#2 South Carolina 6 Alabama 3
Tuscaloosa, Ala. – Christian Walker drove in three runs and Peter Mooney, Scott Wingo and Evan Marzilli were a combined 9-for-14 with four runs scored and a pair of RBI as second ranked South Carolina bounced back with a 6-3 win over Alabama on Friday evening in SEC baseball action. Carolina is 43-12 and 21-8 in the SEC, tied for first place with Florida and Vanderbilt going into the final day of action in league play. Alabama is 32-23 and 14-15 in the SEC. The rubber game of the series is set for 1 p.m. ET and will be televised live on CSS as well as on Time Warner Cable channel 506 in Columbia. It can also be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network.
Freshman right-hander Forrest Koumas was strong in his start to pick up the win and improve to 6-0 on the year. He allowed one run on five hits in five innings of work with five strikeouts. After a scoreless sixth inning from John Taylor, who tied the single-season record at Carolina for appearances with 37, the Gamecocks went to the pen for Matt Price, who worked the final three innings to earn his 14th save of the year. Price allowed two runs on five hits in three innings with four strikeouts. Alabama starter Adam Morgan suffered the loss and is now 5-5 on the year. He allowed three runs on nine hits with four strikeouts and a walk.
#3 Vanderbilt 9 Georgia 3
Athens, Ga. – Vanderbilt topped Georgia 9-3 Friday night at Foley Field to even the series at one game apiece.
Freshman T.J. Pecoraro entered the game with two runners on base in the third inning and the Commodores clinging to a one-run lead. The right-hander worked out of the jam and pitched 3.1 scoreless innings to earn his seventh win of the year fanning six and allowing only one hit. Fellow freshman Kevin Ziomek picked up his first save of his career turning in three scoreless innings of his own to finish off Vanderbilt’s 43rd win of the year and 21st Southeastern Conference win. The victory paired with Kentucky’s win at Florida moved the Commodores back into a three-way tie atop the league with Florida and South Carolina, who won at Alabama.
The Dores’ offense claimed an early lead scoring in the first inning without a hit and tacked on three more runs in the second capped by Connor Harrell’s two-run homer. Vandy blew the game open in the seventh sending nine men to the plate with Mike Yastrzemski’s single driving in two runs. Curt Casali belted his fifth home run of the year with a two-run blast in the eighth. Yastrzemski led all players with three hits while Casali was one of four Commodores to record two hits in the win. Zach Cone led Georgia with two hits, including a solo home run in the second.
Kentucky 14 #5 Florida 1
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Kentucky offense exploded for 14 runs on 18 hits, paced by a career-outing from senior Neiko Johnson and four hits from a blistering-hot Thomas McCarthy, posting a series-evening 14-1 win over No. 4 Florida, on a steamy Friday night in front of 3,990 at McKethan Stadium.
Kentucky (25-29, 8-21 Southeastern Conference) had its offense explode for a SEC season-high 14 runs on 18 hits, including a four-hit game from McCarthy and three-hit games from Johnson, Taylor Black and Chad Wright. Johnson collected a career-high four RBI and four runs scored on a 3-for-5 game. Black finished 3-for-5 with an RBI, with Wright batting 3-for-5 with three RBI. Braden Kapteyn totaled a 2-for-5 game, with J.T. Riddle, Lucas Witt and Matt Reida also collecting hits.
McCarthy, the reigning Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week, owns a career-high tying nine-game hitting streak and has a staggering seven consecutive games with at least three hits. Over the seven-game span, McCarthy has hit .697 (23-for-33) with three doubles, one triple, two homers and 14 RBI. During his nine-game hitting streak, McCarthy has hit .658 (25-for-38) with three doubles, one triple, three homers and 15 RBI. On the year, McCarthy has hit a staggering .376 (77-for-205) with 19 doubles, two triples, seven homers and 38 RBI, stealing eight bases. In SEC play alone, McCarthy has hit .421 (45-for-107) with eight doubles, two triples, five homers and 23 RBI.
Auburn 13 Tennessee 4
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Auburn slammed its way to a 13-4, SEC Tournament-clinching win on Friday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Tony Caldwell finished the night 3-for-6 with six RBIs and Justin Hargett was 4-for-5 with four runs scored as Auburn improved to 29-26, 14-15 SEC while Tennessee is 24-29, 6-23 SEC.
“Derek Varnadore was a workhorse for us today. He went out there and got us deep into the game after a rough start. I am really proud of him and certainly proud of our team,” Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. “We scored in a lot of different ways. We used the short game, we stole some bases and Tony hit a big grand slam. A lot of positive things went on today.”
After giving up the three runs in the first, Varnadore (6-2) had one of his more impressive performances on the season, working into the seventh and allowing just one more run, it coming in the sixth on a solo home run by Ethan Bennett. On the night he fanned seven and from the second through the fifth innings, he allowed just one runner to reach third.
Mississippi State 6 LSU 5
STARKVILLE, Miss. – After a stellar relief pitching performance from Devin Jones kept Mississippi State in the game, the Bulldogs got three hits from three seniors with one out in the bottom of the ninth to complete a 6-5 comeback win over LSU Friday night at Dudy Noble Field.
State improved to 34-20 overall and 14-15 in the SEC with the win. LSU fell to 35-20, 12-17.
Jaron Shepherd drove in the winning run with an infield single with the bases loaded in a game that saw MSU fall behind early 5-0 but claw its way back into the game with single runs in the third, fourth, fifth and seventh innings before scoring the tying and winning runs during the ninth-inning rally.