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CBD Column: SEC Weekend Recap

This weekend opened up college baseball all across the country. The SEC, currently well-known for recent appearances and championships in the NCAA Baseball post-season, opened up its schedule facing some deep non-conference competition. Here are the weekend recaps for the teams of the baseball-dominant Southeastern Conference.

SEC East

Florida (2-1) vs. Cal State Fullerton (1-2)
The Florida Gators took the series over Cal State Fullerton this weekend, but State managed to salvage the final game of the match-up. On Friday night, Florida freshman Taylor Gushue from Boca Raton, Florida, announced his presence in the SEC with one swing–his first collegiate at-bat, in fact–and recorded his first home run of the season. His success for the weekend didn’t stop there, however. On Saturday, Gushue belted out a two-run triple to take the lead in the game. But Cal State made a comeback from a 3-0 deficit on Sunday to take the last game of the series and deny Florida the sweep. By the sixth inning, Cal State’s J.D. Davis hit a three-run home run to secure their lead over Florida.
The weekend recap–
FRI: Florida 7 Cal State 3 W
SAT: Florida 5 Cal State 2 W
SUN: Florida 5 Cal State 8 L

Georgia (3-0) vs. Presbyterian (0-3)
Sophomore Brandon Stephens hit his first career home run in the third inning on Friday night’s season opener against Presbyterian to start off a promising weekend for Georgia. On Saturday, the game got exciting all the way through the ninth inning when a pinch-hit walk-off double by Bulldog Brett DeLoach gave Georgia the series victory over Presbyterian. The Bulldogs got the sweep on Sunday as they shut-out Presbyterian 11-0.
The weekend recap–
FRI: Georgia 6 Presbyterian 1 W
SAT: Georgia 5 Presbyterian 4 W
SUN: Georgia 11 Presbyterian 0 W

Kentucky (3-0) vs. Wofford (1-1); Eastern Michigan (0-2); USC Upstate (2-1)
As rain showered across the southeast, Kentucky rained on Wofford’s and Eastern Michigan’s opening weekend as the Wildcats traveled to Spartanburg, South Carolina to open their season. Kentucky opened against Wofford and junior pitcher Taylor Rogers earned his 12th career quality start. The line-up combined a total of 12 hits and 10 runs to take the lead 10-4 over Wofford. On Saturday, the Wildcats only improved those numbers. Despite an early start time due to impending rain, starter Jerad Grundy pitched his first start of his career and didn’t allow a single run, while the men at bat combined 13 hits for 10 runs. The last game at Spartanburg against USC Upstate was postponed due to rain, and was played on Monday. Kentucky beat USC Upstate on Monday in a 6-0 shutout, while sophomore southpaw Corey Littrell struck out a career-best eight batters in seven innings.
The weekend recap–
FRI: Kentucky 10 Wofford 4 W
SAT: Kentucky 10 Eastern Michigan 2 W
MON: Kentucky 6 USC Upstate 0 W

South Carolina (3-0) vs. Virginia Military Institute (0-3)
The defending national champion South Carolina Gamecocks showed their talent over opening weekend as they swept the Keydets of Virginia Military Institute. On Friday, the Gamecocks went into the 8th inning tied at 1-1 before LB Dantzler hit a two-out RBI single to take the lead, which carried through the end of the game. Due to anticipated rain, South Carolina moved Saturday and Sunday’s game to be played as a double header on Saturday afternoon. In game 1 of the double header, Dante Rosenberg hit a long RBI double to run in Joey Pankake for the game-winning run to make the score 3-2, while pitchers Matt Price and Ethan Carter combined for 13 strikeouts as they beat VMI. Game 2, the final game in the series, wasn’t any less exciting as the Gamecocks scored 13 runs to defeat the Keydets 13-1. LB Dantzler hit a three-run home run while TJ Costen helped with his two-run bomb.
The weekend recap–
FRI: South Carolina 2 VMI 1 W
SAT1: South Carolina 3 VMI 2 W
SAT2: South Carolina 13 VMI 1 W

Tennessee (3-0) vs. Northern Illinois (0-3)
The Tennessee Volunteers swept Northern Illinois in their first opening weekend under new head coach Dave Serrano. In the series opener, the Vols marched past Northern Illinois in a 7-1 win, which senior Chris Pierce had a career-high 4 RBIs, including a three-run home run. The teams agreed to play a doubleheader on Saturday due to anticipated rain. In the first game of the doubleheader, junior Chris Fritts hit a three-run home run and had a career-high 6 RBIs to help the Vols take the series in a 10-5 victory. Drew Steckenrider, the pitcher who picked up the win on Friday, contributed at the plate on Saturday going 2-for-2 with a single, double, RBI, run scored and two walks. In the second game of the doubleheader, the final game the series, the Vols picked up the sweep over Northern Illinois with a 7-2 victory.
The weekend recap–
FRI: Tennessee 7 Northern Illinois 1 W
SAT1: Tennessee 10 Northern Illinois 5 W
SAT2: Tennessee 7 Northern Illinois 2 W

Vanderbilt (0-3) at Stanford (3-0)
The Vanderbilt Commodores traveled to Palo Alto, California, only to be swept by the #3 Stanford Cardinal in a disappointing opening weekend. On Friday night, Cardinal Stephen Piscotty hit a home run in the first inning and they never lost that lead as they closed the night 8-3 over the Commodores. On Saturday, the Cardinal once again overpowered Vanderbilt in a 9-5 game where the Commodores racked up their errors. Stanford got the sweep on Sunday in a 18-5 blowout.
The weekend recap–
FRI: Vanderbilt 3 Stanford 8 L
SAT: Vanderbilt 5 Stanford 9 L
SUN: Vanderbilt 5 Stanford 18 L

SEC West

Alabama (0-3) vs. Florida Atlantic (3-0)
The Alabama Crimson Tide got swept by the Florida Atlantic Owls on opening weekend. On opening night, freshman left-hander Taylor Guilbeau was the first true freshman to start a season opener for the Tide and allowed only one run over five innings of work. However, the offense couldn’t back up Guilbeau as they fell to the Owls 5-2. On Saturday, the Tide fell to the Owls 9-2 despite senior outfielder Taylor Dugas going 3-for-3 and scoring both of Alabama’s runs. The Owls got the sweep on Sunday when Owls relief pitcher RJ Alvarez pitched three scoreless innings and earned the win in the 9-4 game.
The weekend recap–
FRI: Alabama 2 FAU 5 L
SAT: Alabama 2 FAU 9 L
SUN: Alabama 4 FAU 9 L

Arkansas (3-0) vs. Villanova (0-3)
The Arkansas Razorbacks cruised by the Villanova Wildcats with an opening weekend sweep, and they did it with no shortage of runs. On Friday night, the Razorbacks scored six times in the first inning, 11 overall, to easily overcome the Wildcats who only managed to score five runs across the board. Matt Reynolds went 3-for-3 while Jacob Morris recorded Arkansas’ first home run of the 2012 season. On Saturday night, sophomore pitcher Ryne Stanek earned the win allowing only one run to score while the bullpen held off the rest, and the offense punched out 13 runs to beat the Wildcats 13-1. The Razorbacks got the sweep on Sunday in a similar fashion, having scored 17 runs total to defeat Villanova in an 8-inning game, shortened by Villanova’s travel schedule. The Razorbacks scored 41 times over the weekend.
The weekend recap–
FRI: Arkansas 11 Villanova 5 W
SAT: Arkansas 13 Villanova 1 W
SUN: Arkansas 17 Villanova 1 W

LSU (3-0) vs. Air Force (1-3), Alcorn St. (1-2)
The LSU Tigers hosted Air Force and Alcorn State this past weekend in their opening weekend for baseball, and defeated each opponent with ease. On Friday night, the Tigers scored nine times in the first two innings against Air Force with the help of Jackson Slaid and Austin Nola’s bats and Kevin Gausman’s exceptional start. Saturday night, sophomore pitcher Ryan Eades threw a career-high eight strikeouts over five innings of work, and only allowed one hit and one walk as the offense fired out 19 runs to roll over Alcorn State. The final game on Sunday, LSU faced Air Force once again and pitcher Kurt McCune threw six innings of shutout ball to close out the weekend’s outstanding pitching performances.
The weekend recap–
FRI: LSU 10 Air Force 2 W
SAT: LSU 19 Alcorn St 0 W
SUN: LSU 4 Air Force 0 W

Mississippi State (2-1) vs. Washington State (1-2)
The Mississippi State Bulldogs played the Washington State Cougars in opening weekend and took 2 of 3 games of the series. On Friday night, sophomore Daryl Norris went 3-for-4 and helped the Bulldogs run past the Cougars 6-2 on opening night. The game on Saturday was postponed due to rain and was scheduled to play a double header on Sunday. In the first game of the double header, the game went into 13 innings before the Cougars scored 2 runs to beat the Bulldogs 6-5. During the second game of the doubleheader and the final game of the series, the Bulldogs managed to win the series in a 5-4 game on Sunday night. CT Bradford had a three-hit night to help the Bulldogs take the series.
The weekend recap–
FRI: Mississippi State 6 Washington State 2 W
SAT: Mississippi State 5 Washington State 6 (13) L
SUN: Mississippi State 5 Washington State 4 W

Ole Miss (1-1) at TCU (1-1)
The Ole Miss Rebels traveled to Fort Worth, Texas, this past weekend to open their season against the TCU Horned Frogs and split the two games they managed to play. On Friday night, the Rebels looked to their offense to power past the Horned Frogs as Alex Yarbrough hit a home run and also had three RBI in the 7-4 win against TCU. On Saturday, the game was cancelled due to inclement weather and was not made up. In the series finale, TCU overcame the Rebels in a 5-3 game as Horned Frog relief pitcher Preston Morrison picked up the win after 3.1 innings.
The weekend recap–
FRI: Ole Miss 7 TCU 4 W
SAT: Cancelled
SUN: Ole Miss 3 TCU 5 L

Auburn (1-2) vs. Missouri (2-1)
The Auburn Tigers hosted the soon-to-be SEC Missouri Tigers opening weekend. On Friday night, senior pitcher Derek Varnadore struck out 11 batters and got the win as Auburn took the season opener 5-2. Due to rain on Saturday, the second game was postponed and scheduled to play in a doubleheader on Sunday. In the first game, Auburn took the 6-4 loss when they stranded 16 runners on base and allowed two home runs by Missouri Tiger Dane Opel to drive in four runs. The Missouri Tigers won the series by taking the second game of the doubleheader in a shortened 4-3 game. Despite a great pitching performance by freshman pitcher Daniel Koger, Missouri scored three times in the seventh inning from four walks, two sac flies and an error. The game ended after the seventh inning due to Missouri’s travel plans.
The weekend recap–
FRI: Auburn 5 Missouri 2 W
SAT: Auburn 4 Missouri 6 L
SUN: Auburn 3 Missouri 4 (7) L

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