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    Friday Night Baseball Report

    FRIday Baseball RESULTS
    Arkansas 1, Auburn 0
    Georgia 3, Florida 1
    Missouri 4, Kentucky 3
    Texas A&M 8, Tennessee 4
    LSU 5, Ole Miss 4
    Alabama 5, Vanderbilt 4 (10 Innings)
    South Carolina 5, Mississippi State 4 (10 Innings)

    Arkansas evens series with 1-0 shutout win

    AUBURN, Ala. –  Ryne Stanek, Jalen Beeks and Colby Suggs combined on a six-hit shutout as No. 13 Arkansas evened its series at Auburn with a 1-0 win on Friday night at Plainsman Park.

    Arkansas improved to 35-18 overall and 18-10 in Southeastern Conference play, while Auburn is now 32-22 overall and 12-17 in league play.

    The Razorbacks’ victory clinched the third seed in next week’s SEC Tournament at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Ala. Arkansas will open play on Wednesday, May 22, at 9:30 a.m. against either the No. 6 or the No. 11 seed.

    Stanek (8-2) was impressive on the mound en route to earning his eighth win of the season. The junior right hander worked 7.2 shutout innings, striking out four and allowing six hits. Stanek lowered his overall ERA to 1.54, while his ERA in conference games is 0.97. In five SEC road starts in the regular season, Stanek went 4-0 with a 0.98 ERA, allowing six runs, four earned, in 36.2 innings pitched.

    Beeks and Suggs finished the job out of the bullpen, combining to throw 1.1. scoreless innings. Beeks got the last out in the Auburn half of the eighth when the Tigers had runners on first and second with two out. Suggs slammed the door in the ninth, striking out the side as he earned his 11th save of the season. Suggs’ 11th save are tied for third most in a season in school history and is one shy of tying the single-season school record of 12 held by Philip Stidham (1989) and Tim Dietz (1985).

    Auburn starter Michael O’Neal (8-4) pitched well, but took the loss. O’Neal gave up one run on four hits and struck out three in seven innings.

    Jake Wise went 2-for-4 to lead Arkansas at the plate. Dominic Ficociello drove in the only run of the game with a RBI single in the top of the third and went 1-for-3 at the plate. Jordan Farris and Tyler Spoon each added one hit in the win.

    Auburn had six different players record one hit. Blake Austin, Garrett Cooper, Hunter Kelley, Patrick Savage, Mitchell Self and Ryan Tella each had one hit for the Tigers.

    Arkansas scored the only run of the game in the top of the third. Matt Vinson walked with one out and then advanced to second after a ground out to short by Brian Anderson. A base hit to left by Spoon put runners on the corners with one out and Ficociello came through with a RBI single up the middle to score Vinson from third.

    Auburn would threaten multiple times in the game, but could never dent home plate. The Tigers had their best chance to tie the game in the eighth when they put runners on first and second with two out. However, Beeks came in and induced a foul out to Ficociello at third base to end the threat and keep Arkansas in front.

    In the ninth, Suggs struck out the side, earning his 11th save of the season and evening the series with a 1-0 win.


    Bulldogs Outlast Gators 3-1

    Georgia freshman Sean McLaughlin pitched a gem in front of a season high crowd of 3,016 as the Bulldogs registered a 3-1 win over Florida Friday.
    McLaughlin (5-6) came out on top in a pitching duel, tossing seven strong innings including five straight scoreless innings, striking out four, and only giving up one run on four hits. With the victory, Georgia has a chance to win its first series over the Gators since 2006 when it swept Florida in Gainesville. Florida (29-26, 14-15 SEC) took a lead in the second inning. Jordan Shafer, who led off with a walk, was driven in by a ground-rule double by Josh Tobias.

    Georgia (20-32, 6-20 SEC) quieted the Gators’ bats thanks to some great defense and a composed McLaughlin who settled down to pitch four consecutive scoreless innings and only giving up three hits. Florida carried a 1-0 lead through five innings.

    The Bulldogs rallied in the sixth. Heath Holder reached with a lead-off walk. DJ Smith reached first on an error advancing Holder to second. Nelson Ward advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt. Curt Powell reached base compliments of another error in the field scoring Holder. Hunter Cole smacked a single to right field scoring Smith from third. Daniel Nichols later singled and scored Powell to cap the three-run outburst. That would mark all the scoring on the night.

    The Gators used three pitchers to get through the sixth inning. Florida starter Bobby Poyner lasted 5.1 innings, striking out three, and only allowing two hits but was charged with both runs in the inning. He got the loss to fall to 3-3.  

    Georgia got stellar relief from freshman Mike Mancuso and junior Dylan Cole. Mancuso tossed a scoreless eighth while Cole was called on in the ninth and retired the batters in order to earn his fourth save of the season.

    “It’s important to finish strong, and the team showed that tonight,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “We won the Tech series earlier this week and now we have an opportunity to win an SEC series over Florida and we haven’t done that in a long time. I’m proud of Sean and the way he performed plus solid relief pitching, and we got some key performances from a lot of guys that are going to be back next season. Everybody has hung in there because tonight they were playing for pride.”


    Mizzou Clinches Spot in SEC Tournament With 4-3 Win
    COLUMBIA, Mo. – Keaton Steele’s eighth-inning home run was the difference as Mizzou (18-30, 10-19) topped Kentucky (29-24, 10-19) by a 4-3 final Friday (May 17) night at Taylor Stadium. Eric Anderson carried the load for Mizzou on the mound, going 7.1 innings and surrendering only four hits, three runs, and striking out four in his longest outing since Feb. 24, 2012 against San Francisco. Steele came in to close the game for the Tigers after pushing Mizzou ahead, sealing the 4-3 win and a spot in the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala., on Tuesday, May 21.

    The Tigers got a big two-out single in the sixth inning from Shane Segovia, bringing in two runs to tie the game and erase a 3-1 deficit that Mizzou had faced since the third inning. Dylan Kelly got the Tigers’ first RBI, scoring Josh Lester in the third inning. Kelly also scored a run in the contest, coming home on Segovia’s hit.

    Mizzou threatened in the second inning with runners on the corners and two outs, but Kentucky drew first blood in the contest by taking advantage of two walks and a hit batsman from Anderson, scoring three runs on two hits in the third inning. The Tigers responded by putting some pressure on the Wildcats in the bottom of the frame, putting two runners on with one out, and Lester came around to score on a two-out single from Kelly to cut the UK lead to two runs.

    After a scoreless fourth, Kentucky put its first two batters aboard, but Anderson responded with back-to-back strikeouts and induced a groundout to escape the jam unscathed. Mizzou got a big opportunity in the sixth, loading the bases from three walks, and a big single by Segovia to left-center tied the game at three runs apiece.

    Anderson’s day ended in the top of the eighth inning with one out, leaving the bases empty for reliever Jake Walsh, who ended the inning scoreless after taking advantage of a spectacular diving play from shortstop Dillon Everett for the third out. Steele led off the bottom of the eighth with a long shot to left, clearing the fence into the home bullpen to put the Tigers on top 4-3, the only score of the inning. Kentucky got a double with one out in the top of the ninth to put the tying run in scoring position against Steele, but the runner was left stranded on third after a strikeout.


    Four-Run Ninth Leads A&M to 8-4 Win over Tennessee

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Texas A&M Aggies used a four-run ninth inning to post an 8-4 win over the Tennessee Volunteers on Friday evening at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The victory clinched the series win for the Aggies.

    With the score knotted at 4-4 and one out in the top of the ninth, Daniel Mengden drew a five-pitch walk and was replaced at first by pinch-runner JB Moss. Brandon Wood popped a bunt up to the pitcher for the second out of the inning. With the coals of a ninth-inning rally smoldering, Krey Bratsen threw kindling on the fire with a single through the right side of the infield to put runners on the corners. Jace Statum drew a walk to load the bases.

    Reliever Trevor Bettencourt was called on to face Mikey Reynolds to put out the fire. Reynolds roped a ball to the hot corner and third baseman Taylor Smart made a diving stop to keep it from going down the leftfield line. Smart got up to his feet, but didn’t have a play at any base and Moss scored the go-ahead run on the infield hit. Blake Allemand followed with a single in the gap in left centerfield to drive in two runs for the 7-4 lead. Cole Lankford capped off the rally with a single through the left side of the infield to knock in Reynolds for the four-run lead.

    The Volunteers were active early with two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Will Maddox singled down the leftfield line to start the frame. The Aggies appeared to have Maddox caught wandering off first base, but Lankford went to make the tag at first while Maddox continued on to second base for the steal. After AJ Simcox struck out looking, Scott Price reached on a four-pitch walk. Ethan Bennett struck out swinging for the second out of the inning, but the Volunteers pulled off the double steal to put two runners in scoring position and Christin Stewart bounced a single up the middle to drive in both runners for the 2-0 lead.

    With one out in the top of the second, Troy Stein blasted a 1-0 offering off the leftfield foul pole for a solo home run, trimming the Vols’ edge to 2-1.

    The Aggies knotted the game at 2-2 in the top of the third when Bratsen hit a gapper to left centerfield for a leadoff double and scored when Statum punched a double into right centerfield gap.

    Tennessee (21-30, 7-20 SEC) reclaimed the lead in the third. Price hit a leadoff single to right field and Bennett drew a four-pitch walk to start the inning. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position and Stewart drove in Price with a sacrifice fly to rightfield for the 3-2 lead.

    Texas A&M (30-24, 13-15 SEC) staked claim to its first lead of the game in the top of the eighth. Bratsen stroked a leadoff single to rightfield and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Statum. Reynolds hit a wall-banger to the gap in right centerfield for an RBI triple. Allemand drew a walk to put runners on the corners and Lankford punched a single through the right side of the infield to score Reynolds for the 4-3 lead.

    The Volunteers did not go quietly into the night, mounting a rally in the eighth. With one out, Bennett reached on an infield single off reliever AJ Minter. A groundout by Stewart advanced Bennett to second with two outs. Aggie closer Jason Jester was called on to stop the rally. He got ahead of Smart with a 0-2 count, but Tennessee third baseman fouled off seven pitches before knocking a single through the left side of the infield. Leftfielder Brandon Wood made a perfect through home, but Stein was unable to hold onto the ball at home allowing Bennett to score, tying the game at 4-4.

    After the Aggies’ four-run ninth, Tennessee loaded the bases, bringing Price to the plate as the tying run but Jester got him to ground out to first base to end the game.

    Bratsen led the Aggies attack going 3-for-4 with two doubles and three runs. Reynolds went 2-for-5 with one triple, two runs and two RBI. Lankford went 2-for-5 with two RBI.

    Eight different players accounted for the Volunteers eight hits. Stewart had three of Tennessee’s four RBI.

    In his fourth career start, Parker Ray allowed three runs on five hits and four walks while striking out four over 6.2 innings. Jester (3-3), who suffered just his second blown save of the season, earned the win giving up two hits and one run over 1.1 innings.

    Drake Owenby (2-1) was saddled with the loss giving up three runs on two hits and two walks while striking out one over 1.1 innings. Tennessee starter Nick Williams tallied a career-high with 10 strikeouts. He yielded four runs on five hits and two walks over 7.1 innings.



    BATON ROUGE, La. -- A two-run eighth-inning homer by senior leftfielder Raph Rhymes lifted No. 2 LSU (48-7, 23-6 SEC) to a thrilling 5-4 victory over No. 14 Ole Miss (35-20, 14-15 SEC) Friday night at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.

    The Tigers and Rebels meet in the series finale Saturday at Noon. The game will air on the CBS Sports Network and the LSU Sports Radio Network.

    LSU’s 48 regular-season victories are the most in school history, and its 23 league wins are the most in Fighting Tiger annals.

    “This certainly wasn’t one of the best games we played this season,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri, “and it looked pretty grim when Ole Miss took the lead in the eighth inning, but our players continued to believe we bounce back. (LSU first baseman) Mason Katz battled after being down two strikes in the count and came up with a big base hit, and then Raph followed with a blast to give us the lead. I knew as soon as it left his bat it was gone; I didn’t even watch it to see exactly where it landed.”

    LSU fell behind early Friday after an RBI single from Rebel third baseman Andrew Mistone gave Ole Miss a 1-0 advantage.

    The Tigers answered in the fourth inning with two runs on a sacrifice fly from Rhymes (1-for-3 with three RBIs) and a bases-loaded walk from catcher Ty Ross.

    Outfielder Mark Laird led off the fifth inning with his first triple of the season. He then came home on an RBI groundout from shortstop Alex Bregman, giving the Tigers a 3-1 lead.

    Ole Miss responded in the seventh, leveling the game at 3-3 on a LSU throwing error and an RBI base hit from shortstop Austin Anderson. The Rebels later regained the lead in the eighth on an RBI groundout.

    With one out in the bottom of the eighth, first baseman Mason Katz (2-for-4) delivered a single to centerfield. Rhymes then connected for a go-ahead blast over the wall in left-center, giving the Tigers a 5-4 lead. It was his fourth home run of the season and his second in as many games.

    In the ninth inning, Chris Cotton retired the three Rebel hitters he faced in order including a game-ending strikeout, marking his 12th save of the season.

    Senior right-hander Kevin Berry (4-0) -- the fifth of six LSU pitchers -- earned the victory, allowing one hit and one walk in two thirds of an inning.


    Alabama Baseball Defeats No. 1 Commodores, 5-4, in 10 Innings

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Georgie Salem’s first hit of the series came at the perfect time, as he delivered a game-winning RBI single in the top of the 10th inning, as the Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the No. 1 ranked Vanderbilt Commodores, 5-4, on Friday night from Hawkins Field. With the victory, Alabama improves to 32-23 overall and 14-14 in Southeastern Conference play. With the loss, the Commodores fall to 47-7 overall and 25-3 in conference play.

    Mikey White opened the 10th inning with his third hit of the game with a sharp single up the middle off Vanderbilt closer Brian Miller. After Andrew Miller was called out for runner’s interference on a sacrifice bunt, Chance Vincent was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. After a Kenny Roberts fly out, the Dores called on lefty Jared Miller to face Salem with two outs. In the lefty-lefty match-up, Salem hit a 2-1 pitch back up the middle that allowed White to score from second for the game-winning run.

    “This was the biggest game of the year and the biggest win of the year for us,” Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “We felt like coming in her, a win would put us in great position to move on into the post-season play. This win is such a confidence booster for this team. We’ve played in so many games like this, against so many good teams, but haven’t been able to overcome. Tonight, we overcame.

    After the Tide regained the lead, Alabama called on Ray Castillo to throw the 10th inning. After he retired the first two hitters, Spencer Navin singled with two outs, but Tony Kemp grounded out to second to end the game as Castillo earned his 10th save of the season. The Tide’s third pitcher of the night, Jay Shaw (1-1), threw a scoreless ninth inning, but had to pitch out of a jam to record his first victory of the season. Vandy closer Brian Miller (5-1) allowed a run on two hits in 1.2 innings of work to take the loss.  

    “It was big for Ray (Castillo) to work a clean inning,” Gaspard said. “It’s just a big win for our players and I’m happy for our players because they have fought and grinded all season long. Even with some tough losses, they continue to show up and play hard every day.”

    Offensively for Alabama, White led the way with a 3-for-5 night that included a pair of singles, a double, two runs and an RBI. White has five hits in the series and is now batting .354 in 28 SEC games this season. With the three-hit performance, White has now hit in the last seven games.

    Kyle Overstreet extended his hitting streak to eight games with a 2-for-4, one RBI performance, and Vincent has now hit safely in his last four games, following a 2-for-4 night with a run scored and an RBI.

    Alabama starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull did not factor into the decision after allowing two runs on seven hits with four walks and three strikeouts in 5.1 innings. Justin Kamplain threw 2.2 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on a hit with three strikeouts. Kamplain also hit two batters.

    Vanderbilt starter Kevin Ziomek also had a no decision after throwing 5.0 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits with four walks and 10 strikeouts. Tony Kemp was 2-for-6, Mike Yastrzemski was 2-for-5 and Rhett Wiseman was 2-for-2 with a walk for the Commodores.

    For the second straight night, the Commodores scored first, when Yastrzemski singled through the left side to drive in Kemp from second.

    After a pair of strikeouts started the Bama third, Vincent got the first hit for the Tide when he singled through the right side. Roberts was hit by a pitch then Salem walked to load the bases, but Ziomek recovered to strikeout Overstreet to keep the Tide of the scoreboard.

    In the bottom half of the third, the Dores extended their lead to 2-0 as Yastrzemski scored when Conrad Gregor grounded into a double play. Yastrzemski singled to open the inning then moved to third on a Connor Harrell single through the right side.

    Bama got even in the fourth, scoring a pair of runs against Ziomek. The Tide loaded the bases with two walks and an error on a sacrifice bunt to open the inning. An infield single by White allowed Ben Moore to score the first run then on a fielder’s choice ground out by Vincent, Austen Smith scored the second run, tying the game at 2-2.

    Vanderbilt threatened again in the sixth inning when it loaded the bases with two outs. But Alabama reliever Justin Kamplain struck out Kemp to end the inning and keep the score tied at two.

    In the top of the seventh, Bama got a double by Vincent and a single by Roberts to open the inning off Fulmer. With runners on the corners and one out, Overstreet singled up the middle to plate Vincent to give the Tide a 3-2 advantage. Alabama couldn’t capitalize any further as Smith struck out and Booth popped out to end the inning.

    The Tide added another run in the eighth inning to take a two-run lead. After White doubled to the left field gap to open the inning, Miller dropped a perfect bunt to move him to third with one out. After Vincent struck out, White scored on a wild pitch by Fulmer to make the score 4-2.  

    The Dores answered in the bottom of the eight with two runs to even the score at 4-4. After the first two hitters reached on a single and a hit batter, pinch hitter Andrew Harris moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt. A ground ball to third allowed Conrad Gregor to score, but Roberts made throwing error on the play, which allowed Vince Conde to reach and put runners on the corners. Vandy bunted again, as Spencer Navin laid down a perfect bunt, allowing Kyle Smith to score the game-tying run.

    Vanderbilt had the potential game-winning run at third base with two outs in the ninth, but Jay Shaw got Smith to fly out to right field to send the game into extra innings. The extra inning game marked the eighth of the season for the Tide, will all eight coming against nationally ranked opponents. The Tide is now 2-6 in extra-inning games this season.



    Starkville, Miss. – Grayson Greiner’s two-out two-run homer in the top of the 10th inning lifted 12th ranked South Carolina to a 5-3 victory over 16th ranked Mississippi State on Friday evening at Dudy Noble Field in game two of a three-game SEC series.  The Gamecocks clinch the No. 4 seed at next week's SEC Tournament and earn a bye into Wednesday night and the double elimination format in bracket two.  Carolina is 39-15 and 17-11 in the SEC with Mississippi State dropping to 39-16 and 15-14 in league play.

    With the score deadlocked at 3-3 and two outs in the top of the 10th inning, LB Dantzler drew a two-out walk against MSU reliever C.T. Bradford.  With Greiner coming to the plate, Mississippi State went to the bullpen for right-hander Daryl Norris.  On Norris’ first pitch, Greiner launched his fourth home run of the season into the left field stands to give Carolina a two-run lead.  Senior left-hander Tyler Webb entered in the bottom of the 10th and worked a perfect frame with a strikeout for his 16th save to preserve the victory.

    “I got it pretty good,” said Greiner.  “I was sitting on a slider.  I saw in warm-ups that he had a pretty good one.  It was sitting right there, it felt real good when it came off (the bat).  I don’t know if it is the hardest ball I have ever hit, but it felt good.”

    Senior left-hander Adam Westmoreland earned the win and is 7-1 on the year.  He worked two scoreless innings and allowed just one hit and one walk with two strikeouts.  Bradford suffered the loss and is 1-1 on the year.

    Greiner was 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBI.  Alex Detz went 4-for-4 to lead Mississippi State with Adam Frazier and Brett Pirtle tallying two hits apiece as well.

    “We have some older guys out there that have been through the ringers of this league,” said South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook.  “I’m proud with the way they have handled adversity (in this series).  It’s a tough place to play and we are playing a really good team that could be in Omaha at the end of the year.  We feel fortunate to have been able to win and secure our (top 4) spot on Wednesday in Hoover.  It was a big win for our team.”

    Through the first four innings both South Carolina starter Jordan Montgomery and Mississippi State starter Kendall Graveman were effective on the mound for their respective teams.

    Scoreless entering the top of the fifth, Carolina broke ahead 2-0 on the Bulldogs. Greiner led off with a base hit up the middle and Graham Saiko drew a walk to give Carolina a pair of runners with no outs.  After a groundout by Kyle Martin moved both into scoring position, Greiner scored on Connor Bright’s RBI groundout to second.  The Gamecocks would make it 2-0 when Saiko scored on a wild pitch issued by Graveman.

    Mississippi State scored once in the sixth inning.  Adam Frazier led off with a base hit and Alex Detz singled to give the Bulldogs a pair of runners.  After a deep flyout to left by Hunter Renfroe advanced Frazier to third, Brett Pirtle would be hit by a pitch to load the bases.  A short flyout to center off the bat of Wes Rea kept the bases loaded.  With two outs, Bradford would strikeout but the low strike would get past Greiner for a wild pitch and allowed Frazier to score the first run for MSU.  Montgomery kept Carolina ahead with a fielder’s choice to end the inning.

    Mississippi State added two runs in the seventh inning to take a 3-2 lead.  Derrick Armstrong reached base with one out on a bunt for a base hit.  Frazier and Detz followed with singles that loaded the bases.  With two outs and the bases still full, Pirtle lifted the first pitch from Montgomery just over Pankake into left-center for a single scoring a pair of runners and giving the Bulldogs a one-run lead.

    Back and forth, South Carolina answered with a run in the eighth inning to tie it at 3-3.  In a nine-pitch at bat with one out, Max Schrock singled to left field to give the Gamecocks a base runner.  Chase Vergason followed with a single to the gap in left-center that put runners on the corners.  With two outs and runners still on first and third, MSU reliever Jonathan Holder let one slip and issued up a wild pitch scoring Schrock and tying the game.

    The Gamecocks and Westmoreland escaped damage in the bottom of the 9th inning.  With two outs, Detz doubled down the left field line.  After Renfroe was intentionally walked, Pirtle would be hit for the second time to load the bases for Mississippi State.  Westmoreland kept his composure and on a 1-1 pitch to Rea, he got the MSU first baseman to foul out down the first base line to keep the game in check and send it into extra innings.