The SEC Tournament had an interesting first day with all four lower seeds winning their opening round games. Here is your recap for Thursday’s games.
#2 LSU 9, #21 Alabama 6
HOOVER, Ala. — LSU pinch hitter Derek Helenihi blasted a three-run homer and starter Anthony Ranaudo pitched a solid 7.1 innings as the top-seeded Tigers eliminated fourth-seed Alabama from the SEC Tournament, 9-6, on Thursday afternoon at Regions Park.
The Tigers (42-16) will face the loser of Thursday night’s Vanderbilt-South Carolina game at 6:30 p.m. CT on Friday. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Net (Cable Ch. 38 in Baton Rouge).
#11 Florida 12, #8 Ole Miss 2 (8 innings)
Junior Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) (2-for-5) matched his career high of four RBI and belted a pair of homers for the first time as second-seeded Florida (39-19) overpowered third-seeded Ole Miss (40-17), 12-2, in the first elimination game of the 2009 SEC Tournament on Thursday at Regions Park. The contest was halted after eight innings due to the 10-run rule.
The ninth-ranked Gators survive and advance to face the loser of tonight’s winner’s bracket matchup between No. 6 Georgia and No. 7 Arkansas tomorrow at 4 p.m. on Sun Sports. Meanwhile, the seventh-ranked Rebels will return to Oxford and await Monday’s NCAA Tournament selection show that will air live on ESPN at 12:30 p.m.
Freshman Anthony DeSclafani (Freehold, N.J.) (6-3) yielded two runs over 5.2 innings and was supported by an offense that banged out 15 hits and scored in six of eight at bats. Freshman Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) went 3-for-5 and drove in three more runs, senior Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) was 2-for-4 with two RBI and scored twice and junior Buddy Munroe (Miami, Fla.) was 2-for-3 and contributed a two-run single.
#22 Georgia 2, #20 Arkansas 1 (10 innings)
HOOVER, Ala.—–Joey Lewis‘ ground ball in the bottom of the 10th scored Matt Cerione from third as Georgia claimed a 2-1 victory over Arkansas in the winner’s bracket of the SEC Tournament Thursday at Regions Park.
The Bulldogs (37-20) will have Friday off before facing the winner of Arkansas and Florida Saturday at 11 a.m. Eastern.
Cerione led off the 10th inning with a single to right field, then moved to third on a double by Rich Poythress. After an intentional walk to Bryce Massanari, Lewis hit a ground ball to third and the throw home by Zach Cox pulled catcher Ryan Cisterna off the plate, allowing Cerione to score.
“No one deserved to lose this game,” Georgia coach David Perno said. “It was a great win for our guys. Trevor (Holder) was outstanding and Dean (Weaver) was tremendous, and it is good to get Rich back. Welcome back, Rich.”
Vanderbilt 5, #26 South Carolina 4
HOOVER, Ala. — Jonathan White’s nine-pitch bases loaded walk in the top of the ninth inning lifted Vanderbilt to a 5-4 win over No. 20 South Carolina in the second round of the Southeastern Conference tournament Thursday night at Regions Park.
White was down 0-2 and then drew three balls and fouled off three pitches before drawing the walk on a high pitch by reliever Michael Roth (1-1) to give VU a 5-4 lead. White finished the night 3-for-4 and has six hits in the tourney.
“Jonathan had a great at-bat at the end of the game, which gave us the go-ahead run,” said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. “To just get into the situation where we could work the count to 3-2 was great. The way he is using the field too is great. He’s hitting balls up the middle, down the line, and off the wall. I’m just happy for him. He deserves it because he has really worked hard. He hasn’t had a lot to show for it until now.”