Here is your SEC Recap for May 20th.
Junior left-hander Kevin Chapman (Coral Springs, Fla.) closed the contest with two scoreless innings as No. 4 Florida (39-12/21-7 SEC) posted a thrilling 3-2 victory over No. 6 South Carolina (42-12/20-8 SEC) on Thursday night in the opener of a three-game series that will decide the Southeastern Conference champion. The showdown between Eastern Division rivals at Carolina Stadium was played in front of 8,188 fans, the third-highest total in the facility’s existence. The Gators tied the school’s single-season record with their 21st victory in league play and raised their winning streak to six games.
Senior Jeff Barfield (Perry, Ga.) (4-0) earned the win after yielding one run over 2.2 innings with a season-high four strikeouts, while freshman Steven Rodriguez (Miami, Fla.) came in and registered three outs in the seventh after junior Whit Merrifield had a leadoff single. Chapman picked up his ninth save by working the final two innings, not surrendering any hits or runs and totaling a pair of strikeouts. With the Gamecocks down to their final strike, Merrifield sent a towering fly ball to right field that curved foul. Chapman then finished off the game by having Merrifield pop out to junior second baseman Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) in foul territory to help Florida take a one-game lead in the conference standings and improve to 8-3 in one-run games.
#16 Vanderbilt 4 #14 Arkansas 3
NASHVILLE — Curt Casali’s RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning lifted Vanderbilt to a 4-3 win over Arkansas Thursday night at Hawkins Field.
The Commodores won their seventh straight game to improve to 40-13 overall and 16-10 in Southeastern Conference play, while the Razorbacks dropped their fifth straight game to fall to 36-15 and 16-12 in league action.
With the game tied at 3-3, Jason Esposito reached on a single to start the seventh and then stole second base. Aaron Westlake sacrificed him over to third and Curt Casali then singled him with the go-ahead run.
#21 Auburn 5 #19 Ole Miss 3
OXFORD, Miss. – Kevin Patterson delivered a game-winning, three-run pinch hit home run in the top of the eighth that propelled No. 16 Auburn to a 5-3, come-from-behind win at No. 17 Ole Miss on Thursday night and inch Auburn closer to its first SEC West Division title since 1995.
"(Drew) Pomeranz was throwing well and I am usually a guy that goes against righties, so when I saw them going to the bullpen I thought I would get my shot," Patterson said. "Fortunately guys were on base and he (Brett Huber) hung an off-speed pitch. I figured I was going to see some fastballs but luckily it was up in my letters and I was able to get a hold of it."
#27 LSU 14 Mississippi State 13
BATON ROUGE, La. – Two homers and five RBI by designated hitter Matt Gaudet, including the game-winning sacrifice fly in the eighth, lifted No. 27 LSU to a 14-13 win over Mississippi State Thursday night in Alex Box Stadium.
The Tigers (35-19, 13-15) snapped a six-game losing streak with the win. Mississippi State dropped to 22-32 overall and 5-23 in the SEC with the loss. The series between LSU and Mississippi State will continue Friday at 7 p.m. in Alex Box Stadium.
Alabama 11 Tennessee 3
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Alabama erupted for eight runs in the final two innings and turned from scoreboard watching to piling up huge numbers, with an 11-3 win over Tennessee in the first game of its Southeastern Conference series opener at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Thursday night.
Alabama (32-21, 13-15 SEC) enhanced its SEC Tournament hopes with the win in the series opener. The Tide is one game ahead of Tennessee (12-16) and Kentucky (12-16) with two games to play. Kentucky dropped an 8-6 decision to Georgia in Athens on Thursday night.
Georgia 8 Kentucky 6
ATHENS — Justin Grimm tied his career high by going eight innings and Zach Cone drove in a career-high four runs to lead Georgia to an 8-6 win over Kentucky Thursday at Foley Field.
The Bulldogs (15-36, 4-22 SEC) snapped a 13-game conference losing streak on a night they fell victim to a hidden ball trick in the third inning. Kentucky (30-24, 12-16 SEC) pulled the stunt with runners at the corners and got sophomore Levi Hyams, who still had a productive night, going 2-for-5 with two RBI. Georgia ended up scoring four runs in the frame to build a 5-0 advantage and chase Alex Meyer. The Kentucky right-hander allowed five runs on seven hits in 2.1 innings to fall to 5-3. Meanwhile, Grimm improved to 3-7, scattering six runs on 10 hits with four walks and five strikeouts. He was gunning for his first complete game but allowed a two-run home run in the ninth to Taylor Black that ended his outing. Senior Justin Earls came on and collected his first save. It was his 107th career appearance, which ranks second in school history.