinson (Miami, Fla.). The right-hander had Celek ground out before issuing a walk to Schrock with two down. Vinson had Pankake fly out to straightaway center field to finish the inning. 
     
    A throwing error by Vinson enabled Saiko to reach first to begin the seventh, prompting a call to the bullpen. Vergason greeted sophomore reliever Bobby Poyner (Wellington, Fla.) with a sacrifice bunt and a fly-out to center field by Dantzler pushed Saiko to third base. Rhodes induced an inning-ending fly ball to right field by Celek to strand the runner. 
     
    Westmoreland retired nine-consecutive Gators before Fahrman sliced a one-out single into left field and was replaced by freshman pinch runner Christian Dicks (Jacksonville, Fla.). A grounder by Dent moved Dicks to second base but Westmoreland had Martin hit a comebacker to the mound to finish the stanza.
     
    Schrock earned a free pass to begin the eighth and stole second base for his eighth theft. A grounder by Pankake advanced him to third base and sophomore Grayson Greiner gave the Gamecocks a 3-1 lead with an RBI single through the left side of the drawn-in infield. Gushue threw out Greiner attempting to steal second base and Bright extended the inning with a two-out single into left field before Gushue gunned him down trying to steal.
     
    The Gators and Gamecocks will wrap up the series tomorrow at 3 p.m., live on ESPN2 with Dave Neal and Kyle Peterson. It can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Mick Hubert, 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.