The second nine-inning game will begin at 5:20 p.m. ET. Georgia will start sophomore left-hander Jared Walsh (1-3, 2.95 ERA) while the Tigers counter with junior left-hander Will Kendall (0-3, 4.97 ERA).
COLLEGE STATION, Tex. – Mississippi State got another splendid pitching outing from senior right-hander Kendall Graveman.
This time, the 16th-ranked Bulldogs also saw the offense join the party.
MSU pounded out a conference-game best 15 hits and cruised to a 9-3 Southeastern Conference baseball victory over Texas A&M Saturday afternoon at Blue Bell Park. With the victory, MSU clinched a second straight weekend series in league play.
MSU improved to 29-9 overall and 7-7 in league play, while Texas A&M dropped to 21-15 and 6-8.
“The fast start was really important for us,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “Texas A&M has a great environment. They have great fans, just like we do. They stand, holler and do their thing. You know with Kendall, you will always have a great chance to win.
The Bulldogs built a 7-1 lead after three innings of play. MSU pounded out five extra-base hits, including Hunter Renfroe’s team-best 12th home run and Alex Detz’s first in the Maroon and White.
The early offense would be more than enough for Graveman, who threw a third-straight complete game.
“Kendall was tremendous today and very economical (110 pitches),” Cohen said. “You don’t like two solo home runs. But that comes from asking Kendall to fill the strike zone. When you have a big lead, you just shove the ball in the strike zone.
“A solo home run hurts your far less than a walk or two, which can lead to the big inning.”
Graveman (5-2) allowed nine hits and three runs (all earned), with six strikeouts and no walks. In the last 27 innings, Graveman has allowed 19 hits and four runs, with 13 strikeouts and two walks.
Defensively, the Bulldogs played their 20th errorless game and turned two more double plays, giving them five for the series.
“The defense is so important behind a groundball such as Kendall,” Cohen said. “We are playing the game at a very high level defensively right now.”
On offense, the Bulldogs grabbed the lead for good by breaking a 1-1 tie with a four-run second inning. Adam Frazier started the scoring in that frame with an RBI-double. Detz followed with a two-run home and Renfroe added one more as the Maroon and White went back-to-back.
In the ninth inning, the lead was expanded with an RBI-groundout by Demarcus Henderson and an RBI-triple by Frazier.
Frazier and Renfroe each had three hits apiece for the Bulldogs. Wes Rea and C.T. Bradford added multiple hits.
“We had a bunch of guys who took really good swings,” Cohen said. “In this game you are not going to be rewarded with a bad approach. It is important to go up there with a good approach and then some things can happen for you.”
For the Aggies, Blake Allemand, Brandon Wood and Hunter Melton each had two hits. Starting pitcher Rafael Pineda (3-3) was chased in the third inning, after allowing eight hits and six runs (five earned).
The series finale is at 1:05 p.m. Sunday. Neither team has announced a projected starting pitcher. MSU then returns home for Super Bulldogs Weekend and a three-game series against Auburn. The Bulldogs and Tigers meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday (ESPNU), 6:30 p.m. Friday (Comcast Sports Southeast) and 4 p.m. Saturday.
Tennessee Evens Series with Kentucky
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Tennessee needed an SEC win and it got one in heart-stopping fashion against No. 13 Kentucky on Saturday.
Leading 10-5 going into the bottom of the ninth, three free passes proceeded a grand slam that cut the Volunteer lead to just a single run. The Wildcats would go on to load the bases once again before freshman Jeff Moberg – making his collegiate debut on the mound – got a flyball to center to end the game with UT on top, 10-9.
“We have a way of making things pretty exciting,” Tennessee head coach Dave Serrano said. “It wasn’t easy but we’ll take the win. It is a big Saturday win for us. It was exciting and I was really, really proud of the team and the way we played.
“Early on I thought we did some great things offensively and Nick Williams did a good job of establishing his fastball and throwing a good curveball. We did some really good things as a team and it kind of gets blemished a little bit because of the way it went down in the ninth inning, but a win is a win. It goes in the standings the same if we win 10-5 or 10-9.”
The Orange and White used a 15-hit offensive outburst and seven strong innings from starting pitcher Nick Williams to put itself in position for the victory.
Williams gave the Vols a solid effort on the mound, striking out six and allowing just four hits in 7.0 innings of work. He allowed five runs, just three of which were earned, to improve to 2-2 on the season. Moberg picked up the save in his first collegiate appearance on the mound after recording the game’s final out.
Freshman A.J. Simcox led the offense with his second three-hit game of the weekend, going 3-for-5 with three RBIs. He now leads the Vols with a .400 batting average during SEC play. Over his last 11 games, Simcox is hitting .432 (16-for-37) as he has upped his average for the year to .283.
Pierce Bily also had three hits on the afternoon while Vincent Jackson recorded a pair of doubles and Will Maddox and Parker Wormsley each had two-hit games. Christin Stewart and Taylor Smart each drove in a pair of runs in the contest as well.
The Vols opened the scoring in the top of the third, plating a pair of runs on a single through the right side by Stewart. His blow came with two outs after a single by Wormsley, an HBP to Maddox and base hit by Simcox had loaded the bases.
The Wildcats took advantage of a UT error to score a pair of unearned runs and tie the game in the home half of the inning with an RBI groundout and a sacrifice fly, bringing the score back to even at 2-2.
Tennessee answered right back in the top of the fourth, however, doing so with another two-out rally. After two quick outs to start the stanza, Wormsley got the ball rolling once again with a single to left. Maddox followed with a base hit through the right side and moved up to second as the throw from right went to third with Wormsley hustling around the bases. Simcox then laced his second hit of the day to drive both runners in and put UT up 4-2.
The Vols continued to extend that advantage in the fifth, scoring two runs for the third consecutive inning to go ahead by four, 6-2. Stewart opened the frame with an eight-pitch at-bat that resulted in a leadoff walk and promptly moved to third on a single by Bily. Jackson then roped a double into the gap in right-center to bring one run home and Smart followed with a single right back up the middle to bring in another.
Kentucky got one run back in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI single by Zac Zellers and moved within two when Max Kuhn hit a solo shot to left in the sixth. That would be as close as the Volunteers would let them get though.
Tennessee pushed its lead to five with a three-run eighth as a long drive off the wall in left by David Houser, a double off the wall in right by Maddox and a single up the middle by Simcox all resulted in runners crossing the plate.
The Vols certainly made it interesting in the home half of the eighth as a walk and two hit batters and a sac fly made it a 9-5 game, but Bettencourt was able to induce a pair of groundouts with Simcox and Maddox both making terrific defensive plays to keep the damage to a minimum.
UT got the run back in the top of the ninth as Taylor Smart followed Bily’s third single of the day and Jackson’s second double with a sacrifice fly to left to put the tally on the scoreboard at 10-5. That proved to be a huge run, considering the dramatic bottom of the ninth that would follow.
Tennessee will go for the series win over the 13th-ranked Wildcats at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The Vols will send ace right-hander Zack Godley (2-4, 3.77) to the mound while Kentucky will counter with southpaw Corey Littrell (4-1, 2.72).
“There was some excitement after the game with both teams,” Serrano said. “They were talking a lot in the ninth inning. They knew that we were struggling and tried to take advantage of it and our guys took offense to that after the last out was recorded, but I hope it doesn’t get into the emotional part of it [on Sunday]. We still need to deal with the details.
“It would be really big for us to win this game tomorrow. They have a good pitcher going and we have a really good pitcher, so it is going to be a great matchup. I keep talking about taking that step and this would be a good step for us to take this series tomorrow against Kentucky.”
Florida Sweeps South Carolina Thanks to 10-Run Sixth Inning
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida (19-18/8-7 SEC) exploded for 10 runs on eight hits in the sixth inning to break a 4-4 stalemate en route to a 14-5 victory over No. 8 South Carolina (27-10/8-7 SEC) on Saturday afternoon at McKethan Stadium. In capturing their season-best fifth game in a row, all against ranked foes, the Gators totaled a season-high 17 hits to sweep the Gamecocks in a regular-season series for just the fourth time in school history and second time under Kevin O’Sullivan. UF has taken eight of its last 10 contests to move over the .500 plateau for the first time since Feb. 20, when it was 3-2.
“Any time that you get a sweep against anybody in this league, it’s a great weekend,” O’Sullivan said. “And, against a team like South Carolina – they’ve got a great team. It was just one of those odd innings, in the sixth, that we really put some good swings on the ball, found some holes and put runs together. I thought that we battled the entire day. We got a lot of contributions from a lot of different people in the lineup and we had a season-high in hits, with 17. We used six different pitchers and I thought everybody did their job. We walked more guys than we’re accustomed to, but overall, it was a great team victory and a great team weekend.”
After South Carolina tied the game at 4-4 in the top of the sixth, senior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) (3-for-3, three runs) opened Florida’s extended at bat with a double to left field and went to third on a single into right field by sophomore Connor Mitchell (Tampa, Fla.) (1-for-3, two runs). Sophomore Evan Beal came in for freshman Jack Wynkoop (4-2, 3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 3 K) and walked freshman Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) (1-for-3, two RBI, two runs) to load the bases with none out.
Sophomore Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) came through with a pinch-hit RBI single off of freshman Vince Fiori to bring home Ramjit with the go-ahead run. After an RBI single by sophomore Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) (3-for-5, two RBI) into left field scored Mitchell, freshman Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) (2-for-5) ripped a two-run single into right field to plate Bader and Tobias for an 8-4 count. After Gushue was hit by a pitch, freshman Curt Britt came in for Fiori (3 H, 4 R) and uncorked a wild pitch that scored Turgeon and advanced Martin and Gushue into scoring position.
Sophomore Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) (2-for-4) roped a two-run double into left center to increase the margin to 11-4 and moved to third base on a base-hit into left center by redshirt sophomore Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) (3-for-5, two runs). Ramjit notched his second double of the inning down the left-field line to score Shafer and Mitchell’s RBI grounder brought Powers across. Bader’s first career sacrifice fly into center field enabled Ramjit to come home with the 10th run of the stanza and a 14-4 cushion, marking the most runs that the Orange and Blue had scored in an inning since 11 against Kentucky on April 2, 2005.
“I’ve never seen anything like that,” Ramjit said about the Gators’ prolific sixth inning. “We’ve been working all year and have had our ups and downs. Just to see after this weekend, our hard work is paying off and everything is starting to turn for the better. Everyone is still motivated.”
“We’ve done something like that before; against Mississippi State with eight runs [last Sunday in the fifth inning],” Tobias said. “We were just seeing pitches up, hitting them and attacking early. We weren’t getting two strikes or anything. We saw pitches in the count and putting good swings on them.”
The Gamecocks had seized a 1-0 lead in the second inning on bases-loaded walk to junior Graham Saiko. Freshman Max Schrock (2-for-5, three RBI) began the frame with a base-hit into right field and went to second on a one-out single into right field by sophomore Grayson Greiner (2-for-3). Freshman Jay Carmichael (Cape Coral, Fla.) plunked sophomore Joey Pankake to load the bases and had sophomore Tanner English foul out to Powers for the second out. Saiko earned a free pass to bring home Schrock with the opening run and Carmichael (1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 K) was replaced by sophomore Bobby Poyner (Wellington, Fla.). The lefty had senior Chase Vergason (2-for-5) fly out to center field to strand the runners.
Florida countered with four runs on five hits in the bottom of the frame to grab a 4-1 lead. Powers roped a one-out single up the middle off of senior starter Colby Holmes and moved to second base on a balk. A base-hit into left field by Ramjit was followed by a squeeze bunt by Mitchell that scored Powers with the equalizer. A throwing error on the play by senior LB Dantzler allowed Ramjit to take third and Mitchell to reach second base. Bader moved the Gators in front with an RBI single into center field to plate Ramjit and senior Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) executed a safety squeeze to drive in Mitchell with the third run. Turgeon expanded the margin to 4-1 with a single into right field that brought home Bader and ended the afternoon for Holmes (1.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 ER). Senior reliever Patrick Sullivan had sophomore Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) ground out.
Schrock brought the Gamecocks within 4-3 in the third inning with a two-run homer to right field, his third big fly of the season. Shafer moved from the designated hitter spot for Poyner (0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R) and struck out sophomore Connor Bright before walking Greiner. The righty had Pankake fly out to left field to complete the frame.
A leadoff single by Shafer in the home part of the inning prompted another pitching change, as Wynkoop took over for Sullivan (0.1 IP, 2 H). Powers collected his second hit of the game with a single into left field and Ramjit sacrificed both of his teammates into scoring position with one down. Wynkoop notched consecutive strikeouts of Mitchell and Bader to hold the Gamecocks’ deficit at 4-3.
Pankake started the sixth with a single into left center field and Shafer had English pop up to Ramjit. After issuing a walk to Saiko, Shafer (3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 K, 3 BB) was replaced by junior Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.). Vergason greeted the reliever with a base-hit into left field to load the bases with one down and an RBI fielder’s choice by Dantzler scored Pankake with the tying run and left runners on the corners with two out. Celek drew a walk to re-load the bases but Gibson had Schrock fly out to left field to strand the runners and complete the stanza.
South Carolina finalized the margin at 14-5 on an RBI fielder’s choice by Schrock in the eighth inning. After Gibson (2-0) worked 1.2 innings, giving up two hits and zero runs, freshman Parker Danciu (Delray Beach, Fla.) allowed two hits and a run in the eighth and freshman Eric Hanhold (Palm Harbor, Fla.) closed the game with a scoreless ninth. The Gators out-hit the Gamecocks, 17-9, and did not commit any errors.
The Gators start a four-game road trip on Tuesday night against FGCU (20-11/6-5 A-Sun) in Fort Myers at Hammond Stadium. The contest can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network at 6:30 p.m. with Jeff Cardozo and Adam Schick, 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.
Vandy blows by Mizzou to claim series
Nashville, Tenn. – No. 2 Vanderbilt collected a season-best 19 hits en route to a 12-1 series-clinching win over Missouri at a sold out Hawkins Field.
Commodores’ (32-4, 13-1) starter Tyler Beede dominated the Missouri (12-19, 4-10) lineup the first time through, turning in three perfect innings to open the game. The Dores’ offense gave Beede the only runs he needed in the bottom of the third, scoring three runs on four singles. Singles would be the theme of the day for the home team.
Back on the bump with a three-run lead in the fourth inning, Beede found his only mistake of the day when Case Munson hit a line drive home run off the left field scoreboard to cut the Vandy lead to 3-1. Beede, however, reacted by sitting down the next eight Tigers before Munson singled in the sixth for Missouri’s second hit of the afternoon. In his final inning, Beede worked out of the only jam he faced all day getting his 10th strikeout of the game and a line out center to strand two Tigers on base.
Beede stayed perfect on the year moving to 9-0 in nine starts with one of the best outings of his young career. The sophomore’s 10 strikeouts set a new career-best and for the first time in his career he did not issue a walk in a start. Freshman Walker Buehler worked the final two innings with two strikeouts of his own to finish off the Commodores’ ninth straight series win of the season.
While Beede was rolling along the Vanderbilt offense was cranking out single after single, totaling 18 singles in the win. The Commodores blew the game open in the fifth inning sending 11 men to the plate and scoring five runs on eight singles. The Dores strung together five consecutive singles in the inning with four of the eight singles not leaving the infield. Spencer Navin put a cap on the day’s scoring in the sixth with his fourth hit of the afternoon, a two-run single up the middle. Nine different Commodores had at least one hit with Navin and Jack Lupo leading the way with four hits each. Navin’s four hits match his career-best set last Sunday at Ole Miss and his four runs and four RBI set new career marks as well. Freshmen Rhett Wiseman and Xavier Turner chipped in three hits apiece in the victory.
The VU offense was clutch for the second straight day going 11-for-19 with runners in scoring position. The victory pushes the team’s winning streak to 13 games and matches the team’s 13-game winning streak from earlier in the season. Vanderbilt’s 19 hits in the game are the most for the Commodores since racking up 21 in a 19-3 win over Tennessee in 2011. The Dores have now had at least 10 hits in seven of the team’s last eight games while averaging 13.5 hits per game during the stretch.
Missouri starter Brett Graves (0-5) was pegged with the loss giving up nine runs on 12 hits in 4.1 innings. Munson led the Tigers with two of the team’s four hits in the game.
REBELS RALLY TO CLAIM SERIES WITH NO. 22 ALABAMA
OXFORD, Miss. – Will Allen came up with a two-out, two-RBI single in the eighth inning on Saturday to break open a tie game for the Rebels as No. 18 Ole Miss (25-10, 6-8 SEC) defeated No. 22 Alabama (22-15, 8-6 SEC) by a score of 5-2.
The win, sealed in front of a Swayze Field record crowd of 11,729, clinched the weekend series for the Rebels. Ole Miss won the series opener 6-0 on Friday night.
Tanner Bailey (2-1) picked up the win in relief, working 1.2 innings while allowing a hit, a walk and notching a strikeout. Bailey entered the game in relief of starter Mike Mayers with two men on and one out in a 2-1 game in the seventh inning.
Mayers was solid in the start, allowing two runs – one earned – with four strikeouts and no walks through 6.1 innings of work. One of his two runs came after leaving the game in the seventh.
Brett Huber then picked up his eighth save of the season, entering the game in the ninth and closing things out.
Jon Keller (3-5) took the loss in relief after allowing three runs on two hits with four walks and a strikeout in 2.1 innings of work. All three of the runs scored off Keller were unearned as the Rebels rallied in the eighth inning for the win.
“This was one of those grind it out types of games,” Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said. “Both teams played very well. They (Alabama) pitched well, and we pitched well. They played good defense and so did we. Neither team did much offensively. Today we played a little bit better than them in all phases. Not much, but just enough. We only had three or four hits, but they were all really big hits. I’m proud of the way (Mike) Mayers pitched today. It was for sure the best I’ve seen him all year and the best in a long time.”
Ole Miss scored first, pushing two runs home in the sixth inning as part of a two-out rally. With a man on third and two away, Alabama elected to intentionally walk Stuart Turner to get to Andrew Mistone. The senior third baseman made the most of the opportunity, lacing a shot back up the middle to bring home Tanner Mathis and leave two men on base.
Preston Overbey then drew a walk to load the bases before Sikes Orvis would draw a walk to bring Turner home and give the Rebels the 2-0 lead. Alabama then got a groundout back to the pitcher to end the inning.
The Crimson Tide answered with a rally in the top of the seventh to tie the game. Back-to-back singles opened the frame before Kyle Overstreet delivered a one-out, RBI single to right center to cut the lead in half and send Ole Miss to the bullpen for Bailey.
Bailey got a fly out for the second out, then got Mikey White to strike out swinging. The ball got away from Turner in a rare passed ball on the catcher, allowing White to reach base safely and load the bases. Andrew Miller then fought off several pitches to draw a bases loaded walk and tie the game before another flyout would end the inning.
Ole Miss put together an answering rally in the eighth, taking the lead for good with a three-run inning off another two-out rally.
A walk and a fielding error on a ground ball at short put two men home before Preston Overbey drew a one-out walk to load the bases. A strikeout put two away in the next at bat, but the Rebels’ Allen answered the bell and delivered a shot up the middle to bring to runs home and put Ole Miss on top. Austin Knight then gave the Rebels an insurance run with a pinch-hit RBI single to left as Ole Miss grabbed a 5-2 lead after eight innings of play.
Arkansas evens series with 8-3 win over LSU
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas starter Ryne Stanek tossed 6.2 shutout innings, while Jake Wise homered and drove in a career-high four runs as the 10th-ranked Razorbacks defeated No. 2 LSU, 8-3, on Saturday night at Baum Stadium in front of a paid crowd of 10,377, the sixth-largest paid attendance in stadium history.
The Razorbacks even the series with the victory and improve to 25-11 overall and 9-5 in the Southeastern Conference. LSU, which had its 15-game winning streak snapped, falls to 33-3 and 12-2 in conference play.
The rubber game of the three-game series is on Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 1:05 p.m. The series finale will be televised by Cox Sports Television. The Razorbacks will start senior southpaw Randall Fant (2-1, 1.71), while the Tigers will counter with senior left hander Cody Glenn (5-1, 3.12). Limited general admission tickets for Sunday’s game are available online at ArkansasRazorbacks.com or on gameday at Baum Stadium, while supplies last.
Stanek (4-2) was fantastic on the mound for the Razorbacks, giving up just four hits and striking out five in 6.2 innings of work. Over his last two outings, the junior right hander has worked 14.2 consecutive scoreless innings. With his 6.2 shutout innings tonight, Stanek lowered his ERA in conference play to a miniscule 0.56.
Jalen Beeks and Michael Gunn each had scoreless appearances in relief. Beeks retired all four batters he faced, while Gunn struck out two in his inning of work.
LSU starter Ryan Eades (7-1) was saddled with his first loss of the season. Eades gave up five runs on eight hits in four innings.
Arkansas pounded out 12 hits in the victory with four different players having multiple hit games. Dominic Ficociello was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored. Wise drove in a game-high four runs and hit his second homer of the season. Jacob Mahan, Brett McAfee and Tyler Spoon each had two hits. Mahan had two RBI, while McAfee and Spoon each drove in one run.
Raph Rhymes had a pair of hits to lead the Tigers offensively, while Chris Sciambra drove in two of LSU’s three runs in the loss.
The Razorbacks jumped out to a 4-0 lead with a four-run fourth inning. With one out and runners on the corners, Wise sent the first pitch he saw from Eades into the Hog Pen in left-center field for a three-run blast, his second homer of the season. Arkansas wasn’t done scoring in the fourth as Spoon had a two-out RBI single to left, bringing home McAfee, who singled earlier in the inning, from third.
Arkansas added another run in the bottom of the fifth on a sacrifice fly to center field by Wise, scoring Anderson from third for his fourth RBI of the night.
The Razorbacks used a three-run seventh inning to take an 8-0 lead. A bases loaded walk to McAfee brought home one run and Mahan chopped a double over the third baseman’s head and down the left field line to score two more runs.
LSU avoided the shutout with three runs in the top of the ninth. Sciambra drove in two runs with a single to right-center and a wild pitch scored Chris Chinea with the Tigers’ third run of the inning. LSU was unable to get any closer as Arkansas evened the series with an 8-3 win.