#3 South Carolina 3 #1 Vanderbilt 1
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina junior left-hander Michael Roth improved to 8-1 on the year as he limited top ranked Vanderbilt to just one run on three hits as the third ranked Gamecocks upended the Commodores 3-1 on Friday evening in the first of a three-game SEC baseball series. The game was played in front of a packed house at Carolina Stadium, 8,242 fans, the fifth sellout of the season. South Carolina is 27-6 and 11-2 in the SEC while the loss drops Vanderbilt to 31-4 and 10-3 in league play.
The pitching match-up between Roth and Vanderbilt junior right-hander Sonny Gray was every bit as good as it was advertised as both dueled back in forth limiting each offense. Roth was very effective striking out eight batters and walking just two. He did not allow a hit until a fifth inning single by Curt Casali. Gray went toe to toe as he also worked 7.2 innings. He allowed three runs on 11 hits with seven strikeouts and one walk. With the loss, Gray is now 7-2 for the season. Gamecock sophomore right-hander Matt Price entered in relief of Roth and struck out all four batters he faced to pick up his 11th save of the season.
Florida sophomore Steven Rodriguez (Miami, Fla.) struck out junior Levi Hyams with the tying run aboard to end the game as the No. 4 Gators (27-8/10-3 SEC) defeated Georgia (18-17/8-5 SEC), 5-4, in the opener of the weekend series on Friday night at Foley Field. The victory was the 150th of head coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s career and increased UF’s winning streak over the Bulldogs to nine games dating back to the 2008 season.
The hosts had pulled within a run in their final at bat on a two-out RBI single by junior Peter Verdin before Rodriguez was called upon in relief of sophomore Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) (1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R). The southpaw’s punch-out resulted in his second save and preserved the win for sophomore Hudson Randall(Atlanta, Ga.) (6-1). The Gators banged out 13 hits and were led offensively by Maddox (3-for-4, two RBI), sophomore Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) (2-for-5) and juniors Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) (2-for-4) and Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) (2-for-3).
#13 Arkansas 6 Mississippi State 5
FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas overcame a two-run deficit with three runs in the eighth inning, including a two-run, game-tying homer by Kyle Robinson and a game-winning single by Tim Carver, as the Razorbacks defeated Mississippi State, 6-5, on a cold and damp Friday evening at Baum Stadium.
Arkansas runs its winning streak to a season-long seven games, improving to 25-8 on the season and 7-6 in Southeastern Conference play. Mississippi State is now 21-13 on the year and 5-8 in league games.
Trailing 5-3 entering the bottom of the eighth, Arkansas rallied in the late innings for the fourth-consecutive game, scoring three times in the eighth. Sam Bates doubled to the left-center field alley to lead off the inning. Robinson tied the game with his second homer of the contest, a majestic blast to the right of the batter’s eye over the 400 foot sign in center field. Dominic Ficociello then laid down a perfect bunt up the third base line for an infield single. A sacrifice bunt by James McCann advanced Ficociello to second. After a fly out by Jarrod McKinney, Carver lined a two-out single to center field, scoring Ficociello from second to put Arkansas in front 6-5.
Auburn 8 #21 LSU 7
BATON ROUGE, lA. – Continuing a trend it started a week ago, Auburn scored six times in the sixth to turn a two-run deficit into a four-run lead as Auburn rallied and then held on to win, 8-7, at No. 21 LSU on Friday night in Baton Rouge. The win was Auburn’s (19-14, 6-7 SEC) fourth straight in conference play and its second Friday night win in its last three trips to Alex Box Stadium while the loss was the fourth straight for LSU (22-13, 3-10 SEC) in SEC play.
“It starts with the guy on the mound. What can you say about Zach Blatt. An outstanding effort, he got us deep into the game and made some big pitches,” Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. “We were down 3-1 but our guys kept working and ended up finding a way to win today.”
The six-run sixth also made a winter out of first-time starter Zach Blatt (2-2), who had made 43 career relief appearances before Friday night and who left after going a career-long 6 1/3 innings. When he left Auburn was up, 7-3, with men on first and second, both of whom would come around to score. When it was all said and done, Blatt would be charged for five runs (four earned) on five hits and four walks, striking out four.
Ole Miss 3 Kentucky 2
OXFORD, Miss. – Brett Huber picked up his second relief win and freshman Bobby Wahlgrabbed his first career save as Ole Miss (21-14, 6-7 SEC) rallied late and held on to down Kentucky (17-18, 2-11 SEC) by a score of 3-2 in the series opener.
Huber (2-0) entered the game with the score tied at one in the eighth and a man on second with one out before getting a strikeout and a pop out to get the Rebels out of the inning. Ole Miss then rallied to score two runs in the bottom of the frame before Wahl entered in the ninth and kept the Rebels in front to claim the save.
Huber worked 0.2 innings with a strikeout, while Wahl allowed one run on two hits with a strikeout in the ninth. Matt Crouse worked 6.0 innings in the start and allowed one run on six hits with two walks and a strikeout.