Ole Miss will open the Southeastern Conference Tournament on Tuesday as the sixth seed and will face the 11th-seeded Kentucky Wildcats at 9:30 a.m. at Regions Park.
ATHENS, Ga. --- Fueled by a dominant offensive performance and solid bullpen work, the Georgia Bulldogs whipped Florida 9-2 on Senior Day to claim an SEC series.
Georgia (21-32, 7-20 SEC) had five players with multi-hit outings as the team went a collective 14-for-38 at the plate with six extra base hits including three home runs. The Bulldogs won a series over the Gators for the first time since 2006 when they swept them in Gainesville.
“We won two series this week that haven’t gone our way in a while so you can see how the guys hung in there and battled,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “The week started at Tech and we get down 7-0 and come back to win that. Then we drop the opener here on Thursday and bounce back to take the series. Our guys found a way, and while we lose a few seniors, there’s a good team coming back plus a few talented juniors that were on IR -- injured reserve -- all year that have been starters their whole career in outfielder Conor Welton and catcher Brandon Stephens and starting pitcher/closer Pete Nagel. Today was a special day to honor our seniors including Johnathan Taylor and Chance Veazey. They have meant a lot to the program and this is a special group that has been through a lot of adversity in their career.”
Florida (29-27, 14-16 SEC) had four pitchers give up at least one run, with starter Eric Hanhold (0-4) making his exit after just two innings. The Gators could only manage to get two across the plate, stranding nine runners on base as Georgia’s bullpen held strong. Jarrett Brown, Ross Ripple and Mike Mancuso combined for five scoreless innings after Jared Walsh left the game, with Ripple improving to 3-1 for the season.
The Bulldogs built an early lead with a three-run second inning made possible by four consecutive one-out hits. Heath Holder singled and Justin Bryan (2-4, 3 RBI) drove him in with a double that landed just inside the left field line. Nelson Ward then flared one into right to score Bryan and made it around the bases thanks to another double, this time from Curt Powell.
The Gators fired right back, though, taking advantage of a leadoff walk and two wild pitches from Jared Walsh to notch a pair of runs and cut it to 3-2 in the top of the third.
Georgia effectively erased that effort in the fourth, extending its lead back to three runs. Bryan led off with an opposite field home run, and Kyle Farmer (3-5, RBI) dropped a blooper into shallow center to plate Powell from second base, which he had stolen during Ward’s at-bat.
The Bulldogs broke it open two innings later with an offensive burst that included back-to-back homers from Walsh and Brett DeLoach as part of another set of four consecutive Georgia hits. Farmer led off with an infield single and reached home on Walsh’s blast. Daniel Nichols followed DeLoach with a double and advanced on two subsequent groundouts to put the tally at 9-2.
Farmer’s single marked his 264th career base hit, putting him at fifth all time in Georgia history, ahead of current Chicago White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham. His RBI in the fourth inning put him at fifth in that category, as well, tied at 168 with Jeff Keppinger, who is also on the White Sox roster. Farmer concludes his career with the highest fielding percentage by a Bulldog shortstop at .979. Also, he broke his own record for best fielding percentage in a season at .978. Also, Ward set the mark for a second baseman by fielding .987.
Georgia ends the season having won three of their four final games and claiming series over rivals Georgia Tech and Florida this past week.
Auburn Dismisses Arkansas in Regular Season FInale
AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn scored eight times in the fourth inning en route to an 11-6 win over No. 11 Arkansas in the regular season finale. With the win Auburn, which won its final three SEC series, two over ranked opponents, finished the 2013 regular season 33-22, 13-17 SEC while Arkansas finished it 35-19, 18-11 SEC.
“You get hits in big situations and we did that today,” Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. “Little things like Dan Glevenyak, with the bases loaded, got hit by a pitch and we scored another run that way. We just found different ways to score runs today.”
Auburn, which solidified its spot as the No. 10 seed in next week’s SEC Tournament at the Hoover Met, will face Alabama in the second game of the morning session on Tuesday.
Trailing 3-1 headed to the bottom of the fifth, Auburn erupted for eight runs (four earned) on six hits, two walks and a hit batter in the decisive inning, battering the Arkansas pitching staff for as many runs in that inning as it had given up in any full game this season.
Ryan Tella led off the inning with a walk, stole second and went to third on a Blake Austin single to left. Mitchell Self followed with a bunt back to Arkansas pitcher Brandon Moore, but he lost his footing while trying to throw home on the safety squeeze, throwing high and wide of catcher Jake Wise, allowing Tella to touch home safely and Austin to get to third. An alert Self broke for second with the ball behind the plate and got himself into a rundown, keeping the Arkansas defense chasing him long enough for Austin to score on the play. Arkansas did throw home on the plate, late, allowing Self to also reach second with the game tied at 3-3 and none out.
“It’s exciting to be down 3-1 and then to get right back in the game in one inning,” Self said. “This team is unbelievable. We were 0-6 after two really tough series and then 1-8 after Alabama. Ever since then we have turned it up. You can’t doubt anyone on this team,”
“We needed something to break for us in that inning and certainly that was a huge play,” Pawlowski said. “The flood gates opened up for another big inning. Yesterday we got stuffed pretty good so to come back today and do what we did was a complement to our guys.”
Arkansas went to the bullpen for Hunter Kelley but he greeted Trent Daniel with a single back up the middle to put runners on the corners. He then stole second, his second of three steals on the day. After Daniel got Cullen Wacker to go down swinging for the first out of the inning, he intentionally walked Garrett Cooper to load the bases for Patrick Savage, who hit a RBI single to right that gave Auburn a 4-3 lead, a lead it would not relinquish the rest of the way.
“Hitting is contagious,” Savage said. “Against a staff like that, with their bullpen, to do it against them really puts confidence in us. We believe we can hit anyone in the country.”
With the bases still loaded and one out, Daniel hit Dan Glevenyak to make it 5-3, forcing Arkansas to bring in its third pitcher of the inning in Chris Oliver. Oliver allowed a RBI single to Ebert and a two-out, two-run single to Austin before getting out of the inning when Self was thrown out trying to go to stretch a RBI single into a double and the score 9-3.
Trey Cochran-Gill (1-1) earned the win for Auburn, entering in the third after a Brett McAfee home run off of starter Justin Camp made it 2-1 Arkansas. Cochran-Gill would work a season-high 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits and two walks while striking out a season-high five.
“When I got the call I just wanted to come in and do my job in long relief,” Cochran-Gill said. “Going out there knowing that we needed to win this series, I just wanted to do everything I could to help the team win.”
Terrance Dedrick earned his 10th save of the season by getting the final four outs, entering with Auburn ahead 10-6 and two runners on and two out. He got a fly out off the bat of Wise to end the eighth and then set Arkansas’ 8-9-1 hitters down in order in the ninth.
Dedrick’s 10 saves are tied with three others for sixth-best in a single season at Auburn.
Austin finished the game 3-for-4 with three RBI while Savage was 3-for-5 with two RBI.
Brian Anderson, Dominic Ficociello, Eric Fisher and Brett McAfee ead had two hits for Arkansas, with McAfee hitting a triple and a home run and driving in two, Ficociello driving in three and Anderson scoring three runs.
Auburn lost its SEC series to Alabama, two games to one, but defeated it in a non-conference game in Montgomery.
Tuesday’s matchup will be Auburn’s first against Alabama in a SEC Tournament game since the opening game of the 2010 SEC Tournament. Auburn is 3-5 all-time against Alabama in the SEC Tournament.
The winner of the Auburn-Alabama game will face second-seeded LSU on Wednesday while the loser will be eliminated from the SEC Tournament.
Tennessee Sends Seniors Off with Win Over A&M
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee closed out the 2013 campaign on a high note on Saturday, defeating Texas A&M, 7-5, on Senior Day at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
“It is a nice way to go out,” UT head coach Dave Serrano said. “I give a lot of credit to our players, they could have showed up and mailed it in. Everything had been taken away from us [in terms] of any opportunity we had. I told our players, that was a character win right there. I will not say that that win builds us into next year because there is a lot of work that we have to do. One win doesn't turn around a season.
“We have a lot of work to do and it starts tomorrow for the coaching staff and the players, guys going out to summer ball. Every one of us has to get better in every facet. This is the last senior class that I want to see leave without a postseason appearance. It really tears me up that this program still hasn't been to Hoover since 2007. There are too many good things in this program to say that and I want to be the one, and this coaching staff wants to be the one, and I hope the players that we have coming back -and there are quite a few of them- want to be the ones that can say we're the first ones to get this program back to where it should be each and every year.”
After falling behind by four early on Saturday, the Volunteers responded with six unanswered runs with Scott Price and A.J. Simcox driving in two runs each.
Price finished 3-for-4 in the contest to give him a team-leading .361 batting average for the season, the highest by a UT player since Cody Hawn hit .364 in 2009.
Eric Martin picked up his first career win, throwing 4.0 scoreless innings of relief in which he struck out four and allowed just four hits. It was actually the first decision of his career - win, loss or save - as he was making his team-leading 22nd appearance of the season and 31st of his career.
Trevor Charpie recorded his second save of the year, tallying the final five outs of the game without allowing a hit. The save was the ninth on the season for Tennessee, all of which were recorded by true freshmen.
Prior to the game the Vols honored seniors Zack Godley and Zach Luther, as well as senior student assistants Hunter Mitchem and Andy Yates. Godley got the start in centerfield to open the game before being lifted before the first pitch, allowing him to take a curtain call to put the final touches on a stellar collegiate career.
The Aggies wasted little time jumping out to a quick lead on Saturday as the first two batters of the game reached base and Cole Lankford followed with a three-run shot over the wall in right to give A&M a 3-0 lead before the first out was recorded.
The Vols would settle down to keep them off the board the rest of the frame though and then got one of the runs back in the home half of the inning when Simcox lined a single to right, stole second, moved to third on a groundout and scored on a single through the right side by Price.
A leadoff home run by Krey Bratsen to start the second pushed the A&M lead back to three before an RBI single in the top of the fourth put the Orange and White in a 5-1 deficit.
Tennessee cut that down to two with a pair of runs in the bottom of the stanza when Smart followed singles by Price and Ethan Bennett with a two-RBI double down the left-field line.
The score would remain 5-3 in favor of the Aggies until the Vols put together a three-run frame in the bottom of the seventh to take their first lead of the day.
Jeff Moberg and Parker Wormsley got things started with back-to-back singles and a sac bunt by Luther moved them both into scoring position. Simcox then laced the first pitch he saw into the gap in right-center for a game-tying stand-up triple, the first three-bagger of his career. Although A&M got a strikeout for the second out, Price pulled an RBI single through the left side to give UT a 6-5 lead.
The Big Orange tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth with pinch-runner Heath Loyd scoring from third on a wild pitch.
Charpie then closed the book on the 2013 campaign by getting three consecutive groundouts to third to end the game. Fittingly, senior Zach Luther was on the receiving end of all three plays at first to finish off the game, the season and his playing career.
The Volunteers finish the 2013 season with an overall record of 22-30 and an 8-20 mark in Southeastern Conference play.
Vandy Sets SEC Wins Record with Victory Over Bama
Nashville, Tenn. – No. 1 Vanderbilt outslugged Alabama 14-10 Saturday afternoon at Hawkins Field to set the all-time Southeastern Conference wins record with the Commodores’ 26th league win.
The Commodores (48-7, 26-3) jumped out to a commanding lead in the second inning sending 11 men to the plate to score seven runs on two hits and five walks. Alabama starter Taylor Guilbeau opened the inning with four straight walks to force in a run and tie the game 1-1. Guilbeau’s fourth walk was his last as the Crimson Tide (32-24, 14-15) went to the bullpen for lefty Jon Keller. The southpaw was greeted by a two-run double off the bat of Vince Conde to put the Dores in front. Tony Kemp and Mike Yastrzemski added RBI-singles to go along with sacrifice flies from John Norwood and Connor Harrell before the Tide could get out of the inning.
The Crimson Tide, however, did not go quietly on the last day of the regular season. Alabama answered with five runs in the fourth inning to cut the Vandy lead to one run and chase starter Tyler Beede. The right-hander was tagged for five runs on five hits and one walk in the fifth before handing the ball off to Steven Rice. Rice needed just one pitch to end the inning and preserve the Dores’ one-run lead. The lefty then silenced the Alabama bats in the fifth and sixth inning allowing only a pair of singles.
The Commodores’ offense reemerged in the sixth to score five more runs and seemingly put the game away. Command issues again plagued the Tide as Yastrzemski and Connor Harrell where each hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force in the first two runs of the inning. With the bases still full of Commodores, Conrad Gregor ripped a double into the right-center field gap to clear the bases and push the VU lead back to six runs.
Alabama tried to climb back in the game in the seventh on Chance Vincent’s three-run triple but the Commodores put two more runs on the scoreboard in the eighth thanks to a Zander Wiel double off the left field wall to put the game away.
Eight Commodores had at least one hit on the day with Tony Kemp registering his seventh straight multi-hit game. Kemp wrapped up the league batting title on Saturday, finishing the regular sason hitting .408. Yastrzemski, Harrell, Gregor and Wiel combined for nine RBI and six runs scored in the middle of the VU lineup. Brett Booth paced Alabama’s 14-hit attack with four hits and Mikey White scored three runs in the loss.
Rice (4-0) picked up his fourth win of the season with 2.1 scoreless innings of relief. The lefty is 2-0 in his last two outings and has not allowed a run in his last seven innings. Beede failed to win his start for the first time this season, as the sophomore was touched for six runs on eight hits over 3.2 innings. T.J. Pecoraro worked the final three innings to notch his first save of the season. Guilbeau (4-2) took the loss for the Tide giving up four runs on no hits and four walks in one-plus inning. Alabama used five relief pitchers on the afternoon with the bullpen giving up 10 runs on nine hits and five walks.
Vanderbilt’s 26 SEC wins set the conference record, breaking South Carolina’s record of 25 set in 2000. The Dores have now won 18 straight series dating back to last season, including all 14 this year. The Commodores wrap up the regular season a school record 48-7 and will be the No. 1 seed in the SEC Tournament. Vandy will play on Wednesday against the winner of Florida/Texas A&M. First pitch is set for 4:30 p.m. on CSS.
Mississippi State Downs South Carolina
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State put the final stamp on an outstanding regular season of baseball Saturday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field.
The 16th-ranked Bulldogs erased an early deficit to post a 7-2 victory over No. 12 South Carolina in the final game of a three-game Southeastern Conference weekend series.
With the victory, MSU secured the No. 5 seed in next week’s SEC Tournament. MSU will face No. 12 seed Missouri in the fourth and final game of the tournament’s opening day Tuesday at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Ala. The contest will start 30 minutes after the completion of the 4:30 p.m. CT contest between No. 8 Florida and No. 9 Texas A&M. Comcast Sports Southeast will televise the night session of Tuesday’s opening round.
MSU finishes the regular season at 40-16 overall and 16-14 in league play. South Carolina is now 39-16 and 17-12. The Bulldogs recorded 40 wins in the regular season for the first time since 1997. MSU also took a series from South Carolina for the first time since 2009.
Demarcus Henderson led MSU with three of the team’s 11 hits. In relief, Ross Mitchell garnered the win to move to remain perfect, now 10-0 on the season.