Texas A&M 13, Vanderbilt 3 (F/7)
I guess I just have to scrap my entire preview for this game, at least the whole pitcher’s dual part. Texas A&M got things started earlier against Kyle Wright and Vanderbilt, never looking back. The Aggies will advance to the semifinals to face Ole Miss, as Vanderbilt has been eliminated from the 2016 SEC Baseball Tournament.
Things looked bright early on for Vandy early on in the first inning. Commodores second baseman Alonzo Jones drove in right fielder Jeren Kendall on a run-scoring double to take a 1-0 lead in the first off of Kyle Simonds, who no-hit the Commodores the last time he faced them. However, that lead did not last long.
In the bottom of the first inning, the Aggies scored seven runs on seven hits against Vanderbilt’s Kyle Wright. The first run came home on a run-scoring single by second baseman Ryne Birk, which scored center fielder J.B. Moss. Another run came home on another run-scoring single, this time from catcher Michael Barash, which scored right fielder Nick Banks. Guess what? There was another run-scoring single, as left fielder Joel Davis drove home Ryne Birk from third base. First baseman Hunter Melton and shortstop Austin Homan then contributed doubles, which tacked on another three runs, as Austin Homan would come around to score on a wild pitch and an error by catcher Jason Delay. After one inning, Texas A&M held a 7-1 lead over Vanderbilt
In the third and fourth innings, the Aggies would tack on two runs and one run in those innings. In the bottom of the third inning, Michael Barash scored on a wild pitch, which Kyle Wright had three of on the day, as designated hitter Jonathan Moroney advanced to third base. Jonathan Moroney would make it all the way home on a sacrifice fly from Austin Homan. A run-scoring single in the bottom of the fourth inning from Michael Barash, which scored Ryne Birk, made it 10-1 deficit for the Commodores.
Vanderbilt got two runs back in the top of the sixth inning. Catcher Jason Delay came around to score on a run-scoring single from center fielder Bryan Reynolds off of Kyle Simonds. Another run came home, as Alonzo Jones flied out to deep center field, which brought home Jeren Kendall from third base. It was 10-3 in favor of the Aggies after the top of the sixth inning.
Kyle Wright struggled right out of the gate for the Commodores. In five innings of work, he allowed ten runs (nine earned runs) on 11 hits, as his ERA ballooned to 2.60. Closer Ben Bowden, who needed some work before the NCAA tournament, gave up a solo shot to center field to Nick Banks, in the top of the sixth inning, before he got the next three batters out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh inning with runners on first and third base, Austin Homan singled a ball off the pitcher, which Commodores shortstop Connor Kaiser threw away, allowing Walker Pennington to advance to third base and Homan to second base. Bowden gave up a fly ball to left field to Nick Banks, which was misplayed by Ro Coleman, allowing Walker Pennington to score, ending the game because of the 10-run rule, as Texas A&M comes away with a 13-3 win.
Kyle Simonds picked up his ninth win of the season for the Aggies. He held Vanderbilt to just three runs on six hits over seven innings, which ended up being a complete game victory.
Florida 12, Mississippi State 2 (F/7)
In the second and final game of the fourth day in Hoover at the 2016 SEC Baseball Championship, the Florida Gators came out on top over the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Despite the loss, MSU is still in contention for a national seed, as Florida will play LSU in the semifinals.
Both teams scored one run in their respective halves in the first inning. The Gators got center fielder Buddy Reed on to open up the ballgame on an infield single. First baseman JJ Schwarz doubled him home on a deep fly ball to left field. The Bulldogs got back-to-back doubles from first baseman Nathaniel Lowe and third baseman Gavin Collins, which tied the game at one to end the first inning.
However, Florida put up a crooked number in the top of the second inning against Hail State. Second baseman Deacon Liput singled to lead off the inning and advanced to second base on a throwing error by Bulldogs starter Austin Sexton, subsequently advancing to third on a single by designated hitter Jeremy Vazquez. Run-scoring singles by right fielder Nelson Maldonado and Buddy Reed brought in Liput and Vazquez. Shortstop Dalton Guthrie drove in Maldonado from third base on a sacrifice fly to center field. Speedy Buddy Reed stole second base, ultimately coming around to score on a single by JJ Schwarz, extending their lead to 5-1.
After getting shutout of scoring runs in the third inning, the Gators got something going in the fourth inning. To begin the inning, Nelson Maldonado walked, as he was sacrificed over to second base by Buddy Reed. After a Dalton Guthrie fly out to left field, JJ Schwarz drove in his third run of the game with a run-scoring single to center field, scoring Maldonado, as Florida took a 6-1 lead over Mississippi State.
Deacon Liput reached base and advanced to second base on a throwing error by Bulldogs shortstop Ryan Gridley to start off the fifth inning. The Gators, who had thrived in RISP situations all night, came through in another opportunity. Left fielder Danny Reyes drove in Liput on a single up the middle, knocking Austin Sexton out of the game, with the Gators up 7-1. He went 4.2 innings, allowing seven runs (all earned runs) on 11 hits, while striking out three batters and walking one batter, en route to the loss. Vazquez was quickly picked off at first base following the hit by new pitcher Paul Young, who got the next batter to strike out to end the top of the fifth inning. Mississippi State got a run back in the bottom of the fifth inning on a run-scoring ground out, making it 7-2.
Florida put another one up on the board in the top of the sixth inning. Buddy Reed got on base again, this time by way of the walk. After a Dalton Guthrie fly out to right field, JJ Schwarz drove in his fourth run of the game with a run-scoring triple to deep right center field, allowing him to be just a home run shy of the cycle. Schwarz would come around to score on a throwing error by catcher Eli Marrero. A wild pitch allows third baseman Jonathan India to come around and score, as Danny Reyes doubles home Deacon Liput, extending the lead to 11-2 Gators.
In the top of the seventh inning, pinch-hitter Blake Reese, who hit for shortstop Dalton Guthrie, doubled home Nelson Maldonado from first base, making it a ten-run lead at 12-2. Alex Faedo finished the seventh inning out to invoke the mercy rule, as he picked up his 12th win of the 2016 campaign, only allowing two runs (both earned runs) on seven hits, while striking out three batters and walking two batters, in a seven-inning complete-game effort.