UK, Bama, and Coastal pick up wins

FROM CBB NEWS SOURCES

Kentucky 3 Florida 2 (10 innings)

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Brian Spear’s bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 10th inning scored Keenan Wiley with the game-winning run, giving the 17th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats a thrilling 3-2 win over No. 24 Florida, securing the series victory over the Gators, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

With the game on the line in the bottom of the 10th, Kentucky needed a run to claim a win and avoid the much-dreaded tie. Due to Southeastern Conference travel regulations and the travel plans of Florida, no new inning could start after 4 p.m. ET. With the game tied after the ninth inning, the teams started the 10th and decisive inning as the clock read 3:58 p.m. ET.

After Scott Green got UK through the top of the 10th unscathed, Kentucky got a clutch leadoff double from Wiley, whose blooper fell out of the glove of Florida left-fielder Avery Barnes as he laid out to make the play. Wiley legged it out and All-American centerfielder Collin Cowgill laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Wiley to third, narrowly missing the tag as catcher Hampton Tignor attempted to get the lead runner. After intentionally walking Sawyer Carroll to load the bases, UK’s single-season record holder for walks in a season, Spear came to the plate. Spear, who drew 53 walks in 2007, took the first strike and then watched as freshman flame-throwing Tommy Toledo issued four consecutive balls to force home Wiley and give Kentucky the series-clinching victory.

The win gives Kentucky (30-9, 9-9 SEC) 30 wins for the third-consecutive year, a feat only accomplished one other time in the 103-year history of the program. Keith Madison’s 1991-94 clubs totaled 30 or more wins for four straight years.

Cowgill had another monster day at the plate and in the field, going 2-for-4 with a home run and an RBI. Cowgill made an extra-base and run-saving snag while colliding with the outfield fence in left-centerfield early in the game. Cowgill was retired only twice during the weekend, reaching base safely in 12-of-14 appearances at the plate. During the weekend, Cowgill went 5-for-8 (reaching on one error), scoring seven of UK’s 21 runs, ripping a double and a home run, one RBI, drawing four walks and two hit by pitches, laying down a sacrifice bunt and stealing a base. During UK’s 4-1 week, Cowgill batted .600 (9-for-15) with 11 runs scored, a double and three home runs, driving in six RBI.

On the season, Cowgill has hit for a .399 average, with 57 runs scored, 57 hits, ripping 11 doubles, two triples, 15 home runs, 45 RBI, 32 walks, as well as stealing 16-of-19 bases. Carroll has hit for an SEC-leading .465 average, with 14 doubles, one triple, 12 home runs and 56 RBI, drawing 27 walks to just 16 strikeouts and swiping 7-of-7 bases.

Wiley was the sparkplug in the Wildcat offense again on Sunday, registering a 3-for-5, two run day at the plate while hitting atop the UK lineup. Senior Ryan Wilkes was the only other UK player to chart a hit, going 1-for-3.

UK junior right-hander Scott Green (4-2) notched the win, tossing 1 2/3 innings without allowing a hit.

The UK bullpen was perfect, as Andrew Albers and Brock Baber set things up for Green, with Albers going one hitless inning and Baber getting two outs without allowing a hit. Starter Greg Dombrowski was nearly perfect as well, allowing a lone blemish, coming as a two-run home run from Matt den Dekker. Dombrowski worked 6 2/3 innings, gave up seven hits and struck out seven – one shy of his career high. UK’s career record holder for winning percentage, Dombrowski issued his first walk in 16 innings (4/6, vs. Miss. St.), an intentional pass.

Toledo took the loss, working 2 1/3 innings in relief of starter Stephen Locke, allowing just one hit and one run, walking three and striking out one. Locke toiled 6 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and two runs, working an excellent changeup for eight strikeouts.

Kentucky got on the board in the first inning, taking a 1-0 lead. Cowgill followed a Wiley strikeout, ripping his 15th homer of the year over the leftfield fence.

Florida threatened in the second inning, getting a leadoff hit from Josh Adams. After Dombrowski got Jon Townsend swinging, Bryson Barber ripped a hard ball into the left-centerfield gap. Cowgill gave chase, slamming into the outfield fence while making the spectacular grab, robbing Barber of extra bases with a runner on base.

Kentucky got another run in the third, as Wiley led off with a single to right field, stealing second on a botched pickoff attempt and moving to third on a wild pitch. Spear scored him with a sacrifice fly, his third of the year.

Florida tied the game up at 2-2 in the sixth, taking advantage of the one mistake Dombrowski made during his nearly seven innings. After Barnes led off with a single through the right side, den Dekker took a 1-1 offering from Dombrowski lined over the right-field fence.

Kentucky returns to action on Tuesday, traveling to state rival Louisville for the mid-week tilt with the Cardinals. First pitch at UL’s Jim Patterson Stadium, an artificial playing surface, is set for 6 p.m. ET.

Alabama 4 Mississippi State 3

Alabama freshman second baseman Ross Wilson strolled to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning knowing his team needed to score a run.

So, trailing 3-2 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Hoover, Ala., native slammed a 1-0 fastball over the wall in left field to give the Crimson Tide its only lead of the day in a 4-3 come-from-behind win over Mississippi State in the series finale Sunday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Wilson’s home run was just one of five hits in the game for Alabama.

“We really needed to score there, because we knew Mississippi State had (Aaron) Weatherford in the bullpen,” Wilson said. “It was a big lift for this team and we needed to win.”

The win also put Alabama back into second place in the SEC Western Division standings, one-half game ahead of third-place Arkansas.

Wilson was the Tide’s leading hitter against the Bulldogs, going 4-for-9 (.444) with three home runs and five RBI. He also scored five runs in the three-game series.

“Wilson came through with the big hit in a game where we did not generate a lot of offense,” Alabama coach Jim Wells said. “We had a lot of bad at-bats today throughout the lineup.”

Alabama (22-19, 8-10 SEC) took advantage of a two-out walk to win the game in the seventh inning. MSU right-hander Michael Busby retired the first two hitters on two pitches before issuing a four-pitch walk to Josh Rutledge. Wilson followed with his sixth home run of the season to give the Tide its sixth straight SEC home series win, dating back to last season.

Austin Graham (3-1), who got out of tough jam in the seventh inning on just three pitches out of the bullpen, pitched the final three innings for the win. He allowed two hits and struck out three MSU hitters.

He worked out of first and second, no out jam in the seventh inning as he relieved UA starter Robert Phares. Graham needed only three pitches to retire the side in the inning and set up Wilson’s game-winning home run.

Mississippi State (15-23, 4-14 SEC) threatened again in the ninth inning, but left the tying run at third base when Ryan Duffy’s hard ground ball was fielded by first baseman Wes Henderson to end the game.

In his last five outings, Graham has allowed only two runs in 11 innings and he has recorded 12 strikeouts.

“Graham continues to pitch well,” Wells added. “He did another good job today out of the pen. He has really developed and is throwing all four of his pitches for strikes.”

MSU had 12 hits in the loss and put at least one man on base in all nine innings Sunday, but left 11 men on base.

The Bulldogs scored all three runs in the first two innings to take a 3-0 lead. In the first inning, MSU took advantage of a pair of walks to Ryan Collins and Cody Freeman before Russ Sneed plated Collins with a double into right-center field.

In the second inning, Collins singled up the middle to score Jet Butler to give MSU a 2-0 lead. Grant Hogue, who was hit by a pitch, later scored on passed ball to give MSU a 3-0 lead.

Alabama came back with two runs in the bottom of the third inning to close the gap to 3-2. Junior right fielder Kent Matthes led off the inning with a line-drive to center and junior catcher Kyle Moore followed with double inside the third base bag into the left field corner to put runners at second and third with no outs. Junior first baseman Wes Henderson followed with a single to right field to score Matthes with the Tide’s first run of the game. Sophomore third baseman Jake Smith brought home Moore with an infield ground out to cut the lead to 3-2.

Neither team scored again until the seventh inning, but both teams missed out on several scoring opportunities.

MSU starter Justin Pigott, making his first start since a shoulder injury on March 15, held the Tide to two runs and four hits through 5 2/3 innings. He added three walks and three strikeouts. He left the game in the sixth inning after a two-out error and walk.

Phares pitched into the seventh inning before leaving with two runners on base and not outs. He allowed three runs and nine hits, with four strikeouts and three walks. He left with runners at first and second and no outs.

Alabama returns to action on Tuesday, April 22 when the Crimson Tide hosts Lipscomb in a 6:35 p.m. (CDT) game at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The Crimson Tide will travel to Mobile to meet the South Alabama Jaguars on Wednesday, April 23 at 6 p.m., before returning home to take on in-state and SEC Western Division rival Auburn next weekend in three-game SEC series.

Coastal Carolina 3 UNC Asheville 2

CONWAY, S.C. – In front of a nationally-televised audience, the 19th-ranked Coastal Carolina University baseball team (33-7, 10-2 Big South) broke a 2-2 deadlock with a run in the eighth as the Chanticleers defeated UNC Asheville (16-27, 2-10 Big South) 3-2 April 20 in Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field. The game was televised on ESPNU and was Coastal’s ninth straight win.

Coastal struck first with two runs in the second, all with two outs. UNCA’s Michael Bogaert got junior David Anderson (Lexington, S.C./White Knoll) to fly out and junior Tyler Bortnick (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) to pop out. Sophomore Chance Gilmore (Surfside Beach, S.C./Virginia) singled through the right side. He stole second and hustled home after freshman Rico Noel (Lawton, Okla./Lawton) beat out a single. Noel went to second on the throw home and scored on a single from freshman Scott Woodward (Markle, Ind./Norwell).

Asheville got one back in the third. Kevin Mattison reached on an error with one out. He moved to third on a single from Kevin Weidenbacher Mattison scored on a single from Elliott Arrington.

Asheville tied the game at two in the fifth. Catlin Carter doubled with one out. He went to third on a Mattison ground out and scored on a Weidenbacher single.

The score stayed the same until the bottom of the eighth. Borntick led off the inning with a double. He went to third on a bunt single from Gilmore and scored on a sacrifice fly from Sappelt. The Bulldogs’ Beau Zinman led off the ninth with a single, but junior Dock Doyle (Conway, S.C./Conway) picked him off. Junior Pete Andrelczyk (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Twp.) then struck out Mike Vaughn and got Mattison to ground into a fielder’s choice to end the game.

Andrelczyk earned the win in relief, pitching the final two innings and allowing a hit and a strikeout. Senior Joey Haug (Holt, Mo./Maple Woods C.C.) went the first seven innings, giving up nine hits and an earned run with three strikeouts. Bogaert took the loss, giving up three runs in seven-plus innings.

Sappelt, Baldridge, Anderson and Gilmore had two hits apiece for Coastal. Zinman was 3-for-4, while Weidenbacher and Arrington had two hits apiece.

Coastal swept a three-game series against a Big South opponent for the second straight week and have now won 14 straight series in the BSC.

Coastal hosts the College of Charleston Tuesday, April 22 at 6 p.m., while Asheville hosts Gardner-Webb the same day at 7 p.m.