Graveman (5-3) took the loss, allowing three runs (one earned) on 10 hits and a walk while striking out five in seven innings.
No scoring took place in the conclusion on game one of the series, which was delayed due to weather on Friday night and resumed from the seventh inning following Friday's first game. Mississippi State won that game 3-1.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Sophomore right-hander Aaron Nola tossed his first career complete game shutout and senior All-American Raph Rhymes collected three hits with three RBI as second-ranked LSU rolled past Alabama, 5-0, in the opening game of a Southeastern Conference series at Sewell-Thomas Stadium on Friday night.
The Tigers (36-3, 14-2 SEC) remained perfect in Friday night contests on the year and maintained their four-game lead in the SEC Western Division standings. Alabama (23-17, 8-8), which was swept last weekend at Ole Miss, dropped its fourth consecutive league contest.
Nola (7-0) was brilliant from start to finish, allowing only three hits while walking one and striking out 10. He retired the final 12 batters of the game. His flawless performance was his second straight complete game, becoming the first LSU pitcher since Kevin Gausman last season to achieve the feat. Gausman fired complete games against Vanderbilt on May 11 and South Carolina on May 18.
“He’s (Nola) been amazing,” said LSU head coach Paul Mainieri. “It’s pretty hard to lose when your pitcher pitches a three-hit shutout. It makes up for a lot of the mistakes you make during the course of the game. Just watching the growth of the guy is amazing to watch. He has always been a strike-throwing machine, but now he throws a little bit harder, his curveball is a little tighter and his changeup is deceptive.”
In addition, Nola became the first LSU pitcher to register a complete game shutout in an SEC contest since Gausman did it against Tennessee on May 13, 2011.
Rhymes finished a single shy of the cycle, going 3-for-4 and he was hit by a pitch in the ninth. Freshman shortstop Alex Bregman tallied his 24th multi-hit game of the season, finishing 2-for-5 with one RBI. Second baseman Casey Yocum, starting in place of JaCoby Jones, scored a run and drew two walks. Jones missed the contest with a stomach virus and is day-to-day.
LSU jumped on Alabama starter Charley Sullivan (3-4) immediately in the first as Mark Laird and Bregman collected back-to-back one-out singles. Rhymes then launched his first career triple into the right centerfield gap scoring both. Nola took to the mound with a 2-0 advantage.
The Tigers stretched the lead to 3-0 in the third when Rhymes led off the frame with a double. Right fielder Chris Sciambra then ripped a single to left that drove in Mason Katz, who scored on a diving play at the plate.
LSU put the game away with two more runs in the seventh. Laird’s sacrifice fly to left brought home Yocum, and Rhymes drove in his third run of the game with a single.
Nola got stronger as the game went on. After allowing a leadoff single to start the fifth, he benefited from a beautiful defensive double play by Bregman. The Tide got the leadoff man on to start the sixth on a Chase Vincent single, but it would be Alabama’s final base runner of the game.
Nola, who fired an economical 109 pitches, was perfect from the seventh on, retiring 12 straight batters to end the game.
Sullivan took the loss, issuing four runs on seven hits with four walks and eight strikeouts in eight innings.
“Alabama has a good team and their pitcher pitched a good game,” said Mainieri. “I have all the respect in the world for (head coach) Mitch (Gaspard). Our lineup is a challenge for other teams. When you sneak a guy like Rhymes in between Bregman and (Mason) Katz, that’s a challenge for any team. I think the case tonight was that Aaron Nola just pitched so great.”
LSU and Alabama meet in game two of the series at 7 p.m. CT Saturday. The contest will be televised on Fox Sports Net (cable channel 1038 HD/38 standard in Baton Rouge) with Dave Neal and Larry Conley handling the call. It can be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network on WDGL Eagle 98.1 in Baton Rouge or in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net/live.
Gators Use Season-High 18 Hits to Subdue Mizzou
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Florida (21-18/9-7 SEC) utilized a balanced offensive attack to post an 8-6 victory over Missouri (12-21/4-12 SEC) and boost its winning streak to seven games in the teams’ series opener on Friday night at Taylor Stadium.
The Gators totaled a season-high 18 hits, as their top six hitters in the lineup chipped in with multiple-hit outings, while the quartet of sophomore Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) (3-for-5), freshman Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) (3-for-6), senior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) (3-for-4, two runs) and sophomore Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) (3-for-5, two RBI) had three hits apiece. Florida batted a scorching 10-for-17 (.588) with two outs and notched six two-out RBI in the contest.
Junior right-hander Jonathon Crawford (Okeechobee, Fla.) (3-5) captured his second-consecutive start after overcoming a four-run first inning and sophomore Johnny Magliozzi (East Milton, Mass.) worked the final 1.2 innings to register his 10th save in 11 opportunities. The righty is now three saves from the school’s single-season mark shared by Danny Wheeler (1994) and Josh Fogg (1998).
The Gators used a two-out RBI single by sophomore Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) (2-for-5, two RBI) to take a 1-0 lead against Missouri junior Rob Zastryzny (2-7) in the first inning. Sophomore Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) (2-for-4, three runs) singled into left field with one down and moved to second base with his fourth theft of the season with two out. Shafer lined a single into right field to drive Turgeon and Ramjit followed with a base-hit before Zastryzny had Tobias go down on strikes.
The Tigers countered with four runs on four hits in their first at bat against Crawford. Sophomore Logan Pearson (2-for-3, two runs) drew a leadoff walk and sophomore Case Munson’s bunt single was thrown wide of first base by Crawford, resulting in runners on second and third base. Senior Dane Opel (3-for-5, two RBI) tied the game with a single into center field that brought home Pearson and junior Keaton Steele gave the hosts a 2-1 lead with an RBI single into left field. A sacrifice bunt by Dylan Kelly moved Opel and Steele into scoring position and an RBI grounder by junior Kendall Keeton scored Opel. Freshman Josh Lester expanded the Tigers’ margin to 4-1 with a single down the left-field line that plated Steele.
Ramjit led off the fourth with a single up the middle and came around to score on a long single off the top of the right-field wall by Tobias to narrow the Gators’ deficit to 4-2. Seconds later, freshman Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) delivered a base-hit into center for two runners aboard with none out, extending his hitting streak to seven games. Zastryzny had sophomore Mike Fahrman (Tampa, Fla.) pop up a sacrifice attempt and then had senior Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) hit into inning-ending double play.
Florida rallied for three runs on four hits in the fifth inning to grab a 5-4 advantage. Turgeon belted a one-out homer over the right-field wall for his team-leading fourth round-tripper to narrow the gap to 4-3. It was also UF’s first big fly since March 31. Gushue roped his first triple of the season into the gap in right center and Zastryzny countered with a strikeout of Shafer. Ramjit evened the game with his third hit of the night, a double to left field, and Tobias moved the Gators back in front with a single into left field.
After Zastryzny (5.2 IP, 12 H, 6 R) retired the first two Florida batters in the sixth, Martin singled into right center field and Turgeon drew a four-pitch walk, prompting a pitching change. Gushue greeted redshirt junior Jake Walsh with a single into left center that scored Martin for a 6-4 lead for the visitors.
Crawford registered the first two outs in the bottom of the frame before yielding a base-hit into right field by Dillon Everett (3-for-4) that ended a run of seven-consecutive batters retired. Munson sliced a single into right field for runners on the corners, bringing sophomore Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) in for Crawford (5.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 K, 4 BB). The righty whiffed Munson to preserve the Gators’ two-run advantage.
Tobias deposited a one-out double just inside of the right-field line in the seventh and redshirt sophomore Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) came through with a two-out, pinch-hit RBI single into left center field to give the Gators a 7-4 lead.
Florida tacked on another run in the eighth on a two-out RBI double by Shafer that brought home Turgeon, who had reached on a fielder’s choice and stolen second base.
In the home part of the stanza, Everett stroked a one-out single into right field and took second on a fielding error by Shafer, ending the night for Harris (1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 K). Pearson then brought the Tigers within 8-5 courtesy of an RBI single off of junior Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.). Magliozzi was summoned from the bullpen and walked Munson. After Opel delivered an RBI single into left field to bring home Pearson for an 8-6 score, Magliozzi caught Steele looking on strikes and had Kelly fly out to straightaway center field.
With the Tigers down to their final three outs, Lester drew a one-out walk. However, Magliozzi responded with back-to-back strikeouts of sophomore pinch hitter Jake Ivory and Everett to secure the Gators’ seventh win in a row, fifth-straight in SEC play.
The Gators and Tigers will meet in game two on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET and the contest can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell. Freshman left-hander Danny Young (Boca Raton, Fla.) (1-3, 3.51) will oppose Missouri sophomore righty Brett Graves (0-5, 5.24). 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.
Grand Slam Boosts Aggies Past Razorbacks
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Texas A&M freshman Jonathan Moroney brought home the bacon with a pinch-hit grand slam in the eighth inning to give the Aggies a 5-3 win over the No. 10 Arkansas Razorbacks on Friday evening at Baum Stadium.
With the Aggies trailing 3-1 after seven innings, Cole Lankford and Troy Stein laced singles through the infield off reliever Jalen Beeks to start the eighth inning. A passed ball moved both runners into scoring position, but Lankford was thrown out at home on a grounder to shortstop by Hunter Melton to put runners on the corners with one out. Mikey Reynolds drew a pinch-hit walk to load the bases. The base on balls extended Reynolds streak of reaching base to 37 games.
Arkansas brought in Chris Oliver to face Moroney, who was pinch-hitting for leftfielder Brandon Wood. Oliver’s first two offerings were low, but the third pitch was in the wheelhouse and Moroney launched it over the fence in left centerfield to stake the Aggies to a 5-3 advantage.
Jason Jester came in from the bullpen and retired all six Razorbacks he faced, including two strikeouts, in the eighth and ninth innings for his 10th save of the season.
Arkansas (25-15, 9-7 SEC) broke the scoring seal in the bottom of the second inning. Brian Anderson singled through the left side of the infield and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Dominic Ficociello. Matt Vinson drew a walk and a wild pitch put both runners in scoring position. Jordan Farris sent a deep fly ball to rightfield to score Anderson and Vinson was able to touch home when Aggie second baseman Charlie Curl mishandled the relay throw, giving the Hogs a 2-0 lead.
The Razorbacks inflated the cushion to 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth. Anderson looped a leadoff single to centerfield and he moved to second on a balk with one out and scored when Vinson rattled a double in the corner down the leftfield line.
Texas A&M (22-17, 7-9 SEC) shaved a run off the Razorbacks’ lead in the top of the seventh. With one out, Jace Statum drew a seven-pitch walk and he moved to third on a throwing error by Arkansas pitcher Brandon Moore on a field pickoff attempt. Blake Allemand hit a deep fly ball to rightfield to plate Statum, cutting the margin to 3-1.
Allemand, Lankford and Stein had two hits apiece for Texas A&M. Melton drew three walks in his four plate appearances.
Daniel Mengden allowed three runs, two earned, on five hits and two walks while striking out six over 6.0 innings in the no-decision. Zach Brashear (1-1) earned the win after retiring the only batter he faced to end the seventh inning.
Barrett Astin was left with no-decision despite pitching 5.1 shutout innings in the start for Arkansas, scattering five hits and four walks while striking out three. Beeks (4-1) was saddled with the loss, yielding three runs on two hits and one walk over 0.1 innings.
Anderson had thee of Arkansas’ five hits, going 3-for-4 with two runs.
The Aggies and Razorbacks converge on Baum Stadium for game two of the series at 7:30 pm on Saturday. The game will be televised on ESPNU.