Texas A&M 4, South Carolina 1
After falling 4-1 to the Texas A&M Aggies on Thursday afternoon, the South Carolina Gamecocks have promptly been taken out of the 2016 SEC Tournament.
The Gamecocks registered two consecutive losses in as many days after falling 10-4 to the Ole Miss Rebels in second round action on Wednesday afternoon. On the flip side, the win advances A&M onward to the quarterfinals where they will face the loser of the looming matchup between Vanderbilt and Ole Miss.
The Aggies were aided by a strong performance by pitcher Brigham Hill. Hill threw seven innings against the Gamecocks, fanning eight batters, issuing three walks and merely allowing one run which went unearned. South Carolina batters were only able to scatter five hits across the seven innings Hill pitched and were left mostly listless at the plate.
Designated hitter Jonathan Moroney had the best offensive showing at the dish, going 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Michael Barash went 1-for-4 with a double, a run scored and an RBI as he picked up the lone extra-base hit of the ballgame for either side.
Florida 5, Alabama 4
The Florida Gators have ousted the Alabama Crimson Tide to stay alive in the SEC Tournament. The TIde fell to the Gators 5-4 despite taking a 3-1 lead in the second. Florida would outscore them 4-1 the rest of the way as Brady Singer would quell down after Alabama's big inning in the early stages of the game. Nick Horvath came in and pitched very well towards the end of the game and Shaun Anderson would step in to get his 11th save of the season, and the Gators will now face the loser of tonight's matchup between Mississippi State and LSU in the quarterfinals.
The Gators were boosted by the play of JJ Schwarz who went 2-for-3 on Thursday afternoon in Hoover. Schwarz also picked up an RBI single in the third inning and later would score a run on a fielder's choice. Runs would also be driven in by Jonathan India, Deacon Lipit and Danny Reyes.
Alabama hitters couldn't get much going after their early outburst as no player had a multi-hit game on Thursday. Subsequently, Alabama's run in the SEC Tournament is over and they will have to wait now and see if the NCAA Tournament calls their name.
Ole Miss 12, Vanderbilt 9
The Rebels continued their success on Thursday night with a big 12-9 victory over the Vanderbilt Commodores to advance to the quarterfinals of this year's SEC Tournament.
The Rebels, who will now play on Saturday against the winner of Friday's elimination game between Texas A&M and these same Commodores, were all over the Commodores through the first six innings of the game. The Rebels amassed 10 of their 12 runs in those innings, including two four-run innings in the second and fifth frames. They were boosted by the bats of Henri Lartigue and Colby Bortles who hit a combined .500 on 10 at-bats as they provided a big punch in the middle of the lineup.
Bortles picked up two doubles on the day while Lartigue scored three runs. J.B. Woodman struck in the third inning with a solo homer to right field.
Vandy had to work from behind the entire way and their furious attempts to get the lead were denied by their opponents. They went down swinging though in the late innings and were highlighted by a homer from Bryan Reynolds and a triple by Jeren Kendall.
LSU 6, Mississippi State 2
After rallying to beat Tennessee and winning a marathon over Florida, the LSU Tigers are on to Saturday and the semifinals of the 2016 SEC Softball Tournament.
The Tigers defeated the regular season SEC Champion Mississippi State Bulldogs 6-2 in the final game of the night, as there was no drama needed this time for LSU to prevail. Instead, a bevy of hitting success as well as some stout pitching kept LSU afloat and sends them to the semis, setting up a rematch against either these Bulldogs or the aforementioned Gators.
The Tigers got out to a 4-0 lead after scoring in the third, fourth and fifth innings. The damage would be done by Jake Fraley, Michael Papierski, Antonie Duplantis and Greg Deichmann in those three innings. Duplantis had the biggest day at the plate as he went 3-for-5.
Despite not registering a single XBH, the Tigers still were able to break away from the Bulldogs after they chipped away at the Tigers lead. They cut the deficit to two runs in the top of the seventh, and the Tigers responded, just as they have done throughout the tournament, with two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning after Papierski had a two-run single that scored Beau and Bryce Jordan.
Jared Poche was tasked with pitching for the Tigers, and Poche did a dang good job. In 6.2 innings, Poche allowed two runs - one earned, struck out three, issued two walks and seven hits and only one XBH. Parker Bugg pitched 2.1 innings in relief and allowed just one hit over that span with no runs and struck out two.