South Carolina is back in action on Friday night beginning a three-game series vs. Georgia at Carolina Stadium. First pitch for the opener is 7 p.m. with the game televised live on SportSouth and available on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”
AUBURN, Ala. – For the fourth time in as many games and for the 20th time this season, Auburn came from behind to pull out a victory, this time defeating Samford 9-3 on Wednesday night after trailing by two midway through the game. The win improved Auburn’s record to 29-19 and gave it a season sweep of Samford, which fell to 25-24.
“That’s two days in a row where we have had very big innings,” Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. “We were working to get multiple runners on base and we did that. Some guys stepped up with some big, key hits.”
Trailing 3-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth, Auburn started its comeback with a single run in the fifth on a Hunter Kelley RBI single, the first of two RBI for Kelley on the night, to make it 3-2.
Auburn then erupted for six runs on seven hits in the sixth off of Samford reliever Charles Terry (1-1), sending 11 men to the plate in the inning, a night after scoring 12 times in the eighth inning on Tuesday at Jacksonville State when it sent 15 men to the plate.
“It would be nice if we did it a little early but it starts to get late in the game and everyone starts focusing in,” Patrick Savage said. “It doesn’t really matter how you get on, it’s just getting on in general. We are just trying to fight pitch to pitch to start and inning.”
Eight out of Auburn’s nine hitters collected at least one hit on the night, with Savage and Jordan Ebert each collecting three as Auburn collected a season-high 15 hits, while seven different players collected at least one RBI. Cullen Wacker, Garrett Cooper and Damek Tomscha each contributed two hits, with Cooper extending his hitting streak to 12 games with a sixth-inning single.
“We are getting hot at the right time,” Ebert said. “We have been putting some good AB’s together the whole year and it’s finally paying off. Early in the year we had a lot of bad luck happen to us. It seems like now everything is starting to fall for us.”
The big inning made a winner out of Reid Carter (1-0), who earned his first career win at Auburn with 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. The junior college transfer entered in the sixth with two down and the bases loaded and induced an inning-ending pop-up out of three-hole hitter C.K. Irby. The right-hander has now inherited a team-high 22 base runners, allowing just three to score.
Auburn returns to Southeastern Conference action this weekend when it heads to Gainesville, Fla., to take on Florida. It will mark Auburn’s first trip to Gainesville since the 2008 season. Game times for the series are 6pm CT on Friday and Saturday and noon on Sunday. All three games can be heard on the Auburn IMG Network’s baseball affiliates as well as online at www.auburntigers.com.
Alabama Takes Care of Business Against Troy
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama’s sophomore tandem of Taylor Guilbeau and Jay Shaw combined to allow one run in eight innings and the Crimson Tide bats exploded for 11 runs on 13 hits to take down the No. 25 Troy Trojans, 11-2, Wednesday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The win boosts Alabama’s record to 29-21 overall and to 7-3 versus in-state opponents, and the loss drops the Trojans to 35-13.
“It was really just a well-played game on all phases,” Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “It always starts on the mound. I thought Taylor Guilbeau gave us good first five innings against a really good offensive team. You saw some flurries there early in what they can do through the middle of their lineup. Taylor and Jay Shaw played outstanding. I think that’s eight or nine scoreless innings of ball for him (Jay Shaw) now. It was good to see Ray (Castillo) come back out and get a little confidence booster. I know they hit the long ball, but still, the velocity was really good and he threw the ball down. Defensively, we made plays. I thought Andrew (Miller) made some key plays for us in left field.”
Sophomore south paw Taylor Guilbeau (4-1) earned the win in his sixth start and 14th appearance of the year for the Tide, allowing only one run on seven hits in five innings. The lefty’s win tonight gives him a total of four this season, moving him into a five-way tie for the team lead. Sophomore righty Jay Shaw made his 10th appearance of the season, blanking the Trojans for three innings with only two hits allowed and a punch out. After his performance tonight, Shaw’s ERA sits at 1.62 for the season after throwing nine straight scoreless innings.
The Trojans’ Thomas Austin (2-1) was charged with his first loss of the year after relieving starter Jeremy McGowan early. Austin lasted 3.2 innings and allowed three runs on four hits and two walks with three strikeouts.
Sophomore right fielder Ben Moore turned in a 3-for-5 performance that included a double, two singles, a run scored, three runs batted in and his 16th stolen base of the season. The sophomore from Cullman, Ala., continues to pace the Tide in stolen bases and moves into a tie for third place in the SEC.
Senior third baseman Kenny Roberts notched a 3-for-5 game with his third home run of the season, two singles, two RBI and two runs scored. Freshman second baseman Kyle Overstreet 2-for-3 with a pair of singles, two walks, and a run batted in, freshman center fielder Georgie Salem carded a 2-for-3 day with a couple of singles, two walks, a stolen base and two runs scored, and junior first baseman Austen Smith padded a 1-for-2 effort with a double, a trio of walks and two RBI.
“Offensively, we were really good which we’re starting to see now,” Gaspard said. “In the last couple of weeks there has been some power start to show up in guys and starting to split some gaps. Timing couldn’t be better right now to start seeing extra base-hits come down."
The Trojans struck quickly in the first, sparked by Tyler Vaughn reaching to lead off the game. Guilbeau sat down the next two batters, but Vaughn advanced to third on a passed ball and a wild pitch. Trae Santos finished off the inning with a double to center to plate Vaughn and give Troy an early 1-0 lead. Vaughn was 3-for-4 on the night to lead the Trojans’ offense.
The Tide lineup came right back and answered in the bottom of the frame. The Tide got players to reach base consecutively on a Salem single up the middle, an Overstreet walk and a Moore single to center. With the bases loaded, Smith worked a walk to force in Salem and tie the game at one.
Roberts went yard on the first pitch he saw to take the lead and spark the Alabama lineup in the third inning. After Roberts’ third home run of the season, Salem reached on a walk and stole second to get in scoring position. Overstreet took a count to 1-2 and drove the fourth offering deep to left center to score Salem and cap off the inning with a 3-1 advantage.
Alabama continued to get contributions from all over the lineup in the fourth. After the first two batters were retired, Ryan Blanchard was hit by a pitch. With a well-executed hit and run, Blanchard was able to round the bases on a Roberts single up the middle and reach home plate to make it a 4-1 game.
The bats gave Troy’s third pitcher of the night a warm welcome when they started another rally in his appearance in the fifth inning. Moore got things started with a single to right center on a 0-1 count and swiped second to set up in scoring position. After a Mikey White walk, Andrew Miller singled through the right side to get Moore home from second and stretch the margin to 5-1.
The Trojans made another pitching change in the bottom of the eighth and the Tide bats heated up for one of their biggest innings of the year. After Alabama’s first two batters were retired, Roberts got the wheels in motion with a single into right field. Salem and Overstreet both worked full counts for walks in back-to-back at-bats to load the bases. Moore swung at the first pitch he saw and doubled to the warning track in left center, bringing all three runners home for an 8-1 lead. A Smith double to right center brought Moore home and Brett Booth’s fifth home run of the season into the trees behind the left field wall padded the lead to 11-1.
The Trojans managed to push one across the plate on a Matthew Howard solo shot with two outs in the ninth, but Castillo got a ground out on the next batter to finish off an 11-2 win.
The Alabama Crimson Tide returns to the friendly confines of Sewell-Thomas Stadium to play out their last home series of the year versus their Southeastern Conference foe Missouri Tigers. First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m. CT on Friday, 1:05 p.m. CT on Saturday, and wraps up with a 1:05 p.m. CT start on Sunday.
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Commodores Take Down Blue Hose, 5-2
Nashville, Tenn. – No. 2 Vanderbilt cruised by Presbyterian 5-2 on Wednesday night behind six pitchers.
Junior T.J. Pecoraro earned the start after his scheduled start was rained out at South Carolina on Sunday. The right-hander eased through three innings, issuing only a leadoff walk in the third inning to earn his third win of the season. Pecoraro retired the first six batters he faced and the final three before turning it over to a well-rested bullpen. Walker Buehler took over on the hill and turned in two scoreless innings allowing the Blue Hose (23-26) first hit of the game in the fourth. Jared Miller, Adam Ravenelle and Carson Fulmer all followed with scoreless innings with Ravenelle and Fulmer tossing perfect frames. Presbyterian finally scratched out a couple of runs off Brian Miller in the ninth to make it interesting. But Miller bounced back to retire the last two batters and finish off the win.
Vanderbilt (42-6) took the lead in the second inning on a Vince Conde single up the middle with two outs and never looked back. The Dores tacked on three more in the third inning with a four-hit rally. Jack Lupo opened the inning with a single and moved to second when Tony Kemp was walked. Xavier Turner dropped down his second sacrifice bunt of the night to put both runners in scoring position. Mike Yastrzemski pushed the first run across with a RBI ground out and Connor Harrell made it 3-0 Vandy with the first of three straight, two-out singles. Zander Wiel’s two-out base knock capped the rally and pushed the VU lead to four runs. Spencer Navin added a solo homer in the fourth for his fourth round tripper of the year.
Four Commodores led the way with two-hit games with Harrell, Navin, Lupo and Conrad Gregor all collecting two hits each. Brandon Paul paced the Blue Hose with two hits and Robby Swab drove in the team’s two runs in the ninth with a single to left. Presbyterian starter Tim Corbin (2-3) took the loss allowing five runs on 11 hits in six innings of work.
The Commodores ninth straight win made the team 28-3 this season at Hawkins Field. On the night 23 Commodores saw action with eight picking up at least one hit. The 5-2 victory also marked the eighth straight game Vandy has allowed three runs or less.
Vanderbilt returns to action Friday night at Kentucky when the Commodores and Wildcats open a three-game series. First pitch is set for 5:30 p.m. CT with Kevin Ziomek (9-2) getting the ball against Kentucky’s lefty A.J. Reed (2-6).