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    SEC Baseball In The NCAA Tournament: June 1

    Saturday NCAA Baseball RESULTS
    Alabama 3, Savannah State 2
    Valparaiso 5, Florida 4
    Ole Miss 8, Binghamton 4
    Arkansas 3, Wichita State 1
    Texas A&M 6, UT-San Antonio 1
    South Carolina 19, Liberty 3
    Mississippi State 6, South Alabama 2
    LSU 8, Sam Houston State 5
    Vanderbilt 10, Illinois 4

    Alabama Rebounds to Oust Savannah State in Tallahassee Regional

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Alabama baseball team held on for a 3-2 win over the Savannah State Tigers in an elimination game in the NCAA Tallahassee Regional on Saturday afternoon from Dick Howser Stadium. Alabama will play on Sunday against the loser of the winner’s bracket game between Florida State and Troy.
    “This time of the year you’ll take an ugly win, and that’s certainly what it was today,” Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “Credit Mike Oczypok, who was tremendous today. He developed a blister in the third inning and he really batted through it to give us seven. A lot of credit goes to Mike.”
    Alabama (35-27) starting pitcher Mike Oczypok (5-2) gave the Tide another outstanding performance, going 7.0 scoreless innings against the Tigers. The walk-on freshman allowed six hits, walked one and struck out four en route to his fifth win of the season.  Closer Ray Castillo threw a scoreless ninth inning to pick up his 12th save of the season, to set a school record for saves by a freshman. 
    “We weren’t very sharp today and haven’t been in this tournament,” Gaspard said. “We’re still breathing and tomorrow is a new day and another opportunity. We’ll try to take whatever momentum we have from today and into tomorrow and look for better play.”
    Offensively for Alabama, Kenny Roberts led the way with a career-high three hits, going 3-for-4 with a single and two doubles with a run scored. Brett Booth was 2-for-2 with two singles, a hit by a pitch and a sacrifice fly. Austen Smith had a RBI double in a 1-for-3 outing. 
    The Tigers (33-23) racked up nine hits in the game, with Todd Hagen, David Richards and Darien Campbell collecting two hits each. SSU starting pitcher Jack May (5-4) went six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits with a walk and two strikeouts in a losing effort.   
    Alabama broke a scoreless tie with two runs off May in the fourth inning. Kyle Overstreet and Mikey White singled, and with one out Smith doubled down the left field line to drive in Overstreet. With runners on second and third, Booth hit a line drive to the warning track in left field, making it easy for White to tag and score from third. 
    Alabama added a run in the fifth inning when Georgie Salem had a RBI single to center field to drive in Roberts, who doubled in the previous at-bat. 
    The Tide held a 3-0 lead when Oczypok left the game in favor of Tucker Hawley in the eighth. The Tigers struck for two runs on three hits in the bottom of the inning to get within a run. Hagan singled to lead off the inning and scored on a double by Kevin Herlihy. Pinch hitter Drew Quinney nearly tied the game when he doubled high off the 30-foot fence in right field. After pinch runner Jason Wynn advanced to third on a passed ball, Hawley struck out Richards for the first out. SSU tried to bunt Wynn in, but UA second baseman Overstreet threw Wynn out at the plate to keep the one-run lead. With two outs, Chris Arnold grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning. 
    Savannah State had the tying run at first base in the bottom of the ninth following a one-out walk, but fittingly, the Tide turned their 79th double play of the season, when pinch hitter Joseph McCrary grounded into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play. 
    The elimination game between Alabama and either FSU or Troy will begin at 11:05 a.m. CT on Sunday. Should the Tide win the first game on Sunday, Alabama will play again at 4 p.m. CT on Sunday night. 
    Follow the Alabama Crimson Tide baseball team on Facebook at Alabama-Baseball and on Twitter at @AlabamaBSB.


    Florida's Season Ends After Loss to Valpo in Bloomington

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Fourth-seeded Valparaiso (32-27) overcame a 4-1 deficit with four runs in the seventh inning to eliminate third-seeded Florida (29-30), 5-4, from the 2013 NCAA Bloomington Regional on Saturday afternoon at Bart Kaufman Field. 
    The Crusaders will play the loser of tonight’s winner’s bracket matchup between top-seeded Indiana (44-14) and second-seeded Austin Peay (46-13) on Sunday at 1 p.m. in another elimination game that will be carried on ESPN3.
    With the Gators holding a 4-1 advantage, sophomore starter Johnny Magliozzi (East Milton, Mass.) had retired seven-straight Crusaders before senior Billy Cribbs opened the seventh with a single into center field. Junior Bryce Hara worked a walk and senior Andrew Bain blooped a single into left center that loaded the bags and prompted a pitching change. 
    Junior Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.) came in for Magliozzi (6.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 6 K, 3 BB) and an error by sophomore third baseman Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) on a grounder by sophomore Spencer Mahoney (1-for-3, two runs) enabled Cribbs to score for a 4-2 count. A walk to senior Tanner Vavra brought home Hara and another free pass to senior John Loeffler scored Bain with the tying run. 
    Sophomore Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) replaced Gibson (2-1) and a fielder’s choice by junior Chris Manning to second base drove in Mahoney for a 5-4 advantage for Valparaiso. After Manning stole second base, Harris fanned redshirt junior Andy Burns and had sophomore Mark Johnson foul out to freshman Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) in left field to hold the Gators’ deficit at one run.
    Tobias (4-for-4) set a career-best with his fourth hit of the outing, a one-out single in the eighth inning into left field off of senior Kyle Wormington (6-7) and redshirt sophomore Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) followed with a walk. The righty responded with a strikeout of freshman pinch hitter Christian Dicks (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Burns made a tremendous defensive play at third base to retire freshman Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) and keep the Crusaders in front.
    With the Gators down to their final three outs in the ninth, sophomore Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) started the frame with a walk and sophomore Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) (3-for-5) stroked a single into left field. Senior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position and Wormington countered with a strikeout of sophomore Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.). Bader (2-for-5, two runs) battled in his at bat but grounded out to third base to complete the contest.  
    Martin had opened the game with a single into center field and Turgeon walked on four pitches to put the Gators in business. However, senior right-hander Chris DeBoo (5.0 IP, 10 H, 4 R) worked out of the jam by striking out Shafer and having Ramjit and Gushue pop up.
    Mahoney had provided Valparaiso with a quick lead in the home part of the frame with a one-out homer off of Magliozzi in the first inning. It was his first career round-tripper and was carried out of the park over the left-field fence by the swirling winds. Magliozzi countered with two strikeouts to finish the frame with three punch-outs. 
    Although Valparaiso loaded the bases with two down in the second inning, Magliozzi was able to put a zero on the board. Junior Elliott Martin had stroked a one-out double down the right-field line and Johnson grounded out to hold the runner. A wild pitch enabled Martin to take third base and Cribbs drew a walk before Hara was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Magliozzi induced an inning-ending grounder by Bain that kept the Gators down by just a run.
    UF mounted a two-out rally in the third, as Shafer singled through the left side of the infield and Ramjit was plunked. DeBoo jammed Gushue on an infield fly to complete the stanza.
    The Crusaders threatened again in the bottom of the stanza, putting runners on the corners with one down, but were unable to score. Mahoney started things off with a free pass and was sacrificed to second base on a bunt by Vavra. After Loeffler deposited a base-hit into right field that pushed Mahoney to third base, Magliozzi struck out Manning and Shafer made a running catch in foul territory on a fly ball by Martin to close the inning.
    Florida erupted for five hits in the fourth, highlighted by a game-tying double by Tobias and a two-run double by senior Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.), to seize a 3-1 advantage. Bader led off with an infield single to raise his hitting streak to a career-high nine games and Tobias followed with his fifth two-bagger of the campaign to tie the contest. Powers sliced a single into right field that nudged Tobias to third base and Dent delivered a bases-clearing double to put the Orange and Blue on top. It was his third double and fourth extra-base hit of the season. After Martin popped up a bunt attempt, Turgeon poked a base-hit into right field to give Florida runners on the corners with one down. DeBoo prevented further issues by having Shafer ground into a 6-3 double play.
    The Gators tacked on another run in the fifth inning on a two-out RBI single by Tobias for a 4-1 lead. With two down, Bader singled into right field and notched his team-leading 15th stolen base. Tobias then matched his career high of three hits in an outing with a base-knock into left field to give UF a three-run margin.

    Ole Miss Eliminates Binghamton

    RALEIGH, N.C. – Bobby Wahl did what he did all year on Saturday, keeping his opponent in check until the offense clicked as No. 23 Ole Miss (38-23) defeated Binghamton (30-25) by a score of 8-4 on Saturday to stay alive in NCAA Tournament play at N.C. State.
    With the win, Wahl (10-0) became the first 10-win pitcher for the Rebels in a season since Cody Satterwhite in the 2006 season. Wahl worked 7.0 innings, allowing two runs on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
    Jake Lambert (7-3) took the loss for the Bearcats, allowing four runs on nine hits with eight strikeouts and no walks through 6.1 innings of work.
    Austin Anderson picked up the Rebel offense, going 4-for-5 at the plate with a run scored and an RBI to lead a group of five players with multiple-hits on the afternoon for Ole Miss.
    “I’m proud of our guys; It was good to win again,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “Our hats are off to Binghamton. They played their hearts out today and through 18 innings of baseball here in this regional. Fortunately for us, we had a big leaguer going on the mound. Bobby (Wahl) really gutted it out through seven innings until our offense finally put it together.”
    Ole Miss got on the board early, pushing two runs home in the first inning. Singles from Tanner Mathis and Austin Anderson put runners at the corners before a wild pitch brought Mathis home and moved Anderson to second. Andrew Mistone then singled to right to bring home Anderson and the Rebels led 2-0 after the top of the first.
    Binghamton answered in the third inning, getting a ground-rule double from the leadoff hitter to set up the score. Zach Blanden’s double fell in fair down the right field line and bounced sideways out of the park to put the lead-off man on second. A one-out single to right center two batters later brought him home and cut the lead to 2-1 before the Rebels would get out of the inning with back-to-back flyouts to end the third.
    The Bearcats tied things up in the sixth, using a lead-off single and a sac bunt to put Daniel Nevares in scoring position with one out. A single to shallow center put men at the corners before Jordon Smucker hit a sac fly to left field to tie the game at two.
    Ole Miss moved back in front in the seventh, using an RBI single up the middle from Mathis to drive in pinch runner Cameron Dishon from third. Will Allen opened the frame with a single before Dishon came in to run for him. The freshman promptly stole second before taking third on a sac bunt from Christian Helsel. Mathis then drove him in with the single up the middle to put the Rebels back in front 3-2.
    The Rebels continued to build on the lead when Bousfield bunted Mathis to second and Anderson notched his fourth hit of the day to drive him in and take the lead out to 4-2 at the stretch.
    Ole Miss continued to build on the lead, loading the bases with no outs in the eighth. Sikes Orvis then pinch hit, delivering a sac fly to right to bring home Mistone and take the lead to 5-2. Binghamton then intentionally walked Mathis, the second intentional walk of the inning, to load the bases for a second time and bring Bousfield to the plate with one out. The sophomore then drew a walk to bring home another run and gave Ole Miss the 6-2 lead.
    With the bases still loaded, Anderson delivered a groundball to first that was misplayed, bringing two more runs home and taking the Rebel lead out to six runs after the top of the eighth.
    Binghamton wasn’t done, however, loading the bases in the bottom half of the inning before Nick Pancerella grounded into a double play. The ground ball brought a run home, but put two outs on the board. A fielding error on a ground ball to second brought a second run home to cut the lead to 8-4 before the Rebels would end things with a strikeout from Bailey.
    The Rebels then kept the Bearcats off the board in the ninth to pick up the win.

    Arkansas Downs Wichita State to Stay Alive

    MANHATTAN, Kan. –  The 15th-ranked Arkansas baseball team eliminated Wichita State from the NCAA Tournament on Saturday afternoon with a 3-1 victory in the Manhattan Regional.
    Arkansas improves to 38-21 on the season, while Wichita State ends its season with a 39-28 record. The Razorbacks will next play at 2:05 p.m. tomorrow against the loser of tonight’s game between No. 1 seed Kansas State and fourth-seed Bryant. Tomorrow’s game will be available on ESPN3.
    Ryne Stanek earned the victory for Arkansas by throwing 7.1 innings of two-hit, one-run ball. Stanek improved to 10-2 this season and allowed one or fewer earned runs for the 13th time in his 16 starts, lowering his ERA to 1.39. Stanek’s ERA is the third-lowest in a single season in school history. 
    Colby Suggs pitched a perfect ninth inning to record his 13th save this year, breaking the Arkansas single-season saves record, which was previously held by Phillip Stidham (1989) and Tim Deitz (1985). Michael Gunn finished the eighth inning by picking off the inherited runner from first and striking out the batter at the plate, picking up two outs on four pitches to send the Razorbacks to the ninth with the lead.
    Wichita State starter A.J. Ladwig (5-6) took the loss, giving up three runs, two earned, on nine hits in six innings.
    The Razorbacks pounded out 12 hits in the victory with six different players recording two hits. Eric Fisher, Jacob Mahan, Brett McAfee, Joe Serrano, Tyler Spoon and Jake Wise each had two hits in the win. Spoon had a pair of RBI in the win, while McAfee drove in one run.
    Wichita State managed just two hits. Casey Gillaspie hit his 11th homer of the season, while Johnny Coy had the other hit for the Shockers.
    Arkansas, the designated visiting team, jumped on the Shockers early with two runs in the top of the first, giving Stanek all the run support he would need. Serrano led off the game by reaching first on an error by the Wichita State first baseman who couldn’t handle a low throw by the pitcher. Dominic Ficociello drew a walk to advance Serrano to second, and both runners moved up a base on a groundout by Brian Anderson. Spoon then stepped to the plate and laced a single to right center field that scored both runners.
    Gillaspie gave Wichita State its only run when he hit a homerun over the right-center field fence in the bottom of the fourth, pulling the Shockers within 2-1. The run was the first earned run allowed by Stanek in 26.1 innings pitched.
    The Razorbacks added an insurance run in the top of the seventh, when Mahan led off the inning with a single down the right field line. Wise singled between shortstop and third base on a hit and run that advanced Mahan to third and put runners on the corners with nobody out for McAfee, who looped a 0-1 pitch in front of the left fielder to plate Mahan and wrap up the scoring.
    Wichita State was unable to get anything going in the ninth as Suggs tossed a 1-2-3 inning to give the Razorbacks the win and record his 13th save of the season.
    For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit

    Texas A&M Defeats UTSA to Stave Off Elimination

    CORVALLIS, Oregon – Cole Lankford and Parker Ray both turned in career-best performances on Saturday afternoon to lead the Texas A&M Aggies to a 6-1 win over the UTSA Roadrunners in Corvallis Regional action of the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship at Goss Stadium.
    Lankford registered a career-high with five hits, going 5-for-5 with one double, one run and two RBI. His five hits set a school record for most hits in an NCAA Championship game. Multiple Aggies had four-hit games, with the most recent coming from Luke Anders in 2008 against Illinois-Chicago.
    Ray (2-1) allowed one run on five hits and one walk while striking out a career-high eight batters in 8.2 innings of work. The northpaw turned in the longest outing of his career one week after pitching 8.0 scoreless innings against No. 1 Vanderbilt in a 5-0 victory at the SEC Tournament.
    The Aggies pounced on the Roadrunners for a pair of runs in the top of the first inning, stringing together three extra-base hits to start the frame. Mikey Reynolds punched a double down the rightfield line to start the game. Blake Allemand followed with a hit down the rightfield line of his own. He ran around the bases like he was on a jet-propelled pogo stick for an RBI triple as the Roadrunner rightfielder John Welborn chased the ball into the corner. Lankford inflated the cushion to 2-0 knocking home Allemand with a double into the left centerfield gap. 
    UTSA (35-25) gave Ray his only blemish in the third inning. With two outs, Riley Good singled up the middle and Daniel Rockett was hit by a pitch to put two runners on. RJ Perucki followed with a single to leftfield plating Good and cutting the A&M advantage to 2-1.
    The Maroon and White created breathing room with a three-run fifth inning. Allemand roped a leadoff single to leftfield and Lankford followed with an infield single. Hunter Melton threaded a single through the left side of the infield, sending Allemand home for the 3-1 advantage.  After Troy Stein flied out to rightfield for the first out of the inning, Daniel Mengden deposited a 1-0 offering down the leftfield line for a double, plating Lankford easily and Melton rumbled around the bases like he was on rocket-powered roller skates to score from first for the 5-1 lead, chasing Roadrunner starter Brock Hartson from the game.
    A&M dropped the final anvil on the Roadrunners with a run in the sixth inning. With one out, Reynolds drew an eight-pitch walk and moved to second on a grounder by Allemand. Lankford bounced a single up the middle to score Reynolds for the 6-1 lead.
    Allemand also had multiple hits for the Aggies going 2-for-5 with one triple, two runs and one RBI. Melton went 2-for-5 with one run and one RBI.
    Five different players accounted UTSA’s five hits. Correa had the lone extra-base hit with a double.
    Hartson (9-5) was strapped with the loss. He allowed five runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out one over 4.1 innings. Wesley Cox pitched 4.2 innings of solid relief yielding just one run on three hits and one walk while striking out two.
    AJ Minter retired the only batter he faced to close out the game on the mound for the Aggies.
    The Aggies return to action on Sunday when they face the loser of Saturday evening’s Oregon State/UCSB game in an elimination contest at 2 pm Central at Goss Stadium.

    South Carolina Dominates Liberty, 19-3

    COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery tallied a career-high 11 strikeouts, and the Gamecocks collected 19 hits en route to a 19-3 victory over Liberty in game four of the NCAA Columbia Regional on Saturday night at Carolina Stadium. 
    Montgomery, who improved to 5-1 on the season with the victory, allowed just three hits in seven scoreless inning of work to lead South Carolina (41-18) to its 26th-straight postseason win at home, including a 15-0 mark at Carolina Stadium.
    The Gamecocks were just as impressive at the plate, as 11 players finished with at least one hit and six tallied multiple hits. Carolina also drew seven walks, and the 19 runs scored are the second most in a postseason game in school history, falling just short of the 21 scored against Florida International in the 1998 Atlantic Regional. 
    Sophomore Kyle Martin went 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs, while sophomore Tanner English delivered a 3-for-6 effort with a home run and three RBIs to lead the Gamecocks. Senior Chase Vergason, sophomore Grayson Greiner, sophomore Connor Bright and sophomore TJ Costen added two hits apiece, while freshman Max Schrock had a two-run home run.
    The Gamecocks got on the board in the top of the first inning using some outstanding patience at the plate, drawing four walks off Liberty starter Brooks Roy. Vergason got things started with a one-out single through the right side. Sophomore Joey Pankake then reached on a fielder’s choice, and Vergason advanced safely to second on a throwing error by Roy. After senior LB Dantzler drew a walk to load the bases, Greiner grounded to Roy, who then threw home to get the second out of the inning. However, Martin, junior Graham Saiko and Bright drew back-to-back-to-back walks off Roy to score Pankake, Dantzler and Greiner, giving the Gamecocks a 3-0 lead.
    With the Gamecocks building the early lead, Montgomery came out dominating on the mound, recording six strikeouts through the first two innings. 
    Carolina kept the momentum going at the plate in the top of the third. After Greiner and Martin delivered back-to-back singles to begin the inning, Saiko laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third with no outs. Bright followed with a single to center field, driving in both Greiner and Martin to push the Gamecocks’ lead to 5-0. English added to the lead in the next at bat as he launched a two-run blast over the left-field wall, the first of his career, to make it a 7-0 ballgame. 
    The Gamecocks tacked on two more runs in the fifth to build a 9-0 cushion. Bright came through with a one-out single and stole second base before Schrock smashed a two-run home run to right field, his sixth of the year.
    Dantzler scored on a sacrifice fly by Saiko in the sixth to give Carolina a 10-0 lead.
    The Gamecocks pushed across nine more runs in the eighth, highlighted by a three-run home run to right field by Martin, to build a 19-0 lead.
    Liberty (35-28) broke into the scoring column in the bottom of the ninth on a three-run home run to left field by senior Justin Sizemore. Sizemore went 2-for-4 on the night to lead the Flames.
    Roy (7-6) was tagged with the loss after surrendering three unearned runs and walking four batters in 2/3 of an inning of work.
    Liberty will face Clemson in an elimination game on Sunday at 1 p.m. The winner of that contest will match up with the Gamecocks at 7 p.m. Both games will be broadcast on ESPNU/ESPN3. Live stats will also be available at

    Mississippi State Advances to Regional Championship

    STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State advanced to the championship game of the Starkville Regional Saturday night.
    The ninth-ranked Bulldogs (45-17) knocked off South Alabama 6-2 before a crowd of 11,124 at Dudy Noble Field. Top-seeded MSU is now the lone unbeaten in the four-team, double-elimination event
    Central Arkansas and South Alabama will meet at 2 p.m. Sunday. The winner of that contest will play MSU at 7 p.m. in the tournament championship. That team would have to defeat MSU twice in the space of 24 hours. A potential second championship game would be at 7 p.m. Monday.
    “We really needed another large crowd and we need to close it out Sunday night,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “I am so proud of the team and the fans. It was another really great night for Mississippi State baseball. This thing is not over though. We have to come back out and play really well again Sunday night.”
    In relief, Ross Mitchell sparkled again. MSU starter Luis Pollorena was lifted after 3.2 innings of work. Pollorena carried a no-hit bit into the fourth inning but was lifted after surrendering four hits and two runs in that at-bat.
    Mitchell took matters from there. The sophomore left-hander allowed four hits and no runs over the final 5.1 innings of play. Mitchell moved to 12-0 with all of those victories coming in relief. Mitchell becomes the eighth Bulldog hurler to win 12 or more games in a season and first since Bobby Reed won 15 in 1990.
    “I want the other team to hit the ball and when you defense makes no errors behind you, you really have a chance to win,” Mitchell said. “I don’t think about the wins personally. I am simply out there trying to help my team win. I have been placed in some fortunate situations this year.
    “Sometimes, the team might be behind and rallies at the right time. Sometimes, a starting pitcher does not go five innings. It’s a team sport. I am simply out there doing my job.”
    Such a rally took place Saturday night. MSU erased a 2-0 deficit with four runs in the fifth inning and two runs in the seventh inning. All six runs came after two were out in an inning.
    “Our kids do a great job of changing their approach when there are two outs,” Cohen said.”I think they may try to do too many things in other situations. We are trying to teach our kids to mentally approach each at-bat like they have two outs and two strikes. That is when they do their best work.”
    In the decisive fifth inning, Nick Ammirati started things with a one-out walk. After a second out was recorded, Adam Frazier singled and Alex Detz drew a walk to load the bases. Hunter Renfroe followed with an RBI-single, followed by a two-run hit from Brett Pirtle and an RBI-single by Wes Rea.
    In the seventh inning, C.T. Bradford slapped a critical two-out single for a pair of insurance scores.
    For the contest, MSU had nine hits. Pirtle and Bradford each had multiple hits. Pirtle has now reached base safely in 35 straight games. Frazier has hit safely in 13 straight games.
    South Alabama (43-19) had eight hits. Dustin Dalken led the Jaguars with two hits. Matt Bell (6-2) pitched 6.1 innings, allowing six hits and five runs (four earned), while taking the loss.
    MSU officials would like to remind the fans that a “White Out” is in effect for Sunday’s night contest. Fans are encouraged to wear White while packing Dudy Noble Field for a third straight night.

    LSU Downs Sam Houston State in Front of Record Crowd

    BATON ROUGE -- In front of a record crowd of 10,752 at Alex Box Stadium, the LSU baseball team fought back from a 5-1 deficit to advance to the regional final, 8-5, over Sam Houston State on Saturday night.
    LSU (54-9) committed three of its five errors in the bottom of the first inning that forced starter Aaron Nola to throw 42 pitches in the frame and led to five unearned runs.
    This came on the heels of an Alex Bregman home run that was ruled a double, taking away a 2-0 advantage in the top half of the inning.
    However, Nola (11-0) recovered and threw another masterful performance for the overflow crowd. The Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year allowed six hits with six strikeouts and three walks in seven innings. SEC Tournament MVP Chris Cotton gave up a hit and a walk in the final two innings but kept the Bearkats scoreless to earn his school record-tying 16th save of the season.
    The Tigers battled to within 5-4 after three innings but couldn't muster a run against Jason Simms, who pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of starter Caleb Smith. In the top of the eighth, LSU touched bullpen ace Alan Scott (2-1) - who entered with a 0.60 ERA in 30 innings - for four runs that provided the final margin.
    LSU will face the winner of the losers bracket final between Louisiana-Lafayette and Sam Houston State (2 p.m. CT)
    First pitch of the regional final is set for 7 p.m. CT on (no over-the-air television). Pregame on the LSU Sports Radio Network is available free on starting at 6:30 p.m.
    In the top of the first inning, LSU third baseman Christian Ibarra gave the the Tigers an early 1-0 lead on a bases-loaded walk . Sam Houston State then took advantage of the LSU errors in the bottom of the frame to post five unearned runs. Tiger centerfielder Andrew Stevenson ended the Bearkats rally in the first with a spectacular diving grab in centerfield.
    LSU cut the Sam Houston State lead to 5-3 in the second frame with a fielder’s choice and an RBI single from Bregman, who finished 3-for-6 on the night.
    The Tigers scratched across another run in the third on a groundout off the bat of designated hitter Sean McMullen. McMullen left the game after the play with a slight hamstring strain and is listed as day-to-day.
    With one out in the eighth, Bregman connected for his third hit of the night on a line-drive single to center. He then came home to tie the game at 5-5 on a fielding error from Sam Houston State shortstop Carter Burgess.
    The LSU comeback continued as Ibarra was hit by pitch, putting the Tigers back on top 6-5. Two more runs came home in the inning on a wild pitch and an RBI single to left from catcher Ty Ross (2-for-4), extending the lead to 8-5.
    Cotton took the mound in the eighth, retiring three of four hitters faced. He then returned to the hill in the ninth, shutting the door while allowing one hit in two innings of work while striking out three. In the lefty's past 13 outings (14 2/3 innings pitched), he's allowed only three hits and two runs (one earned) with a walk and 14 strikeouts.

    Hit Parade Leads Vandy Past Illinois and Into Regional Final

    Nashville, Tenn. –Tony Kemp, Xavier Turner and Mike Yastrzemski combined for 10 hits and eight runs scored and Carson Fulmer tossed five shutout innings in relief for the victory in top-seeded Vanderbilt's 10-4 victory over Illinois Saturday night at Hawkins Field.
    With the victory, Vanderbilt (53-9) moves into Sunday night's championship game and awaits the winner of the day's earlier contest between the Illini (35-19) and Georgia Tech, a contest that takes place at 2 p.m. CT.
    “Well it was a tough game, basically a tale of two different games really," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "The first part of the game- the first four innings- was a grind. They played very aggressively. I thought we gave them some opportunities, and they capitalized on it. They were going to run the bases, they were going to try to make anything happen and basically try to play our game against ourselves. We should have known that because they’re a very good base running team, but the tide turned. We had a couple of big innings, and I think our kids responded very well."
    Yastrzemski finished the game with two doubles and a triple along with three RBI, while Kemp posted four hits, giving the junior 100 for the season. He becomes just the fourth Commodore in program history with at least 100 hits in a campaign.
    Turner added three hits with three runs scored. Kemp also scored three times and Yastrzemski added two runs. Freshman Zander Wiel collected three hits as well for VU, which pounded out 17 hits in the contest.
    Fulmer (3-0) was phenomenal in relief, allowing just three hits with two walks and four strikeouts in five innings. The right-hander entered the game with Vanderbilt leading 5-4 and kept Illinois off the board until the Commodores broke the game open with a five-run eighth inning.
    “You try to treat the situation like every other one," said Fulmer. "My job was to come out there and throw strikes and make the defense work. The constant pressure we put on Illinois in the later innings of the game- I knew it was going to be something that was going to happen. My job was to go out there and pound the zone.” 
    VU starter Tyler Beede worked four-plus frames, giving up two earned runs on two hits and five strikeouts, but he struggled with control, walking five and throwing one costly wild pitch.
    Illini starter John Kravetz (5-3) took the loss, allowing five runs on nine hits with six strikeouts in 4.1 innings.
    Thomas Lindauer led off the bottom of the first with a triple to right-center for the Illini and scored on Justin Parr's sharp groundout for an early 1-0 lead.
    “I got ahead in the count and got a fastball in the middle of the plate and hit it to the right-center gap," said Lindauer. "I thought (Mike) Yastrzemski actually caught it because I couldn’t see the ball land. It was big, especially playing in front of a crowd this big. We haven’t played in front of a crowd like this all season and it was fun. It’s one of those things you don’t get to do very often, so I really enjoyed that from my personal opinion.”
    Kemp's heads-up baserunning helped the Commodores take the lead in the third.
    The junior singled to right with two outs, breaking a 0-for-10 slump, then stole second. The throw from Illinois catcher Jason Goldstein was wide of the bag and bounced off the glove of Lindauer at short, allowing the speedster to take third on the play.
    Turner's single to center tied the game and the freshman stole second as well. He came across on a triple to left-center from Yastrzemski for a 2-1 VU advantage.
    Back-to-back walks and a throwing error by Turner loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the inning for the Illini. Jordan Parr's shallow fly ball to right scored Lindauer and Brandon Hohl's blooper over the first baseman's head plated another, with Michael Hurwitz getting his foot on the plate just in front of the tag after a collision with Spencer Navin.
    Illinois scored again in the fourth without the aid of a hit, starting with a leadoff walk to Reid Roper. He stole second, went to third on a groundout by Goldstein and came across on a wild pitch for a 4-2 edge.
    Vanderbilt chased Kravetz in the fifth after a leadoff single by Kemp and a ground ball double down the leftfield line from Turner. Yastrzemski's double to right-center scored a pair of runs and Conrad Gregor's groundout up the middle pushed Yastrzemski across for a 5-4 Commodores lead.
    VU took advantage of two Illinois errors to score five runs in the eighth and break open the contest.
    Navin led off with a single and Jack Lupo's bunt turned into a single. Kemp bunted as well, beating out the play, and the throw from Illinois first baseman David Kerian sailed all the way down the right field line, allowing two runs to score. Turner followed with an RBI single, but the wildness was just beginning in the inning.
    Yastrzemski was then hit and Connor Harrell's sacrifice bunt pushed the runners to second and third. Gregor grounded to the mound and Turner was caught in a rundown between third and home, but he avoided the tag near third. Yastrzemski had moved up on the play and started back toward second.
    When the throw went to second, Turner broke for the plate and scored when Lindauer's throw got away. Wiel's line drive to center pushed across the final run of the game for the Commodores.
    "We talk about all the time, in any bunt situation make sure you get an out," said Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb.  "Obviously, if you can get a lead out, that's a bonus, but just get an out and we didn't do that. It turned into a track meet that inning. Even if you get an out, it's one or two runs and you still have a tight game. I thought we competed well. I thought early we did a good job of putting pressure on them. I thought we made Vanderbilt do some things they didn't want to do. We stole some bases and we were an active team, but in that eighth inning we didn't get our jobs done."
    A limited number of single game tickets for the Commodores' game Sunday will be available online at beginning on Saturday night. Tickets are limited, but there will be infield and outfield seats available for purchase online and as walk-up sales at the stadium Sunday. Infield tickets are $20 and outfield tickets are $15.